The ensemble Roots of Time from Dijon

The modal melodic vein, flexible, as lyrical as it can be, the ornaments and inflections are made out of pure emotions. Serenity, a sense of fulfillment, self-assurance and joy – all of these expressed feelings are magnified (not to mention the beautiful variations of the 7th melody Kele Kele). Astrig Siranossian, whose authentic singing perfectly blends with the sound of her instrument, confirms her rare qualities.


David Barker

Music Web International

At the end of last year, I reviewed a Chandos recording of Poulenc’s concertante works for piano and orchestra, concluding that it was a matter of some regret that I had waited so long to explore his music. Thus, when this CD appeared on the review lists, I took the opportunity to extend my exploration.

Poulenc abandoned his sonata in 1940, lacking the inspiration to complete it, returning to it eight years later following encouragement from Pierre Fournier. It is typical Poulenc: beautiful melodies, jaunty rhythms, abrupt changes of direction. The second movement Cavatine is exceptionally beautiful and moving. Without being a staple of the repertoire, the work has accumulated in excess of twenty recordings. Thus, Siranossian and Fouchenneret have significant competition. Two all-French duos strike me as particularly relevant comparisons: Anne Gastinel and Claire Désert (Naïve –  review) and Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexandre Tharaud (Harmonia Mundi). Each provides something more in terms of characterisation in the faster sections than the Claves pair, the former refined, elegant and witty, the latter faster, more dramatic and almost wild in places.

There is even more competition in the Fauré pieces, comprising as they do a suitable CD filler for his two sonatas. Here, Siranossian and Fouchenneret are very good. The Hyperion recording of Alban Gerhardt and Cecile Licad (CDA67872) has not been reviewed here, but has been very well received elsewhere. Listening to what admittedly were only excerpts on the Hyperion site lead me to believe that the Claves duo do not lose anything in comparison.

The arrangements of thirteen of the songs of Komitas (real name Soghomon Gevorki Soghomonian) gives this recording a real point of difference. I could only find two other recordings with some of these songs in the cello & piano version. A Divine Art recording of Armenian music, including that of Komitas (also known as Gomidas) arranged for this combination has been reviewed on these pages. I have listened to some of the works in common between the two recordings, and feel that Siranossian and Fouchenneret reveal a much greater sense of the folk elements which are the source of this music. They are mostly melancholy in nature, but there is enough variation to maintain interest through to the jaunty final piece.

This is the debut CD for the two performers, each of whom is French. Astrig Siranossian is of Armenian origin, providing an obvious reason, if one were needed, for the choice of the Komitas arrangements. The pair have performed widely together and apart, and each has a competition win. Siranossian wrote the brief but sufficiently informative notes. The sound quality is very good. An imaginative selection of works and performances that are at least good, and in  places very fine, make this a very promising start to their recording career.

David Barker – Music Web International

Remy Franck

PIZZICATO.LU – Lots of sound poetry and energy

Full of energy and endowed with a great sense of sound poetry, the French-Armenian cellist Astrig Siranossian is the ideal interpreter of Poulenc’s cello sonatas, whose elegant dimension is equally emphasized as the humorous one (As someone once said, these are the two sides of Poulenc- the pious Catholic boy side and rebellious, Holy terror one). She is actively supported by Théo Fouchenneret who is not only a technically brilliant pianist, but who also has something to express. For Astrig Siranossian, within this program, he is literaly a godsend.

In Faures Miniatures, the cellist sings her soul out and turns every single piece into a real delight.
The tenth piece of this album is a quite special jewel box that opens up before us: thirteen songs arranged by the Armenian priest, composer and ethnomusicologist Komitas, who collected many Armenian folk songs (such as Bartok and Kodaly have done later in their countries).
Here too, we are struck by the perfect harmony between cellist and pianist.

 Remy Franck –
Agnès Simon

ResMusica: Astrig Siranossian interpreting Poulenc, Faure and Komitas

The cellist’s Astrig Siranossian and pianist’s Théo Fouchenneret first record offers a French-Armenian program that revolves around Poulenc, Faure and Komitas. An undeniable success.

In Poulenc’s sometimes misunderstood Sonata for cello and piano, we mostly remember the touching and elegiac cavatina. Here too, the two performers reveal great expressiveness. However, the other movements are equally interesting. In the libretto, Astrig Siranossian points out the whimsical, colorful and disjointed writing full of mood swings, that oscillates between emotions, irony and festive joy and that remind us of the atmosphere in Apollinaire’s Calligrammes that Poulenc admired enormously. This version stands out from the others (from that of Pierre Fournier in the first place, dedicatee of the work) through an elegiac and romantic vision: beautiful phrasings, the cello sound deprived of harshness and the soft attacks. At times, this game sounds slightly automatic (for instance, we miss some ironic lightness in the strange Ballabile), although contained within a well-measured expressiveness. It perfectly suits Fauré’s compositions, among which two very delicate and catchy pieces stand out – the famous Sicilienne and Les Papillons. The two artists offer us a new, slow and composed version of Fauré’s Elegy, that doesn’t allow them to express the wrath contained in the central passage.

Finally, the duo offers us the interpretation of a dozen of Komitas melodies – central Armenian figure, priest, composer and ethnomusicologist who transcribed and harmonized traditional folk songs, getting that way in ahead of Bartók or Janáček. This version gives the mentioned melodies a universal dimension, far more interesting than the sugary and cheesy arrangements of the Soviet era, but less colorful than the versions played on traditional instruments – for example the ones recorded by Jordi Savall. Among those somewhat melancholic pieces, two light and festive tunes stand out: Hoy Nazan and Shaghker, Shughker.

This first recording gives a new visibility to two young artists noticed on stage: the Armenian Astrig Siranossian who studied in Lyon and Switzerland, mostly in Ivan Monighetti’s class. Before co-founding the ensemble Messiaen, Théo Fouchenneret studied in Nice and Paris. They deliver here a clever and very personal selection of compositions, alongside with an outstanding performance and a beautiful mastery.

ResMusica – Agnès Simon, 08.04.16

Basler Zeitung

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