Chopin’s music remains indissociable from an instrument that he always considered his mediator, from the Rondo Op. 1, written in Warsaw in 1825, up to the Mazurka Op. 68 no. 4 dashed off on paper in 1849 in Paris’s Place Vendôme, shortly before his death at the age of thirty-nine. All exegetes have tried to approach the mystery of music that, in the lovely phrase of Vladimir Jankélévitch, ‘expresses the inexpressible ad infinitum’[...] The clarity of line, the transparency of the most complex chords, and the combinations of timbres prepared the way for Debussy and Scriabin, and even Messiaen. It has been said that Liszt was thinking of the orchestra when writing for the piano; Chopin, on the other hand, thought only of the keyboard of which he perceived the full human depth to the point of making it his sole source of inspiration. ‘To speak about Chopin’s music would imply, in a way, playing it together – and little matter whether the keyboard be made of dreams or ivory.’ (André Boucourechliev).
Michel Le Naour
JEANNE-MARIE DARRÉPlays Camille Saint-Saëns
Like that of other pianists of her generation, the name of Jeanne-Marie Darré has largely been forgotten. It was doubtless sometimes mocked by a few malicious tongues in search of sarcasm who saw her as the quintessence of a ‘certain French piano school’, outdated and dying – the appearance of the Russian school having, amongst other factors, hastened its decline. Marguerite Long, who was one of Jeanne-Marie Darré’s two principal teachers, would be in the front line of these attacks. Her pianism and teaching were reviled on the grounds of a technique that some deemed too exclusively digital, responsible for corporal stiffness and ‘typewriter playing’, overly mechanical and ill-adapted for legato. However, although Jeanne-Marie Darré was nurtured at this ‘school’, she managed not only to transcend its ‘limits’, but even more will have made its final splendour glow with rare incandescence.
DE LA PAISIBLE NUITL’Albizzia Ensemble
Gabriel Fauré takes us from the 19th century into a new world where purity of the melodic line has the upper hand over the richness of the orchestration. From his first period, he demonstrated a very subtle sense of melody, pure, simple and quite largely influenced by Gregorian modality. [...] Contemporary of Fauré, Louis Vierne left his name in the History of Music as an organist at Notre-Dame de Paris. His Six Symphonies for organ, of vast proportions, are close to the 24 Pièces en style libre, meant for the harmonium or organ without pedal obligato. [...] André Caplet was gassed during the First World War. This unfortunate episode weakened his health. From this would come a very personal catalogue dominated by religious works. [...] An original, amusing character gifted in numerous spheres, Jehan Alain died heroically in 1940 at the age of 29, resisting alone the attack of a German platoon. He left behind music of rare originality, ever-changing and refreshing, abundant given his premature death. [...] Following the traumatising death of one of his composer friends, Francis Poulenc went on a pilgrimage to Rocamadour in 1936. Enchanted and moved by the site, he composed a piece for three-part women’s chorus and organ which is a moving prayer of humility, transparent with fervour.
COCHEREAURarities and Unpublished Recordings
Here we are not dealing with a simple repackaging of recordings previously released by Solstice even though a number of essential stages could not be missing from this chosen portrait. Above all, the music lover is invited to a complete reevaluation of the artist’s phonographic legacy: Pierre Cochereau, in all fidelity, henceforth escaping from the outsized but closed universe of his cathedral, without ceasing for an instant to be himself: the organist of Notre-Dame. Some 74% of the recordings are previously unreleased on disc and provide proof by music, repertoire and improvisation combined, that although Cochereau drew his manner and style most profoundly from Notre-Dame as much as from the continuity of a symphonist like Louis Vierne, his personality asserted itself elsewhere, in the unity of the musician and his own modernity.
EAUX-FORTESKirill Zvegintsov, piano
There exists an ‘imaginative universe à la française’, as attest the etchings of Jacques Callot, the undergrowth of Corot, and the distant landscapes of Watteau, concealing mysteries, uncertainties, and unavowed fears. The chimera is melancholy and dream, and it can also be terrifying. There is a strange violence in the trills of the great Couperin, dissimulated beneath the ribbons. Debussy comes cloaked in mystery. Jacques Lenot jealously maintains his secret garden, and Georges Hugon, whose destiny seems sleek and orderly, evokes the shade of Shakespeare to liberate his fantasies ‘à la Scarbo’.
Aside from his educational project around the music of Kurtág, the ‘Galaxie-Y’ Endowment Fund has set itself the mission of bringing back to life, thanks to this evolving collection, musical scores of France whether almost ‘ancient’ or sometimes recent and, in any case, all wildly inspired.
LIPATTI - THE LAST RECITALFrom the original master tape
The aim of the present release of Dinu Lipatti’s last recital at the Besançon Festival – about which we know the dramatic conditions in which it took place – is to give, for the first time, a version not only complete but going back to the best sources. And it is once again thanks to the I.N.A. (National Audiovisual Institute) that, by chance, we found the original tape from 1950, recorded with the means of the French Radio (R.T.F.). Solstice elected to release this recital as preserved on the original tapes – with the presence of hiss. This was an artistic choice stemming from a concern for authenticity. With all the customary reservations, we thus have grounds for considering the present version historic.