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Camille and Julie Berthollet
Camille Berthollet (violin and cello)
Julie Berthollet (violin)
Guillaume Vincent (piano)
Thomas Dutronc (guitar)
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra/Julien Masmondet
rec. July 2016, Auditorium Rainer III of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, Monaco
WARNER CLASSICS 9029 593810 [73:50]

Teenage sisters Camille and Julie Berthollet have caused a bit of a stir in their native France – so much so in fact that they’ve been signed to Warner Classics. Of the two it’s Julie who has earned slightly the higher profile but in this joint disc Camille plays both her first instrument, the cello, and also the violin. They are two formidably equipped young women.

The programme is light but not necessarily lightweight. There are attractive orchestrations and arrangements and pleasing contributions from the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic under Julien Masmondet. The orchestra makes the best of a slightly blowsy transcription of the Sabre Dance, but this allows Camille to negotiate her way communicatively on the cello. Both sisters play violin on Karl Jenkins’ lovely and familiar baroque-leaning Allegretto from Palladio, his 1996 piece for two violins and orchestra.

It’s Camille who plays the Gluck-Kreisler Mélodie – and very sweetly too – but it’s Julie who dispatches the Flight of the Bumblebee in the droll arrangement by László Sándor. She also takes on Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, aptly dispatching its legion of difficulties with aplomb though with a slight, focused tone. One of the oddities of the programming is the presence of original full length pieces – such as the Dvořák Rondo – with sweetmeats elsewhere. Camille has a most attractive timbre in the Rondo though her rubati are a little forced as yet. She plays Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo Capriccioso very nicely, even if slightly recessed in the balance.

Julian Milone is responsible for the arrangement of Paganini’s Caprice – that one – which he has fashioned into an extended fantasia with languorous central section shaded by horns.

One of the strengths of the album is timbral variety. So along with violin and cello music and combinations thereof we also have piano trios where the sisters are joined by Guillaume Vincent. Together they play the slow movement from Schubert’s Trio No.2, D.929. They’re joined by guest guitarist Thomas Dutronc – his only appearance – for a slightly busy quartet version (violin, cello, piano, guitar), of Black Eyes. Summertime is heard in an arrangement by Julie Berthollet and pianist Guillaume Vincent. It’s laid-back, with some nicely angular pianism to kick things off – and Camille adds her support on second violin as well. Not very Heifetz-like, this arrangement, but more cocktail lounge.

I enjoyed this album. These young sisters are warm communicators. The booklet is festooned with pictures of them but not much about the music. Don’t worry about that. Let’s keep an eye out for them, as their talent is sure to flourish over the years to come.

Jonathan Woolf

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 5 in F-Sharp Minor orch Jean-Pierre Bouchard [2:53]:
Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Gayaneh, Act 4: Sabre Dance orch. David Walter [2:26]
Karl JENKINS (1944)
Palladio: Allegretto [3:39]
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice, Wq. 30, Act 2: Dance of the Blessed Spirits arr Kreisler [3:35]
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
The Tale of the Tsar Saltan: The Flight of the Bumble Bee orch László Sándor [1:18]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, D. 929: II. Andante con moto [9:18]
Ave Maria, D. 839 [5:41]
Schwanengesang, D. 957: No. 4 Ständchen [4:36]
Les yeux noirs orch Cyrille Lehn [3:05]
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Rondo, Op. 94 [7:20]
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)
Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20 [9:25]
Pyotr Ilych TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
6 Pieces, Op. 51: No. 6 Valse sentimentale [1:55]
Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62 [7:10]
Niccolo PAGANINI (1782-1840)
24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1: No. 24 in A Minor orch Julian Milone [5:42]
Zequinha de ABREU (1880-1935)
Tico-Tico no fubá arr Eduardo Suba [1:57]
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Porgy and Bess, Act 1: Summertime orch Guillaume Vincent and Julie Berthollet [3:44]



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