Gautier Capuçon / Frank Braley

Schubert: Arpeggione

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In the first decade of his recording career, cellist Gautier Capuçon has demonstrated great versatility, playing as often as a chamber musician as he has appeared as a concerto soloist. His repertoire covers the standard cello works, though he frequently performs pieces that are less expected. Thus, on this 2014 release from Erato, Capuçon delivers a stirring performance of Franz Schubert's famous Arpeggione Sonata, which is regularly recorded by cellists, yet he fills the rest of the disc with pieces a bit off the beaten path, such as Robert Schumann's Five Pieces in Folk Style, Claude Debussy's Sonata for cello and piano, and Benjamin Britten's Sonata in C. This makes for a varied and stimulating program that challenges listeners who don't know these pieces as much as it challenges Capuçon and his accompanist, Frank Braley. These works place apparent technical demands on the performers, so they may be regarded as music for virtuosos, though the overriding feeling of the program is of flowing lyricism and extraordinarily sustained expressiveness. Capuçon is a master of the long line, and the continuity of his phrasing and emotional connection to the music is unbroken through the album. Braley is an attentive pianist who follows Capuçon's lead with an excellent sense of direction and timing, and he is sympathetic to the subtle changes of moods. This album was recorded close-up to the musicians, so it has great presence as well as some places where Capuçon's breathing is quite audible.

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