McLin Campbell Duo

Beau Soir

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Beau Soir, an album taking its name from the Debussy composition by the same name, focuses on little-known works by little-known French composers written between 1882 and 1934. The program opens with the early (1934) Sonatine pour violon et piano of Jean Françaix. A student of Nadia Boulanger, Françaix's youthful writing is best described as charming, not yet possessing the impact and intrigue of some of Boulanger's more mature students. Boulanger's own sister, who tragically died at the age of 25, is given a rare bit of the spotlight in her Nocturne and Cortége for violin and piano. The centerpiece of the disc is Gabriel Pierné's Op. 36 Sonata, more commonly performed in its version for flute and piano; this perfumed and lush sonata is by far the most interesting selection on the program. Performing these works along with a few short transcriptions is the husband and wife duo Katherine McLin (violin) and Andrew Campbell (piano). As far as an introduction to new repertoire, the McLin Campbell Duo puts forth an adequate performance. McLin's playing, however, is not always ideal. Intonation is sometimes spotty, often tending rather sharp on big shifts. Her tone is also somewhat one-dimensional and lacking in the variations in color that the liner notes cite as one aim of the album. At only about 55 minutes -- 13 minutes of which are devoted to transcriptions -- the disc is also on the short side.

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