FAURÉ Music for Cello and Piano
This is a comprehensive collection of Fauré’s ‘official’ music for cello and piano – which is to say, it excludes some of the song transcriptions (though not an anonymous transcription of the Berceuse from Dolly) that sometimes get bundled in with the two sonatas and Élégie, but includes some relative rarities, among them the tiny Morceau de lecture for two cellos of 1897 (with Filip Graden playing the second part), and the original version of the Romance, Op 69, scored – deliciously – for cello and harmonium. In short, it’s a well-planned programme.
Brantelid and Forsberg take a decidedly anti-Romantic view of Fauré. These are urgent, rhythmically driven performances that can feel – particularly in the two sonatas – almost subversive. Part of that is down to the tempos, which are generally swift, but Forsberg’s approach is a factor too. Crisp, bright, at times percussive, his playing in the First Sonata reminds you that this work postdates Petrushka. Forget muted Impressionist colours; some of the sounds he makes (listen to his clangorous final climax in the first movement of the Second Sonata, for just one example) will not be to all tastes.
Brantelid, meanwhile, can certainly spin a long melodic line, and his throaty tone gives an attractive sense of shade to the music. But he’s just as restless as his partner. The central section of the Élégie is practically violent, and at one point even the Berceuse from Dolly takes on an angry edge. It’s all latent in the music after all; and if you’re intrigued by the idea of Fauré with teeth – and can tolerate a certain amount of extramusical noise from the two players – you might well enjoy this disc.