Gig review: Jean-Guihen Queyras/ Alexadre Tharud
JEAN-GUIHEN QUEYRAS / ALEXANDRE THARAUD
QUEEN’S HALL, EDINBURGH
IT IS EXHILARATING to hear what happens when a composer pushes a soloist and their instrument past the normal technical limits. In Kodály’s demanding Sonata for Solo Cello Op 8., Jean-Guihen Queyras more than rose to the occasion with his virtuosic account of music heavily infused with the biting rhythms of Hungarian folksong tradition.
The scordatura re-tuning of two of the cello strings down a semitone deepened the tonal colour, enhancing the plucked and strummed guitar-like effects.
There was something of a gypsy flavour to Poulenc’s Cello Sonata particularly in the playful outer movements, a contrast with the dreamy cavatine and the elegance of the dance-like ballabile. Joined by pianist Alexandre Tharaud, Queyras seemed to relish playing with and against an instrument given equal billing by the composer. This was also the case in Debussy’s Cello Sonata in D minor where the transparent filigree detail benefited from the synergistic relationship between the musicians.
Marin Marais’ Suite in D minor with its catchy variations is a gorgeous piece, but while the cello is tonally close to the viol, the piano is no substitute for the harpsichord, for which it was written. Despite being given a superb performance, this piece didn’t quite fit the bill.