Lluís Claret / Alain Planès

Schubert: Sonate Arpeggione; Mendelssohn: Sonates pour violoncelle et piano

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Can Frenchmen play the Germans? That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to stick to the music of those from one's own nation-state and so diminish one's repertoire or to take up the music written by those from another nation-state and thereby broadening one's musical horizons. Specifically, the question is should cellist Lluis Claret and pianist Alain Planes have taken up Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata and Mendelssohn's two Cello Sonatas, three of the great works of German Romanticism, or not? Apparently not: Claret's technique is up to the task, but his tone is too nasal. And what's worse, his interpretations are too reserved. Rather than the warm bloom of Schubert's music or the tense drama of Mendelssohn's music, Claret's Schubert is too dry, too withdrawn, too objective almost to the point of being ever so slightly ironic, as if the honest emotions of the music are too embarrassing to acknowledge. Planes' technique is likewise up to the task, but his tone is too secco and his interpretations too detache. So while they are no means bad performances, they are unfortunately nearly completely uncomprehending performances. Harmonia Mundi's digital sound is a bit gray and a tad dry.

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