Three Warner recitals, one weaker than the next

Three Warner recitals, one weaker than the next


norman lebrecht

November 16, 2019

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

Something’s gone awry with Warner’s release scheduling when they issue three violin-piano recitals at the same time (tho one of them’s actually on cello). Something’s also skewed with the repertoire…

Read on here

And here.



  • PeterSD says:

    The cellist is Gautier (as on the album cover), not Renaud (as in your review)…

  • Rémy says:

    I think that many, many others realised that something is VERY wrong at Warner Classics already quite some time ago. There is clearly no strategy, no coherent artistic or repertoire policy and only a label that operates like a cold and calculating machine that requires that an artist pays in order to appear on the label with little else necessary. Those responsible have run the label into the ground and should write themselves out of the story as quickly as possible. Talk about destroying a legacy and a reputation!

  • Peter says:

    I don’t want to be pedantic, but if the three recitals are indeed “one weaker than the next” then they just get better and better.

    Look on the bright side !

  • Bruce says:

    (a) The Chopin cello sonata is really for cello, not a transcription. Ditto for the Chopin Polonaise.

    Calling them “a couple of Chopin pieces” makes it sound like transcriptions of Nocturnes or something.

    (b) I wish you could have put something into your headline (either here or in your review) mentioning that you think one of these three recital discs is actually very good. I had every reason to think I would be reading three bad reviews.

  • Fan says:

    A sharp enemy is worthier than a dumb friend. Mr. Lebrecht demonstrates his acumen as a superb critic in his trashing of the Capuçon/Wang disc. His instinct is exactly right: that this is not the swooning romanticism that is expected. But again, a new generation of musicians are exploring, knowingly or unknowingly, unexpected aesthetic territories. A thing can be profound and deeply moving without being monumental. Romanticism can be romantic without romance.

  • hsy says:

    One star for Vilde Frang’s supurb new recording. One star, because you don’t think she is the “kind of artist” to play Paganini, which by the way she played brilliantly? And what about the other 70% of the album that is not Paganini transcriptions? It is a complete joke to give a recording one star because you believe 30% of its music is unsuitable repertoire for the artist, who indeed proved you wrong in that assumption with her performance.

    As for Capuçon and Wang, Franck and Chopin sonatas are a classic pairing for cello and piano recordings. They are complemented with Introduction and Polonaise brillant, another piece Chopin wrote for cello and piano, with elements of dance music, a feature shared by the last piece (an encore in live concert), Le Grand Tango composed by Piazzolla for Rostropovich. What is the reason for you to claim the album is incoherent?

    • Bruce says:

      It’s true. I searched “Franck Sonata Cello” on Amazon just to see who’s done it, and many of the recordings pair it with Chopin, from the famous (du Pré/ Barenboim, Maisky/Argerich) to the infamous (Harnoy, with Katsaris) to the less (or less than) famous (Kloeckner/Fedorova, Nyffenegger/Wyss).

      Maybe he meant stylistically, i.e. the performances are incoherent? That I could believe; what I call “celebrity chamber music” often results in a bunch of famous people playing their instruments in the same room and calling it collaboration.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Chopin’s sonata for cello and piano Op.65 is his last published work before the posthumous listings beginning with the Fantaisie-Impromptu Op. 66-Posth. that he considered unfinished and asked his friends to destroy. He wrote both the sonata and polonaise for his great French friend Franchomme, and played them with him. The sonata could be stronger, but it is all that we have. Alfred Cortot arranged the slow movement for piano solo.

  • Harry Collier says:

    Tischchenko is superb (and she plays the FIRST Prokofiev sonata, not the second). Frang is a superb player, but not a show-off virtuoso and should avoid Paganini.

    • Serge says:

      yes, it is the first one. the second one is a transcription of the flute sonata and is not as often played/recorded.