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Friday, March 3, 2017

Ernest Chausson - Concert; Piano Quartet (Philippe Graffin; Pascal Devoyon; Chilingirian Quartet)


Composer: Ernest Chausson
  1. Concert in D major, for violin, piano & string quartet, Op. 21: I. Décidé
  2. Concert in D major, for violin, piano & string quartet, Op. 21: II. Sicilienne
  3. Concert in D major, for violin, piano & string quartet, Op. 21: III. Grave
  4. Concert in D major, for violin, piano & string quartet, Op. 21: IV. Finale
  5. Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 30: I. Animé
  6. Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 30: II. Très calme
  7. Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 30: III. Simple et sans hâte
  8. Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 30: IV. Animé

Pascal Devoyon, piano
Philippe Graffin, violin
Toby Hoffman, viola (5-8)
Gary Hoffman, cello (5-8)
Chilingirian Quartet (1-4)
Levon Chilingirian, violin
Charles Sewart, violin
Ásdís Valdimarsdottir, viola
Philip De Groote, cello

Date: 1997
Label: Hyperion



PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: *****

It is easy to understand why Chausson’s Concert is not as regular a feature of concert programmes as, say, Franck’s Violin Sonata. After all, a work for piano, violin and string quartet must surely have an instrumental imbalance. How can Chausson occupy all three violin parts for nearly forty minutes? In short, he does not. Nor does he try. Much of the Concert is essentially a sonata for violin and piano with an accompanying, though essential, string quartet. Chausson’s refusal to involve the quartet at every juncture merely to justify the players’ fees results in a signally well-balanced late Romantic work. When the quartet does feature on an equal footing, the effect is all the more telling. The fingerprints of Franck can be detected readily throughout the Concert, but in this and the Piano Quartet, Chausson’s individuality overcomes his teacher’s influence. Indeed, there are premonitions of Debussy, Ravel and even Shostakovich. Tangibly the product of live performances, these accounts traverse the gamut of emotions, bristling with energy, lyricism and conviction, and ensuring that this disc will never gather much dust.

-- Christopher Dingle, BBC Music Magazine

More reviews:


Ernest Chausson (20 January 1855 – 10 June 1899) was a French romantic composer who died just as his career was beginning to flourish. He studied with Jules Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire, and  also with César Franck, with whom he formed a close friendship. Chausson left behind only 39 opus-numbered pieces.  The quality and originality of his compositions are consistently high, and several of his works continue to make occasional appearances on programs of leading singers, chamber music ensembles and orchestras.


Philippe Graffin (born 1964 in Romilly-sur-Seine, France) is a French violinist. Graffin was a student of the late Joseph Gingold and Philippe Hirschhorn and has established a particular reputation for his interpretations of his native repertoire as well for his interest in rare and contemporary works. He has made numerous landmark recordings for labels such as Hyperion, Avie, ASV and Onyx. Graffin plays a Domenico Busano violin, made in Venice, 1730. He is currently professor at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique and guest professor at the Brussels Conservatoire Royal.


Pascal Devoyon (born 6 April 1953 in Paris) is a French pianist. He graduated from the Paris Conservatoire in 1971 with a first prize, studying with Leilia Gousseau. He made a good impression on audiences in competitions, winning silver at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1978 (behind Mikhail Pletnev). Having established himself as a first-rate interpreter of French solo piano music, Pascal Devoyon has also become one of Europe's most esteemed chamber music players. Among his most frequent partners are cellist Steven Isserlis, violinists Dong-Suk Kang and Philippe Graffin.


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