Beau Soir: Debussy | Poulenc | Ravel | Satie

Acclaimed young cellist Maciej Kułakowski (Lutosławski International Cello Competition 2015, First Prize; Queen Elisabeth Competition 2017, Laureate) is partnered by pianist Jonathan Ware in an all-French recital programme that mingles the familiar with the reimagined.

Elements of ‘Spanish’ style, blues and jazz, and the ironic humour of the Parisian café, encountered in sonatas by Debussy, Poulenc and Ravel (Kułakowski’s cello rendering of the latter’s second violin sonata), are echoed in a brace of shorter works that includes several further transcriptions: of three short pieces by Debussy and of Satie’s Trois Gnossiennes.

"Delphian’s collaboration with the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT), which offers a recording platform to top-notch upcoming musicians, continues with this stimulating programme by Gdansk-born cellist Maciej Kułakowski and American pianist Jonathan Ware. It’s an inspired mix of genuine pieces for cello and piano – Sonatas by Debussy and Poulenc – and skilful arrangements of Satie, Ravel and Debussy. The flavour is exclusively French, the track list perfectly proportioned to offer palate-cleansing respite between the heavier courses. The Debussy and Poulenc sonatas are essentially the framework, the former combining poeticism and fortitude, the latter laced with essential quirkiness and humour. Ravel’s effervescent Sonata for violin and piano, with its bluesy central movement, loses nothing in Kułakowski’s delicate transcription. Dotted elsewhere, Debussy’s Beau Soir, Minstrels and La plus que lente, Satie’s Gnossiennes Nos 1-3 and Ravel’s Piéce en forme de habanera, all benefit from the excellent arrangements."

★ ★ ★ ★

'Kulakowski’s warmly lyrical playing, the singing quality of his cello, the variety of his bow-strokes, the keening of his vibrato are closely enhanced by Ware’s broader pianistic sweeps and lively tempos. Together, they bring to life all the fervid longing for change of the Impressionist movement, the group of French turn-of-the-century composers intent on breaking away from musical tradition ... Kulakowski and Ware are in perfect sync, frequently echoing each other’s phrases, palpably enjoying the theatricality of the moment'

"a worthwhile assembly of French sonatas and miniatures ... Kulakowski does justice to the stark emotional contrasts and edgy humour of Debussy's Cello Sonata (1915) ... numerous shorter pieces afford telling complement, including the pensive charms of Debussy's song Beau Soir, and the wistfully arching La plus que lent ... vividly realistic sound and informative annotations enhance an already desirable collection"

Release Date: 7 October 2022
Catalogue No: DCD34277
Total playing time: 72:31
Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter
Recorded on 8-10 December 2021 at St Mark’s Episcopal Church, Portobello, Edinburgh

24-bit digital editing: James Waterhouse
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter
Design: John Christ

Cover image: Kaupo Kikkas
Session photography: foxbrushfilms.com
Booklet editor: John Fallas


Claude DebussyBeau Soir

Album Booklet


Maciej and Jonathan perform Satie's iconic Gnosienne No.1during recording sessions, in a specially-arrangement for cello and piano

Part of the YCAT series on Delphian

This partnership between Delphian Records and YCAT offers rare new recording opportunities for the most promising young artists, combining YCAT’s mission of developing careers at a world-class level with Delphian’s twenty-year-long reputation for bold, considered programming. The partnership will give the artists a unique experience – from initial concept planning, recording and editing to the final packaged and digital product – and will enhance Delphian and YCAT’s commitments to nurturing artists’ artistic development and long-term careers.

Read more about the partnership and discover the range of releases here

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