Author Topic: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy  (Read 2888 times)

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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« on: January 26, 2019, 07:39:47 PM »
I love Debussy's and Ravel's piano music a great deal and have many recordings. I have also played the Debussy first Arabesque (don't like the second one!!), Jimbo, and Dancers of Delphi. We have enough discussion threads on their piano music.

I am interested in exploring the other French composers' piano music--Fauré, Franck, Chabrier, etc. What are your favorites? I know very little of this music.
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2019, 09:11:50 PM »
Poulenc's piano music is a favorite of mine.




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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2019, 09:45:27 PM »
Faure, Poulenc, Satie, Alkan, Messiaen are probably the most prominent examples French music for solo piano. I would put Faure at the same level of quality as Debussy and Ravel. 

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2019, 09:45:48 PM »
Great ideas there, thanks. I had no idea about the Piaf! This also reminds me of my Aldo Ciccolini set of the complete Erik Satie--a very nice addition to any collection. I do also have the Messiaen Vingt Regards played by Michel Beroff, although I have not progressed past the first six or eight--need to revisit that one.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 09:48:16 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline San Antone

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2019, 02:07:01 AM »
Most French composers wrote solo piano music; here's some that I like beyond the big five (Debussy, Faure, Ravel, Satie, Poulenc)

Reynaldo Hahn wrote a large number of works for piano



Gabriel Pierne



Guy Ropartz



Florent Schmitt



Cesar Franck



Louis Vierne

« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 02:09:13 AM by San Antone »

Offline ritter

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2019, 02:42:22 AM »
If you like Ravel and Debussy, then you definitely have to check out Florent Schmitt’s piano music. There’s plenty of it (of variable quality, I venture to say), but his monumental triptych  Ombres has IMHO a stature close to the two “impressionist” composers’ best works. This CD is a good starting point:



Ombres is a stunner, but so is the piano reduction of Schmitt’s best known composition, the ballet La tragédie de Salomé.

Schmitt later proceded to turn J’entends dans le lointain (the first movement of Ombres) into a concertante piece, which if you like the solo piano original, makes for a good complement. The same pianist of the CD above, the talented Vincent Larderet, recorded it as well (along with both Ravel concertos):



And then, of course, there’s Paul Dukas. His Piano Sonata is arguably less French (in form, at least, it’s more “Germanic” than anything by Debussy or Ravel wrote), but it’s certainly worth checking out (as are the shorter pieces on this CD):

« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 02:49:38 AM by ritter »
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Offline Irons

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2019, 03:58:20 AM »
I listened to Saint-Saens Etudes recently and enjoyed them. You can also have fun spotting composers from the cover painting on the LP.

You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Draško

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2019, 04:17:46 AM »
Gabriel Dupont's two suites are definitely worth hearing.

La Maison dans les dunes (1910)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_C8Px49HDf8

Les heures dolentes (1905)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeQG1krY8UI

Offline vandermolen

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2019, 04:18:51 AM »
Persian Hours:


I like the pianists name as well!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 04:20:35 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Ras

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Faure's Nocturnes
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2019, 05:20:06 AM »
I like Faure's Nocturnes - I have Collard's Emi recordings in a box from Brilliant Classics.
It seems to be same recordings which are now on the Erato label in a bigger Faure box.

Collard on Brilliant:



Collard and many others on Erato:





"Music is life and, like it, inextinguishable." - Carl Nielsen

Offline Todd

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2019, 07:33:30 AM »
Faure is one of the greatest French composers.  The Collard set is nice for the complete works.  Thyssens-Valentin is better yet, if not truly complete.  Eric Heidsieck's recording of the Nocturnes is one of the greatest recordings of any French keyboard music.  Michael Endres' recording of the Barcarolles is not quite to the same standard, but it's tantalizingly close.

Messiaen can be tougher going.  His magnum opus is the Vingt Regards, which is the best place to start with his music.  Jean Rodolphe Kars (especially) and Eugeniusz Knapik offer the most compelling takes on the work.  Other more than notable recordings are available from Peter Serkin, Michel Beroff, Steven Osborne, and Yvonne Loriod.

I'm not generally a fan of Cesar Franck, but the right pianist can make it work.  Bertrand Chamayou is one of the great pianists of the day, and his Franck is the best I've heard.  Michel Block, in his unique and inimitable way, is as compelling but obviously heavily personalized.

Emmanuel Chabrier's works are quite underappreciated.  Rena Kyriakou recorded the whole set, but the sonics are not so hot and her style doesn't seem as good a fit as Emmanuel Strosser or Naida Cole in recordings of selected pieces.  The Strosser disc is really very fine.

Deodat de Severac is a somewhat obscure composer.  Cerdanya is probably his most famous piano work, and it is well worth a listen.  (Well, it's his most famous piece if you don't include his completion of Albeniz's Navarra.)

Gustave Samazeuilh is another obscure composer and critic who wrote heavily derivative pieces, but they are expertly crafted and well worth consideration.

I'm not a fan of Saint-Saens, but Bertrand Chamayou shows what can be done with some solo works.

If you like earlier keyboard works transcribed for piano, I'd definitely throw Rameau in the mix. 
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Offline Jo498

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2019, 08:58:04 AM »
If you like classical sonatas with some early romantic hints, try Hyacinthe Jadin. His music does not quite sound all that particularly French to me, though. There are two? discs with Patrick Cohen on Fortepiano, another with Pennetier and even a complete recording by Richard Fuller (I have not heard the latter).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Mandryka

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2019, 09:48:47 AM »
I love Debussy's and Ravel's piano music a great deal and have many recordings. I have also played the Debussy first Arabesque (don't like the second one!!), Jimbo, and Dancers of Delphi. We have enough discussion threads on their piano music.

I am interested in exploring the other French composers' piano music--Fauré, Franck, Chabrier, etc. What are your favorites? I know very little of this music.



Spme of my favourites aren't French, they're Greek, but don't let that get in the way












« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 11:14:17 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Florestan

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2019, 11:46:56 AM »
Some very fine suggestions above which I second enthusiastically.

Here are mine:



Cecile Chaminade wrote a lot of charming piano music. Eric Parkin did a very nice selection while Peter Jacobs recorded the complete stuff (3 CDs).



"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

Offline Florestan

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2019, 11:49:27 AM »
Spme of my favourites aren't French, they're Greek, but don't let that get in the way

That's so typically GMG-ish: please recommend me some French music; why, sure, here is some Greek one!   ;D
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

Offline ritter

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2019, 11:57:39 AM »
That's so typically GMG-ish: please recommend me some French music; why, sure, here is some Greek one!   ;D
I suggest XB-70 valkyrie listen to Bruckner’s Eighth. It’s not a French, it’s not for piano, but it’s great music.  :D

More seriously, France has always had the uncanny ability to “appropriate” foreign composers who lived and worked in Paris into its own “national heritage”. Thus, Albéniz’s Iberia, or much of the piano music of George Enescu (or Georges Enesco, as the French will have it) could fit valkyrie’s bill. In both cases, they are glories of the national music of their respective home countries, but there’s also something unmistakably Gallic to these work’s as well. And let’s not forget that Xenakis (one of Mandryka’s suggestions) made his career in la douce France.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 12:16:35 PM by ritter »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2019, 12:16:06 PM »
That's so typically GMG-ish: please recommend me some French music; why, sure, here is some Greek one!   ;D

They're as French as the mayor of Paris.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Florestan

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2019, 12:24:30 PM »
They're as French as the mayor of Paris.

Fine, then I suggest Franz Liszt, Henri Herz and Sigismond Thalberg. And everlasting shame on us all for forgetting Frederic Chopin. (the second sentence is actually dead serious)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

Offline Jo498

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2019, 12:35:41 PM »
o.k., so I'll recommend Albeniz, Granados, Turina and the other Spanish piano music that is historically and stylistically not that far from some of Debussy's and Ravel's.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Online André

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Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2019, 01:00:01 PM »
If you like classical sonatas with some early romantic hints, try Hyacinthe Jadin. His music does not quite sound all that particularly French to me, though. There are two? discs with Patrick Cohen on Fortepiano, another with Pennetier and even a complete recording by Richard Fuller (I have not heard the latter).

+ 1 for Hyacinthe Jadin.

Also: Alkan, Koechlin, Gouvy.

Tournemire’s set of Préludes-poèmes is a most interesting exploration of one of France’s best composers, known for his gigantic organ output and numerous symphonies. There’s a few versions out there. I know Girod’s and Boucher’s, but Georges Delvallée has also recorded them. This is wonderful music.