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New releases of Dukas’ mighty Sonata (1899-1900) have some formidable competition. Hervé Billaut’s is measured and thoughtful, the product of great familiarity and understanding of the notes (and the spaces in between). What it lacks, though, is the visceral excitement – especially in the outer movements – of previous interpreters such as Ogdon (EMI), Hamelin (Hyperion) or Margaret Fingerhut (Chandos). Billaut’s shaping of the music’s flow is subtle and nicely judged, not least in the middle spans, Calme and the rollicking Vivement, qualities that stand him in even better stead in the Variations, Interlude and Finale on a theme by Rameau (1899-1902) as well as the two smaller tributes to Debussy (1920) and Haydn (1909). Mirare’s sound is good if not exceptional.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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