Well-characterised performances from a young and intelligent chamber duo.
Daniel Miiller-Schott and Robert Kulek make is formidable duo partnership; in addition to an impressive level of accomplishment and technical polish, both players combine to project a distinctive, individual view of the music. They delight in bringing forward the fantastical, grotesque elements in Debussy's Sonata yet identify just as persuasively with the sensuous, dreamy passages, and with the short-lived rush of high spirits in the finale. The wistful melancholy in the first movement (see my review of the Vassilieva/Ijrabe disc below) eludes them to some extent, as does the pathos that Paul Tortelier managed to find in the second movement'sRead more clownish antics, but this is still a very fine performance.
The Poulenc is really stylish and witty, the central section of the slow movement ardently expressive. This wholehearted, immensely spirited approach failed to shake my conviction that this is second-hand music, but it's perfectly suited to bringing out the powerful emotional appeal of the Franck. Kulek's light touch and sparkling finger-work allow the second movement to sound truly passionate - despite the plethora of notes there's no hint of heaviness. The peals of bells at the end of the finale are almost too brisk (Franck marks each crotchet with an accent) but there's no doubting that this is a deeply-felt, well-judged account; the more reflective music lust as convincing as the big Romantic climaxes. Throughout, one has the impression of very positive, intelligent music making, and the recorded sound is excellent - full, clear, and very realistic.
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