Virgin Classics assembled an all-star team of chamber musicians to put together this five-disc set of Gabriel Fauré's complete music for strings and piano. Only the String Quartet, Op. 121, by the Quatuor Ebène, was previously released. Fauré's chamber music - with the exception of a couple of short works for cello and piano - isn't as well known outside of France as that of Debussy and Ravel, although the two piano quartets are widely admired.
The young cellist Andreas Brantelid, often accompanied and perhaps guided by the much older Bengt Forsberg, has gained notice for sheer virtuoso chops. But in this recital covering all of Gabriel Fauré's music for cello and piano, it's his way with a sheer melody that impresses the most: the two Berceuses (cradle song), the flawless unfolding of the two sonata slow movements from simple opening material (sample that of the elegiac Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 117), the remarkable, 54-second Morceau de Lecture (originally for two cellos, and the only arranged work here). Brantelid certainly delivers a smooth performance of the popular Papillon, Op. 77, and all the music here – some of it well known, but most of it not so much – is a pleasure. Fauré was one of the few composers who had a real knack for writing for the cello and did so without complaining about it. The best is saved for last: the Andante for cello and harmonium is the original version of the opening Romance, Op. 69, and it's really an entirely different work, spooky and inward, with the harmonium contributing a unique wash of sound. The harmonium was an extremely common instrument in the second half of the 19th century, and it's good to hear a work played on the instrument for which it was intended. BIS contributes fine Swedish radio sound to this recommended cello recital.
Gabriel is back with another funky contemporary jazz album, collaboration with Jeff Lorber (keys, g, b). In addition Brian Bromberg (b), Chuck Loeb (g), Rock Hendricks (sax) and Rob Tardik (g) all make guest appearances. Hasselbach plays trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and flute. He soars, soothes and keeps the melodies crisp. They waste no time getting down to business with the opener "King James", the first of ten cuts that sizzle. Gabriel and company are energized and when you plug this one in you too will be Kissed By The Sun!
The trio of Craig Handy (on tenor and soprano), bassist Charles Fambrough, and drummer Ralph Peterson lives up to its potential during a wide-ranging set. The improvisations are explorative yet melodic and logical, while the interplay between these talented players is consistently impressive. Together they explore tributes to Clifford Jordan and George Adams and at times hint at Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and even Grover Washington, Jr.. Pianist David Kikoski is heard on four selections, but his presence is actually unnecessary. Handy's unaccompanied solo on "West Bank: Beyond the Berlin Wall" is a highlight of this recommended disc.