The nearly uninterrupted string of strong, successful albums produced by cellist Gautier Capuçon (and indeed his violinist brother, Renaud) demonstrates that the CD debut Face à Face was not just a fluke produced by child prodigies. Rather, Face à Face was a springboard for what has proven to be an enduring career and ever-improving musicianship. On this latest album without his brother, Gautier collaborates with pianist Gabriela Montero on the cello sonatas of Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. Fans of Capuçon's playing will recall that he had previously released a recording of the Rachmaninov sonata with pianist Lilya Zilberstein on the EMI label in 2003. While it may seem questionable to make duplicate recordings when he has recorded so little of the cello repertoire, it offers listeners an opportunity to see how his playing continues to mature even over a short span of five years. While some of the tempos are a little different than the 2003 recording, the most notable difference is that of sound, which has developed impressively with the help of his magnificent 1701 Gofriller cello. His command of sound is most obvious in the solo opening of the Prokofiev sonata.
Yes, Olga Kern does appear in her photographs to be quite beautiful, glamorously, gorgeously, gloriously beautiful. Try not to hold that against her because, under all her appearance of beauty, Kern is actually a great musician and the proof is in her disc of transcriptions and variations by Rachmaninov. Kern's physical beauty is matched and surpassed by her tone, her technique, and, best of all, her interpretations. Her tone is clear, deep, rich, strong, and warm. Her technique is effortless, flawless, and just about beyond belief. And her interpretations are even better.