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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Gabriel Pierné - Chamber Music Vol. 1


Composer: Gabriel Pierné

  1. Fantaisie-Impromptu for violin & piano, Op. 4
  2. Sonata for violin & piano, Op. 36: 1. Allegretto
  3. Sonata for violin & piano, Op. 36: 2. Allegretto tranquillo
  4. Sonata for violin & piano, Op. 36: 3. Allegro un poco agitato
  5. Sérénade for violin & piano, Op. 7
  6. Berceuse for violin & piano, Op. 8
  7. Andante for violin & piano
  8. Quintet for piano & string quartet, Op. 41: 1. Moderato molto tranquilo
  9. Quintet for piano & string quartet, Op. 41: 2. Sur un rythme de Zortzico
  10. Quintet for piano & string quartet, Op. 41: 3. Lent - Allegro vivo ed agitato
  1. Pastorale for wind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon & horn)
  2. Canzonetta for clarinet & piano, Op. 19
  3. Sonata da camera for flute, cello & piano, Op. 48: 1. Prélude
  4. Sonata da camera for flute, cello & piano, Op. 48: 2. Sarabande
  5. Sonata da camera for flute, cello & piano, Op. 48: 3. Finale
  6. Prélude de concert for bassoon & piano, Op. 53
  7. Prelude & fughetta for winds (2 flutes, oboe, clarinet, 2 bassoons & horn), Op. 40 No. 1
  8. Pièce for oboe & piano, Op. 5
  9. Pastorale variée for winds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn & trumpet), Op. 30
  10. Solo de concert for bassoon & piano, Op. 35
  11. La danseuse espagnole for violin & piano
  12. Giration, ballet for piano & 10 instruments (2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone)
  13. Nuit divine for violin, harmonium and narrator

Soloists of the Luxemburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Philippe Koch, violin
Aleksandr Khramouchin & Vincent Gérin, cellos
Ilan Schneider, viola - Thierry Gavard, doule bass
Étienne Plasman & Markus Brönnimann, flutes
Philippe Gonzales, oboe
Olivier Dartevelle & Jean-Philippe Vivier, clarinets
David Sattler & François Baptiste, bassoons
Miklos Nagy, horn
Adam Rixer, trumpet
Gilles Héritier, trombone
Julie Knowles, piano/harmonium
Rémy Franck, narrator
Quatuor Louvigny
Philippe Koch & Fabian Perdichizzi, violin
Ilan Schneider, viola - Aleksandr Khramouchin, cello
Christian Ivaldi, piano

Date: 2005-2006
Label: Timpani



Like a skillfully varied box of the finest chocolates, Pierné’s chamber music offers a series of exquisite surprises. True, as Cyril Bongers observes in an introductory note, “Up until the end of the 19th century, it was for the salons that Pierné wrote his music, minor pieces whose somewhat facile charm had no other objective than pleasing the great majority.” But that applies to less than half of the program—and those pieces do give pleasure. The present program, on this first volume, is drawn from all periods of Pierné’s life, from the Fauré-prompted Berceuse, for violin and piano, of 1880, or the sans opus Pastorale, for wind quintet, composed around 1887, to the three movement Sonata da camera, for flute, cello, and piano of 1926, whose airy charm masks music of genuine sinew and emotional engagement reminiscent of Cydalise et le chèvre-pied . Rivaling the latter in vivacious frippery, Giration , a pocket ballet of 1933 for chamber ensemble, conceived for the two sides of a 78-rpm disc, proves an indispensable companion for anyone wowed by Cydalise or Timpani’s recent splendid release of Impressions de music-hall (see Fanfare 30:2). But Pierné is not all bonbons or occasional pieces, as the Violin Sonata, an incandescent burst of lyric radiance, and the pithily cunning Quintet for Piano and Strings demonstrate.

Just here generally snappy performances—and several distinguished ones (e.g., David Sattler in the Solo de concert for bassoon and piano)—take a detour as Philippe Koch’s peremptory phrasing through the Violin Sonata frosts its lyric warmth with frigid brilliance, dragging Christian Ivaldi (who knows better) with him. But the Violin Sonata is a relatively popular piece and one may supplement this with a recent more welcoming go at it by Gaëtane Prouvost, with Laurent Cabasso (Intégral 221.153), or the classic Charlier/Hubeau performance (out-of-print but eminently collectible Erato 45525, which I treasure a bit more than when I reviewed it in Fanfare 14:6). The Erato disc, with Hubeau and the Viotti Quartet, and a 1992 account by William Grant Naboré and the Brindisi Quartet (Accord 201282, Fanfare 16:3), once provided similarly élan-motivated and nuance-rife accounts of the Quintet, beside which Timpani’s serviceable go seems alternately tentative and vehement, and, in the zortzico -propelled second movement, interminably plodding. If Timpani’s forces project the escalating turbulence of the Quintet’s final movement with sure command, they miss the suffusion of quicksilver with which those previous recorded performances were laced. And that’s to say that this intégral —its first installment, at least—does not wholly escape the mixed bag bane usual with such ambitious productions. On the other hand, Ivaldi, the pianist for all but one of the “piano-and” works, can wring from his instrument a range of sonority from singingly scintillant to sensuously melting, and pretty much carries the show, sparking dialogue from his partners from which particulars of rapture flow. In 1991, I noted a Pierné “boomlet” and observed, “We may speak of a boom when we have such works as the oratorio, L’an mil , or the operetta, Fragonard , on discs.” Timpani’s booklet announced L’an mil with the tone poems, Les cathédrales and Paysages franciscains , for February—yes, they’re late—and his opera, Sophie Arnould , with the Ballet du cour , for September. The second album of chamber music—the substantial Piano Trio and attractive Cello Sonata nestled among yet more delectable bonbons—was due in January but is not yet available as I write in late March. Perhaps by the end of the year . . . But I will venture that, thanks largely to Timpani, a Pierné boom is in full swing. Sound is so immediately upfront that one hears the players’ fingerwork, but also well balanced, closely detailed, and gutsy. The open-out sleeve encloses a booklet with companionable and richly detailed annotations by Jacques Tchamkerten. Though regrettable that Albert Samain’s poem, Nuit divine , recited to a brief aromatic melodrama, is not included, it may probably still be found online. Enthusiastically recommended.

-- Adrian Corleonis, FANFARE

More reviews:


Gabriel Pierné (16 August 1863 – 17 July 1937) was a French composer, conductor, and organist. He succeeded César Franck as organist at Saint Clotilde Basilica in Paris from 1890 to 1898. As a conductor, he conducted the world premiere of Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird, at the Ballets Russes, Paris, on 25 June 1910. Pierné wrote several operas and choral and symphonic pieces, as well as a good deal of chamber music. His discovery and promotion of the work of Ernest Fanelli in 1912 led to a controversy over the origins of impressionist music.


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  2. Por favor: no deje de compartirnos tan bella música. Muchas gracias por esto y por los demás posts.

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