First published in the Guardian on 25 May, 2017
Faure / Franck: Violin Sonatas
Patriotic music isn’t all pomp and anthems. These febrile violin sonatas were designed to be explicitly, defiantly French. Gabriel Fauré and César Franck were members of the Société Nationale de Musique. They helped found the group in 1871 with the rousing motto Ars gallica and the aims of promoting a new kind of national style and, most important, of beating the Germans at their own symphonic and chamber music game. Pianist Nelson Goerner and violinist Tedi Papavrami clinch the muscular, urgent nature of the music as well as its sensitivity and flux; the rigour and classicism as well as the whimsy. It’s very much an equal partnership, with Goerner urging things on and Papavrami responding with generous, full-toned lyricism. The Franck sonata gets a particularly fine performance – intelligent, forthright playing from both musicians.