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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Guy Ropartz - Piano Trio; String Trio; Prélude, Marine & Chanson (Ensemble Stanislas)


Composer: Guy Ropartz
  1. Piano Trio in A minor: 1. Modérément animé
  2. Piano Trio in A minor: 2. Vif
  3. Piano Trio in A minor: 3. Lent
  4. Piano Trio in A minor: 4. Animé
  5. String Trio in A minor: 1. Allegro moderato
  6. String Trio in A minor: 2. Vivo
  7. String Trio in A minor: 3. Lento, molto espressivo
  8. String Trio in A minor: 4. Allegro molto
  9. Prélude, marine et chanson, for flute, harp & string trios: 1. Prélude: Ben moderato
  10. Prélude, marine et chanson, for flute, harp & string trios: 2. Marine: Adagietto
  11. Prélude, marine et chanson, for flute, harp & string trios: 3. Chansons: Allegro giocoso

Jean-Louis Haguenauer. piano (1-4)
Alexis Galpérine, violin (1-4)
Cécilia Tsan, cello (1-4)
Ensemble Stanislas (5-11)
Bertrand Menut, violin (5-8)
Annie Herpin, viola (5-8)
Pierre Fourcade, cello (5-8)
Sylvie Tournon, flute (9-11)
Béatrice Huvenne, harp (9-11)
Laurent Causse, violin (9-11)
Paul Fenton, viola (9-11)
Jean de Spengler, cello (9-11)

Date: 1995 (1-4; 9-11), 2006 (5-8)
Label: Timpani



Although he spent many years in Nancy, Ropartz was a Breton at heart. Brittany is often evoked in his music in one way or another. So, when World War I broke out, he found refuge in Brittany, where he composed his large-scale and quite substantial Piano Trio in A minor. The opening of the first movement evokes a beautiful seascape in all but the name, although – needless to say – the music is neither descriptive nor programmatic. The music nevertheless reflects on the hardships of the war years, and is rather troubled, anguished and often dramatic. Structurally, the Piano Trio is still strongly indebted to Franck, as were many of Ropartz’s early works. He, however, managed to lighten his at times dense textures by his recourse to some Breton folk music, either real or subtly alluded to. In this, Ropartz often came close to Joseph Jongen, whose music often has some rustic flavour. Neither was Ropartz totally indifferent to Impressionism, that also left its mark on the music. The first movement is fairly intricately worked-out. By contrast, the Scherzo is an energetic outdoor dance with a calmer, slower central Trio. The third movement is a beautifully expansive song without words leading straight into the fairly developed Finale opening with tolling bells on the piano launching another vigorous, folk-inflected main theme, actually related to the first main theme of the first movement. Ropartz’s Piano Trio, in much the same way as the First Violin Sonata dedicated to Ysaÿe, is a good example of the composer’s own personal approach to Franck’s cyclic construction.

As a number of other composers active during the inter-war years, Ropartz composed a work for the Quintette instrumental de Paris (flute, harp and string trio) founded by Pierre Jamet. Koechlin (Primavera Op.156 – 1934), Jean Cras (Quintette – 1928), Pierné (Variations libres et Final Op.51 – 1932), Roussel (Sérénade Op.30 – 1925) as well as Joseph Jongen (Concert à cinq Op.71 – 1923) and Daniel-Lesur (Suite Médiévale – 1945/6), whom Michel Fleury fails to mention in his otherwise informative and well-documented insert notes, are among the ones who composed for Jamet. Ropartz’s offering was his delightful Prélude, marine et chansons completed in 1928, and likely one of his most readily appealing works. The music is as beautifully crafted as ever, but displays the lighter, more playful side of Ropartz’s music. The music unpretentiously speaks for itself and the concluding Chansons again have a refreshing rustic flavour.

As well as similar works by Schmitt, Pierné and Roussel, Ropart’s String Trio in A minor was prompted by the celebrated Trio Pasquier. It is a somewhat less expansive work than the Piano Trio, although it, too, is a substantial work in four movements of roughly equal length. The Scherzo is just a tat shorter than the other three movements. However, when compared to the Piano Trio (also in A minor, but with quite different results), the String Trio is much more compact, rather more ascetic; and a work in which the composer kept his material strictly under control, while paring it down to the essential. I for one regard it as one of Ropartz’s finer achievements, and undoubtedly a major work that clearly deserves wider exposure and that generously repays repeated hearings.

The present recording of the Piano Trio and of Prélude, marine et chansons was made as far back as 1995, and is apparently only released now as part of the generous and brave enterprise on Timpani’s part to record a large selection of Ropartz’s output. The Quatuor Stanislas is now completing their recording of Ropartz’s string quartets, while Timpani is completing their recording of the symphonies. These performances are strongly committed and beautifully played throughout, whereas the recording is up to Timpani’s best and the production excellent with informative notes by Michel Fleury.

This most welcome addition to Ropartz’s expanding discography is yet another feather in the caps of Timpani and the Stanislas. Not to be missed.

-- Hubert Culot, MusicWeb International

More review:


Guy Ropartz (June 15, 1864 – November 22, 1955) was a French composer and conductor. His compositions included five symphonies, three violin sonatas, cello sonatas, six string quartets, a piano trio and string trio (both in A minor), stage works, a number of choral works and other music including a Prélude, Marine et Chansons for flute, harp and string trio, often alluding to his Breton heritage. He self-identified as a Celtic Breton. His musical style was influenced by Claude Debussy and César Franck. Ropartz was also a writer of literary works, notably poetry.


Named after Stanislas Leszczynski, King of Poland and the last Duke of Lorraine, who made Nancy his renowned capital, the Stanislas Quartet and Ensemble cover a vast musical repertoire honoring the great classics and offering the possibility to discover the lesser known treasures of the past, French and foreign, as well as the most fertile tendencies in the music of our time. The Stanislas Ensemble and Quartet has already recorded  over twenty  compact discs, warmly received by international critics.


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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Dear Ronald,

    thank you for so much good music :) :) :)

    Is there any chance to upload a scan of the booklet?
    It contains information about who plays in the various pieces
    (who plays in the Ensemble Stanislas (5-11));
    and when and where the recording were taken.

    best regards

    And for further uploads, if you like:
    the log file of the EAC ripping?
    and the cue-file, because it contains information about a pregap, if exist one?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thank you very much, for the scans :)
    And thank you for allowing me to ask.

    If you like, give your posts a little more scans than just the front cover: The back cover and the first sides of the booklet (sometimes the last sides) contains: Date and venue (and more infos) about the recording; and in some recordings include those pages, who plays by the artists in the respective track.

    The cue contains the information about whether available and how big a PREGAP is. For example, PREGAP 00:00:32. Without this information, a subsequent test on AccurateRip with eg CueTools is impossible. This info (whether available and how big) would be helpfull. Maybe you can copy and post them, before deleting the cues.

    Thanks again for your uploads :)

  4. Copy Adfly (adf.ly/XXXXXX) or LinkShrink (linkshrink.net/XXXXXX) to your browser's address bar, wait 5 seconds, then click on 'Skip [This] Ad' (or 'Continue') (yellow button, top right).
    If Adfly or LinkShrink ask you to download anything, IGNORE them, only download from file hosting site (mega.nz).
    If you encounter 'Bandwidth Limit Exceeded' problem, try to create a free account on MEGA.



  5. Muy agradecido... by the way, esta bueno el cambio de la ilustración inicial, me da una idea de como era el asunto en esos dias... transmite mucho

    1. I don't speak Spanish, but thanks to Google translate, I can understand what you mean. Thanks for visiting my blog.
      The cover image is "Zuschauerraum im Alten Burgtheater in Wien" (Auditorium in the Old Burg theater in Vienna), a 1888 painting by Gustav Klimt.

    2. Oh please, xcuse me for my mistake... i presume that by your name (ronald do sounds like "ronaldo") was from a spaniard or castillan origin... please forgive my foolinesh, my english is short but enough to express something :D again many thanks for the image header and of course, for the info

      your blessed blog (as many others like you) spread the music as a live fountain of culture, releasing everybody from the sufferings of the daily life, many many thanks for every post (i can download very few cause my internet is very slow, almost saying oh internet here is an euphemism...) so special ones like this with harp music included, so go ahead and again thanks :)

    3. Those are very kind words. I plan to learn Spanish in the near future, so please keep commenting. Thank you.