CD review: Stéphane Tétreault, Marie-Ève Scarfone

Stéphane Tétreault,
Marie-Ève Scarfone
Haydn • Schubert • Brahms; Analekta

There is a special energy when deeply moving music is performed by young people, who demonstrate a maturity that belies their age. Johannes Brahms’ Cello Sonata in E minor, performed by cellist Stéphane Tétreault and pianist Marie-Ève Scarfone on the Analekta label is such an experience.

From the moment of the opening phrase, the listener is drawn into the dialogue between the cello and the piano.

Written when Brahms was barely 30, the sonata was originally called Sonata for Piano and Cello, with Brahms—a virtuoso pianist—giving his instrument equal importance.

He said the piano “should be a partner – often a leading, often a watchful and considerate partner – but it should under no circumstances assume a purely accompanying role.”

We first heard of Stéphane Tétreault when he received, on loan from Jacqueline Desmarais, a Stradivarius cello made in 1707. One of the last students of Yuli Turovsky, founder of the I Musici orchestra, Tétreault has begun to build what promises to be a stellar career. Geoffrey Norris of Gramophone magazine called his playing “astonishingly mature not merely in its technical attributes but also in its warmth, brilliance and subtlety of colour and inflection.”

A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and Université de Montréal, Marie Ève Scarfone has established an international career and is a highly sought-after musical collaborator. Winner of several prizes, including the Marilyn Horne Foundation Song Competition, she is rehearsal pianist for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Opéra de Montréal, and choirmaster at McGill.

The CD, reflecting the music of three Viennese masters also features Schubert’s Sonata in A Minor, originally written for the six-stringed, bowed arpeggione,  an instrument rarely used today resembling a viola da gamba, as well as Haydn’s Divertimento in D Major, also written for a rare instrument of the cello family.

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