Play: Works for cello and piano
The 20-year-old French cellist Edgar Moreau, silver medallist at the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, launches his recording career with this disc of short character pieces rather than making any more emphatic statement with major concertos or sonatas. As he explains, he and his recital partner Pierre-Yves Hodique have derived pleasure from playing these miniatures in their concerts, and ‘they are also an integral part of the cello repertoire’.
Some, too, are much more than mere encore bonbons, particularly when you consider that they include Fauré’s Elégie. For my money, that is the real meat of this 17-track CD, given a performance that capitalises on Moreau’s mature tone, lyrical polish and romantic leanings. Both he and Hodique exercise eloquent restraint here: the emotional climax is heartfelt but it is also held in the perspective of a quietly pensive, poignant interpretation. At precisely the same length, Dvořák’s Silent Woods, the composer’s own arrangement of one of his From the Bohemian Forest set for piano duet, asserts a similar affinity with the way the cello can express itself sublimely without raising its voice or tickling the ear with dazzling acrobatics.
Moreau has allotted proportionate space in this programme to the gentler realms of the repertoire, whether in original cello works or in transcriptions, though he also reveals his athletic prowess in such items as Monti’s Csárdás, Rostropovich’s Humoresque and Popper’s Elfentanz, with the final Chopin Introduction et Polonaise brillante combining a gift for mellifluous line with a sparkle and a spirited rhythmic impetus.