Chamber Recording of the Year, Limelight

Debussy
Sonatas and Trio
Bertrand Chamayou p, Emmanuel Pahud f, Renaud Capuçon v,
Gérard Caussé va, Marie-Pierre Langlamet h, Edgar Moreau vc
Erato 9029577396

When two or three are company: a French dream-team deliver red-blooded renditions of early and late Debussy

“Chamber music only works when it’s based on the notion of sharing
– the same goes for friendship. A personal dimension to the music-making gives the album that extra something.” Bertrand Chamayou

This exquisite recording couples the sonatas with the Piano Trio, written when the composer was 18 but unpublished until 1986. Despite its immaturity it is worth a listen, especially when played by such outstanding young performers.

These French musicians are friends as well as regular colleagues. What they bring is twofold: innate sensitivity to Debussy’s idiosyncratic lyricism and apparent aloofness, and a detailed 21st-century way of characterising individual phrases. This is evident in Renaud Capuçon’s approach to the Violin Sonata: detached notes are well and truly detached, lyrical lines suspended in thin air. Capuçon and Bertrand Chamayou have plenty to say – and they say it in French. Emmanuel Pahud’s larger than life flute dominates the Trio Sonata, which gets a brisk, muscular performance.

Edgar Moreau’s elegance and warmth put him in the line of the great French cellists: Pierre Fournier and Paul Tortelier. This is a superior rendition of the least known of the sonatas, and Chamayou proves a magnificent partner (as he is throughout). In the Piano Trio, the two string players appropriately adopt a heart-on-sleeve romantic style. None of these six musicians is overly concerned with half-lights or shades of grey; even Marie-Pierre Langlamet’s harp playing is bracingly red-blooded. Pahud caps the recital with Syrinx, a sinuous solo piece for flute and now in the repertoire of every budding classical flautist. Phillip Scott

Read our review

Read our interview with Bertrand Chamayou here

Limelight‘s Recording of the Year 2018

The Runners-up…

Bach
Violin & Harpsichord Sonatas
Faust v, Bezuidenhout p
Harmonia Mundi 
HMM90225657

Chopin Schubert
Cello & Arpeggione Sonata
Steven Isserlis vc, Dénes Várjon p
Hyperion  CDA68227

Hindemith
String Trios
Trio Zimmermann
BIS  BIS2207

Stravinsky
The Rite of Spring et al
Marc-Andre Hamelin, Leif Ove Andsnes p
Harmonia Mundi
HMM902261

Limelight, Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine