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