Magnard: Piano Trio in F minor, Op 18; Violin Sonata in G major, Op 13

Reviewed on Tue 24 Nov, 2015

Performances are past praise in their finesse, dedication and blistering cogency, while the sound on this co-production with Bavarian Radio is ideally warm and realistic.

Killed at the start of the First World War defending his home from German invaders, Paris-born Albéric Magnard (1865-1914) left a comparatively small body of work, much of it marked by fine craftsmanship, an inventive approach to form and unfailing nobility of expression. Anyone with a penchant for, say, Fauré, Franck, Chausson or d'Indy will find these two large-scale offerings very much to their liking. Written for the great Belgian virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe, the Violin Sonata is cast in four movements and plays for over 40 minutes; its architectural sweep, narrative flair and clean-cut, memorable ideas undoubtedly leave a powerful impression. Completed four years later in 1905, the Piano Trio is also well worth getting to know, its songful slow movement and succeeding Valse-Intermezzo satisfyingly complementing the at times almost orchestral drama and drive of the first movement and contrapuntal vigour of the splendidly ambitious finale. Performances are past praise in their finesse, dedication and blistering cogency, while the sound on this co-production with Bavarian Radio is ideally warm and realistic. No true Francophile should fail to hear this enterprising CPO coupling.
–Andrew Achenbach