Notes and Editorial Reviews
From experience, I have learned to have high expectations whenever I am dealing with a CD released by Alpha. In every single disc I have gotten from them so far, I note extreme care in all the aspects of production: exquisite art design, a beautiful detail of an excellent painting on the cover, informative liner notes (always including a lengthy explanation of the aforementioned painting itself, which never ceases to delight me!), exciting repertoire, marvelously performed and equally well recorded.
The present CD is no exception to the rule, and it has an extra bonus: it presents a very curious and almost unknown version of three Beethoven sonatas, skillfully transcribed by Pierre-Auguste-Louis Blondeau, who published them
in 1808–09, for the benefit of the refined amateur. I would tell you more about this forgotten master, but you know what? You should really get this CD, and read the text: it will not only give you a very good idea about the composer and his artistic milieu, as well as a step-by-step commentary on the movements of each sonata (Michelle Garnier-Panafieu wrote the liner notes), but will also provide you with a knowledgeable article (by Denis Grenier) on the painting by Marie Éléonore Godefroid which graces the cover. To hear Beethoven in this new guise is fascinating and fun. At the same time, a surprise and an experience in déjà vu. No matter how much Beethoven himself used to condemn such transcriptions, somehow the music fits very well for the string quartet, and engages our interest right away. Evidently, a large part of the merit belongs to the musicians of Quatuor ad Fontes, who play with real zest and just the right touch of grittiness. After hearing the CD, I wondered whether I would not find the original version of these works a little bit subdued, from now on.
This is a very good recording, which should be valuable to anyone who loves Beethoven, as well as for those who hate him (maybe they will enjoy Blondeau more than they do the Viennese master). It is a must for all who are interested in the early Romantic period, or in transposition, or in string quartet repertoire, or who simply want to acquire a beautifully presented CD as a gift to someone special. In short: for practically everybody!
Laura Rónai, FANFARE
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