When listening to any music, but classical music in particular, I live by the advice of some wise old public radio announcer (who I suspect also read Aaron Copland's bible on "What To Listen For In Music"): A great musical album is the combined product of 1.) well-written music, 2.) impeccably performed, and 3.) flawlessly recorded.
Well, here's Exhibit A.
This RCA recording of Steven Isserlis (mostly with pianist Pascal Devoyon) performing the cello works of Gabriel Faure is remarkable. It's truly unfortunate that most casual listeners of classical music are only familiar with Faure's "Dolly", "Requiem", or perhaps some of his fine piano compositions (of which there are many), because he has a fine catalog of other chamber works (violin sonatas, trios, quartets, quintets [stunning!] etc.), as well as some great orchestral works and songs.
His compositional style which combines typical French Impressionistic coloring with lush Romantic styling is clearly evident on these beautiful, playful, emotional cello works. Isserlis gives each piece his individual attention, and his phrasing seems effortless and spot on. The trademark tone of his cello is perfectly mic'd and reproduced here on this recording.
You'll love every minute of this brilliant album. It has that certain something that makes it stand out from the rest of your library as a special musical experience that you'll want to keep revisiting over and over (at the unfortunate expense of some worthy competitors in your collection!).
This is a "Top Ten" cd in my personal collection of over 800 classical cd's. You can't go wrong here, folks.
I value interesting music that is played and recorded well. This cd's rating was based on:
Music quality = 9.6/10; Performance = 9.7/10; Production = 9.5/10; CD length = 10/10.
Overall score weighted on my proprietary scale = 9.6 ("5 stars")