The Fauré Album

A former Deutsche Grammophon wunderkind, violinist Gil Shaham is now one of many classical stars without a major-label affiliation.

A former Deutsche Grammophon wunderkind, violinist Gil Shaham is now one of many classical stars without a major-label affiliation. Yet he shows forward-minded vitality by inaugurating his own, Artemis-distributed Canary Classics imprint with a long-cherished album devoted to the rich, fin-de-siècle strains of Gabriel Fauré. Shaham avoids all the Fauré competition in the racks by fashioning a thoughtful program that includes not only the French composer's first Violin Sonata and famous pieces like the "Berceuse" but also many brief rarities and the masterful Piano Trio (in league with pianist Akira Eguchi and cellist Brinton Smith). Beyond the imaginative program, Shaham's bold tone and the full, upfront recording by Da-Hong Seetoo help this album score over such excellent rivals as Isabelle Faust on Harmonia Mundi.—BB