13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2004
This is an exceptionally beautiful recording of a very special piece. The Chausson Poeme is usually performed as a violin virtuoso showpiece with full orchestra, but in this unusual chamber version it is revealed in an entirely new light: dramatic, narrative and overflowing with tragic emotion. Graffin's tone has a marvellous bittersweet power and his absolute absorption in the music is matched ideally by Devoyon and their fellow musicians. I also loved the Piano Trio, hardly ever played but sharing the Poeme's darker qualities of foreboding, isolation and intense sensitivity. Absolutely wonderful.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
There's something about Philippe Graffin's playing that enobles everything he touches, and his recordings of French repertoire on Hyperion are all outstanding. Not least this one, whose repertoire sounds pretty noble whoever is playing, but Graffin is ideal - no one could make the Poeme sound better than he does. It seems to come straight from the heart, but without any self-indulgence. I don't think there is a better version in the catalogue, and there are no others, I don't think, for the version with string quartet and piano. It is usually played either with the full orchestra or a piano reduction, but this version, also written by Chausson, is very pleasing, occupying a middle ground between the scale of one and the intimacy of the other. His Concert, of course, was written for the same forces, so it was obviously a combination that appealed to Chausson and was also unique to him. It allows for some interesting echoes between the solo violin and the top line of the string quartet. The Trio is another superb work, perhaps unjustly overshadowed by the Ravel, but it has to be heard by all lovers of French music for its heartfelt plea that seems to characterise its entire length. The slow movement has a tremendous sense of yearning combined with resignation. The clarinet piece has a surprisingly virtuoso Allegro that makes a very good impression, and the cello piece rounds the programme off on a wistful note through which a tentative wellbeing can be heard vying with a more urgent strain. The sense of rapport between the instruments is also notable.