Alban Gerhardt's account of Fauré's two cello sonatas, both late works, repay careful listening. Like the works themselves, his playing and that of the pianist Cecile Licad is full of subtleties, the half-tones and inflections that make the chamber music of Fauré's final decade so elusive and fragile. Nothing here is forced or made to conform; whether it's the urgent outpourings of the first movement of the D minor Sonata Op 109 or the utterly different slow movement of the G minor Op 117, the pacing seems perfectly natural, the colouring distinctive. It's typical of Gerhardt's thoughtfulness that after the collection of earlier cello-and-piano pieces (including the well-known Elégie), which follows the sonatas, he should repeat the last movement of the first sonata at a faster tempo. Cellists disagree about Fauré's intentions; there's no doubt that the faster speed makes the music more focused, though at some cost to its introspective poetry.
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