Chausson: Concert in D major, Op 21; Franck: Violin Sonata in A major

Reviewed on Wed 24 May, 2017

Alexander Melnikov's partnership with Isabelle Faust in the gorgeous Franck Sonata impresses by dint of its unruffled poise, thoughtful observation and intrepid sense of fantasy.

Alexander Melnikov's choice of an Érard piano from the period lends a distinctively mellow, soft-grained demeanour to this highly accomplished and irreproachably sensitive music-making. His partnership with Isabelle Faust in the gorgeous Franck Sonata impresses by dint of its unruffled poise, thoughtful observation and intrepid sense of fantasy. For the ambitious Chausson Concert they are joined by the excellent Salagon Quartet for a reading of articulate flair, keen purposefulness and poetic hush (the slow movement being especially fine). In both these sumptuously lyrical masterworks, however, there is rather greater passion than these fine artists choose to convey, in which respect do try and hear either the Graffin/Devoyon/Chilingirian Quartet or Kolly d'Alba/Chamorel/Spektral Quartet performances of the Chausson on Hyperion and Aparté respectively (the latter was reviewed by Rob Cowan on 22 April 2015); and, in the Franck Sonata, Kaja Danczowska and Krystian Zimerman on DG The Originals really do take some beating. Still, this shapely newcomer remains a notable achievement and can be warmly recommended.
–Andrew Achenbach