If musical parentage is influential in a musician’s development, then the second generation of Pasquiers—violinist Régis and his violist brother Bruno—were always destined to succeed. Their father Pierre, a violist, was a pupil of Maurice Vieux and played with his brothers Jean and Étienne as the legendary Pasquier Trio. The draw of chamber music remains strong with Régis, whose Paris Piano Trio made its first tour when he was just thirteen (Régis, cellist Roland Pidoux and pianist Jean-Claude Pennetier studied together at the Paris Conservatoire, where they are now all professors). He has also followed family tradition in forming, with his brother and Pidoux, the New Pasquier Trio. Régis’s interest in pedagogy has been furthered by establishing the Régis Pasquier Academy summer school in Burgundy, France, which trains young orchestral players.
Régis Pasquier’s playing shows simultaneously great strength and lyrical beauty. His tonal aesthetic is in the modern international mould, but made interesting by a certain laconic sensuousness that perhaps emanates from his French heritage and links him with the more unmistakably Franco-Belgian performance style of his father’s generation. Pasquier certainly seems at home in recordings of French repertoire, including a luscious Chausson Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet (2009): a work of great intensity and richness which is carried off with immense aplomb. Equally convincing are his Ravel interpretations, especially the personal utterances of the Sonata in G with its humorous if ironic second movement (Blues) and effervescent finale.
In other repertoire his Beethoven violin sonatas are less engaging. He plays very firmly and sometimes fails to assume the accompanying rôle to the piano where appropriate. Nevertheless, Op. 23 (1997) is well balanced and energetic, a description that applies equally to his Mozart concertos with the Liège Philharmonic (1999). Although contemporary music is not a prominent feature of Pasquier’s repertory, his recording of David Lampel’s Sonata (a present to him and Strosser in 2005) does show his handling of a more esoteric atonal language.
Probably his most important disc, the 24 Paganini Caprices (1991), demonstrates everything that is superlative in Pasquier’s artistry. Particularly outstanding are the tight sautillé bow strokes in No. 1, the fantastic bite of his tone in No. 2, and the resonance and tonal toughness of No. 9. This is surely one of the most successful Paganini recordings of all time.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)