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Edgar Moreau|A Family Affair

A Family Affair

Edgar Moreau

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Musical siblings appear to possess a special fascination for audiences, and it's undeniable that the combination of shared DNA and upbringing does often translate into musical partnering of a semi-telepathic closeness that can't be taught. With this is mind, it was perhaps only a matter of time before France's star young cellist, Edgar Moreau, brought his younger siblings into the studio for a first collaboration on the label he's been recording with himself since 2014. So here is “A Family Affair”, with violinists Raphaëlle and David, and pianist Jérémie – an unusual chamber combination of instruments, and thus not the easiest to find strong, original repertoire for; but also therefore an opportunity to stand out with some lesser-recorded fare.

First up are Dvořák's Op. 47 Bagatelles. Composed for the domestic market in 1878, shortly after his career-launching Op. 46 Slavonic Dances and drawing equally heavily on Czech folk music, these five charm-filled shorts were originally scored not for piano but for the then-popular harmonium (a small pump organ). The Moreaus' readings are attractively bright-toned, polished and precise, the violins ear-prickingly blended, and with a lovely lilt and singing quality. That said, while these pieces could hardly be described as heavily profound, they do still contain more nuances and undercurrents to be teased out than are heard here. Consequently, anyone specifically after the Bagatelles should still head for the flowing, finely nuanced readings from Frank Braley and Ensemble Explorations on harmonia mundi; or, for especially dark-toned Czech plangency, Josef Suk and friends on Supraphon; or indeed, for a piano recording (the latter two both employ the harmonium), the Busch Trio and Maria Milstein bring a great combination of delicacy and folk kick to the proceedings.

It's a pleasant surprise, therefore, to find that the most convincing interpretation of the two is actually the decidedly meatier Korngold Suite of 1930. This rarely heard work's demanding piano left hand part is a result of it having been commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, the same pianist who commissioned Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand having lost his right arm fighting in the First World War, and here its big, bold opening piano cadenza is compellingly and commandingly brought off, followed by an equally compelling strings entry. Moving forwards, there's plenty more to admire: warmly luminous string tones, with some especially impeccable blending between the violins; a lovely Viennese grace to the Waltz; a real edge-of-the-seat urgency to the Groteske scherzo, its virtuosities cleanly, sparklingly, excitingly despatched; a long-lined, radiantly singing Lied; and the four always superbly tightly together as a conversing chamber family.

Tucked between the two ensemble works are a pair of aria transcriptions for cello, including a beautifully understated Dvořák Song to the Moon.

Moreau fans certainly shouldn't hesitate, and by anyone's standards it's a strong Korngold Suite. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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A Family Affair

Edgar Moreau

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1
5 Bagatelles, Op. 47, B. 79: I. Allegretto scherzando
00:03:20

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

2
5 Bagatelles, Op. 47, B. 79: II. Tempo di minuetto. Grazioso
00:02:49

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

3
5 Bagatelles, Op. 47, B. 79: III. Allegretto scherzando
00:03:11

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

4
5 Bagatelles, Op. 47, B. 79: IV. Canon. Andante con moto
00:02:58

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

5
5 Bagatelles, Op. 47, B. 79: V. Poco allegro
00:04:22

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

6
Rusalka, Op. 114, B. 203, Act 1: Song to the Moon
00:06:42

Antonín Dvorák, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

7
Die tote Stadt, Op. 12, Act I: Lied. "Glück, das mir verblied" (Marietta)
00:05:31

Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

8
Suite, Op. 23: I. Präludium und Fuge. Kräftig und bestimmt. Ruhig ohne zu schleppen
00:08:32

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

9
Suite, Op. 23: II. Walzer. Nicht schnell. Anmutig
00:05:35

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

10
Suite, Op. 23: III. Groteske. Möglichst rasch
00:09:05

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

11
Suite, Op. 23: IV. Lied. Schlicht und innig
00:04:24

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

12
Suite, Op. 23: V. Rondo - Finale. Schnell, heftig - Allegretto amabile e comodo
00:08:40

David Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Composer - Edgar Moreau, Cello, MainArtist - Raphaëlle Moreau, Violin, FeaturedArtist - Jérémie Moreau, Piano, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2020 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2020 Parlophone Records Limited

Album Description

Musical siblings appear to possess a special fascination for audiences, and it's undeniable that the combination of shared DNA and upbringing does often translate into musical partnering of a semi-telepathic closeness that can't be taught. With this is mind, it was perhaps only a matter of time before France's star young cellist, Edgar Moreau, brought his younger siblings into the studio for a first collaboration on the label he's been recording with himself since 2014. So here is “A Family Affair”, with violinists Raphaëlle and David, and pianist Jérémie – an unusual chamber combination of instruments, and thus not the easiest to find strong, original repertoire for; but also therefore an opportunity to stand out with some lesser-recorded fare.

First up are Dvořák's Op. 47 Bagatelles. Composed for the domestic market in 1878, shortly after his career-launching Op. 46 Slavonic Dances and drawing equally heavily on Czech folk music, these five charm-filled shorts were originally scored not for piano but for the then-popular harmonium (a small pump organ). The Moreaus' readings are attractively bright-toned, polished and precise, the violins ear-prickingly blended, and with a lovely lilt and singing quality. That said, while these pieces could hardly be described as heavily profound, they do still contain more nuances and undercurrents to be teased out than are heard here. Consequently, anyone specifically after the Bagatelles should still head for the flowing, finely nuanced readings from Frank Braley and Ensemble Explorations on harmonia mundi; or, for especially dark-toned Czech plangency, Josef Suk and friends on Supraphon; or indeed, for a piano recording (the latter two both employ the harmonium), the Busch Trio and Maria Milstein bring a great combination of delicacy and folk kick to the proceedings.

It's a pleasant surprise, therefore, to find that the most convincing interpretation of the two is actually the decidedly meatier Korngold Suite of 1930. This rarely heard work's demanding piano left hand part is a result of it having been commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, the same pianist who commissioned Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand having lost his right arm fighting in the First World War, and here its big, bold opening piano cadenza is compellingly and commandingly brought off, followed by an equally compelling strings entry. Moving forwards, there's plenty more to admire: warmly luminous string tones, with some especially impeccable blending between the violins; a lovely Viennese grace to the Waltz; a real edge-of-the-seat urgency to the Groteske scherzo, its virtuosities cleanly, sparklingly, excitingly despatched; a long-lined, radiantly singing Lied; and the four always superbly tightly together as a conversing chamber family.

Tucked between the two ensemble works are a pair of aria transcriptions for cello, including a beautifully understated Dvořák Song to the Moon.

Moreau fans certainly shouldn't hesitate, and by anyone's standards it's a strong Korngold Suite. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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