A French Connection: Chausson, Debussy, Franck – Alluring arrangements and sensual delivery

Fri, May 21, 2021, 05:00


A French Connection: Chausson, Debussy, Franck

Daniel Rowland, Natacha Kudritskaya, Francesco Sica, Asia Jiménez Antón de Vez, Joel Waterman, Maja Bogdanović

Champs Hill Records CHRCD157


The emperor who chided Mozart for writing too many notes might well have been rendered speechless had he ever come within earshot of Chausson’s Concerto for piano, violin and string quartet. (He was at no risk of doing so, as Chausson’s extravagantly decorated, 40-minute chamber concerto was not completed until a century after the death of Mozart.)

On the other hand, the Dutch/English violinist Daniel Rowland had a strongly positive reaction to the piece. When, as a child, he first listened to a recording of the piece he leapt up with excitement and banged his head on the ceiling of his family’s basement music den. 

On his new recording, Rowland revels in the work’s luscious embroidery, its extended phrase-lengths, and the side-stepping effects of its Franckian chromatic harmony. The musicians dream as well as surge, and give the second movement its full measure of sweetness. 

Meanwhile, three Debussy Preludes are played here in alluring violin and piano arrangements by Craig White. And in Franck’s Violin Sonata (like the Chausson, a piece written for the great Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe) with pianist Natacha Kudritskaya, the players conjure up a glowing, rounded tone that often creates a lovingly cushioned sensuality.