Author Topic: The French Music Exploration thread  (Read 13333 times)

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Offline Madiel

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #420 on: January 12, 2021, 03:10:27 PM »
Preemptive because I can see where Olivier has gone with his listening.

I’m listening to the first movement of Farrenc’s Piano Quintet No.1. A name previously completely unknown to me.

Sold. She will be going on the further listening pile without hesitation.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #421 on: January 12, 2021, 08:56:36 PM »
Day four, and the cycle of 12 pieces, Paysages et Marines, by Charles Koechlin, descriptive music, very changeable, and played clearly and poetically by Michael Korstick, well recorded. It’s really charming stuff.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #422 on: January 12, 2021, 09:04:46 PM »
Day 3, time for the big piano cycle by Antoine Mariotte, impressions urbaines.



These pieces are all quite substantial, and describe city life  - factories, suburbs, dancehalls, railway stations, urban wasteland. The musical style is weighty, at times motoric, chromatic harmonies throughout.

There’s a second cycle on this recording, Kakémonos. It’s much more contemplative than Impressions Urbaines, with oriental influences. The two together make me think that Mariotte is a real find - a fabulous writer for piano, totally unknown.
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Offline pjme

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #423 on: January 13, 2021, 12:31:11 AM »
I vaguely remember that a recording of Mariotte's opera "Salomé" was issued 10-15 years ago.
Good information here:
https://operawire.com/cd-review-antoine-mariottes-salome/

and from The gramophone:

"There has been a resurgence of interest in Antoine Mariotte of late thanks to the revival, in 2014, of his 1908 opera Salomé – the subject, in his lifetime, of a notorious legal battle between himself and Strauss’s publishers over the rights to Oscar Wilde’s play, on which it is similarly based. Stylistically straddling Impressionism and modernism, he’s an intriguing figure. Like Roussel, he divided his early career between music and the navy, studying with Widor while on leave, and sketching musical impressions of the Far East while sailing the South China Sea. In later life he taught composition in Lyon, and was director of the Opéra-Comique from 1936 to 1939.
Daniel Blumenthal’s imposing recital juxtaposes a handful of his songs with two big piano works from the 1920s. Impressions urbaines (1921) depicts the factories, dance halls and stations of a unnamed French city – possibly industrial Saint Etienne, where Mariotte was initially educated. Growling and percussive, it has been compared with Honegger’s Pacific 231 and Prokofiev’s Le pas d’acier, though its ethos is naturalist rather than machine-age – an evocation of the dehumanising cities of Zola or Verhaeren rather than a contructivist glorification of labour. Bleak, unresolved figurations echo Debussy’s ‘Des pas sur la neige’. A climactic funeral march, depicting crumbling tenements, recalls ‘Bydlo’ from Mussorgsky’s Pictures. Apart from the dancehall scherzo, where Mariotte lightens the textures, the writing is unremittingly heavyweight. Blumenthal powers his way through it with compelling force.

Kakémonos, dating from 1925 but reworking sketches made in Japan some 30 years earlier, brings out more finesse in his playing. Michel Fleury’s booklet-notes argue that Mariotte may have studied Japanese music while in the Far East: apart from an incongruous temple scene, over which the influence of Debussy’s ‘Pagodes’ looms large, this is not so much an Orientalist fantasy as a cool reproduction of Eastern melodic and harmonic structures. The mélodies are elegant, if slight: Sabine Revault d’Allonnes sings them with admirable poise but can be tentative in her upper registers. Fleury’s superb essay comes in French and English, though no translations are given for the sung texts."


https://youtu.be/kC5JJXcJVFw

Apparently, both these piano cycles have been orchestrated by Mariotte.
There are a few fragments of Salomé on YT. The scenery in Wexford I find really very ugly and cheap - cardboard sets and grotesque costumes made of old curtains.
The Munich production with Anna-Maria Thoma as Salomé isn't (imho) any better visually, inspite of a very bloody/skinned Jochanaan and set in an (equally cheap) set of steel stairs and leather sofas....Herodes picks up a gun and shoots Salomé - omitting "Tuez cette femme"....Sigh.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 02:23:13 AM by pjme »

Offline Papy Oli

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #424 on: January 13, 2021, 06:02:49 AM »
I have updated the two lists on page 1 with the addition of Mandryka's Mariotte and Karlo's Airs de cour composers for future reference visit.

As Madiel mentioned above, I have indeed moved away from Barraqué and stepped into Louise Farrenc's works, after seeing her name pop up in the Listening thread. Only 2 pages in her composer thread but just full of praise. I listened to Symphony No.1 yesterday. Very good and entertaining throughout but saying that, I am not actually sure this would be a work i would go back to. Also listened to a flute trio, again, pleasant but not something i would listen more to (my own limitation with the flute sound this time).

I am now finishing her Piano Quintet No.1 and it is simply superb. Now this sounds like something I will add to my collection sooner rather than later. Will explore the rest of her symphonies and chamber works in the coming days for sure. (Andrei (and others), if you read this and have not tried Farrenc's music before, go straight to this piano quintet No.1 !! ) 
Olivier

Offline Madiel

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #425 on: January 13, 2021, 06:14:32 AM »
So far I’ve listened to the 1st quintet, a clarinet trio, the nonet (which according to Wikipedia was a great success at the time), and now trying Symphony No.2.

I regret none of it!

I will at some point go back and do a more attentive listen, as parts of today have been a bit distracted. But it wasn’t remotely difficult decision to add Farrenc to the list of composers for further exploration.
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Offline Papy Oli

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #426 on: January 13, 2021, 06:44:51 AM »
i have just finished the 2nd Piano Quintet, very convincing and engaging again.

I know that is not the same format but musically, these two works are as good as anything I have heard in the Beaux-Arts Trio big box for instance. They wouldn't feel out of place at all in that box.
Olivier

Offline Florestan

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #427 on: January 13, 2021, 07:06:26 AM »
I have updated the two lists on page 1 with the addition of Mandryka's Mariotte and Karlo's Airs de cour composers for future reference visit.

As Madiel mentioned above, I have indeed moved away from Barraqué and stepped into Louise Farrenc's works, after seeing her name pop up in the Listening thread. Only 2 pages in her composer thread but just full of praise. I listened to Symphony No.1 yesterday. Very good and entertaining throughout but saying that, I am not actually sure this would be a work i would go back to. Also listened to a flute trio, again, pleasant but not something i would listen more to (my own limitation with the flute sound this time).

I am now finishing her Piano Quintet No.1 and it is simply superb. Now this sounds like something I will add to my collection sooner rather than later. Will explore the rest of her symphonies and chamber works in the coming days for sure. (Andrei (and others), if you read this and have not tried Farrenc's music before, go straight to this piano quintet No.1 !! )

Thanks for the tip, Olivier! I think I might have heard some Farrenc but can't remember what and when. Will report back.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #428 on: January 13, 2021, 09:51:55 PM »
Day Five of my week of French romantic piano music. Today it’s Gabriel Dupont’s cycle Les Heures Dolentes. What I can say is that the music is brooding and melancholic, and somehow that seems to really bring out the best in Emil Naoumoff.

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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #429 on: January 14, 2021, 01:20:23 PM »
I was recently blown away by this Timpani CD of two of Ibert’s ballets: Le chevalier errant and Les amours de Jupiter:



Unsurprisingly, this music is full of great tunes, rhythmic vitality, and is scintillatingly orchestrated. But there’s also a rather surprising amount of “meat” and depth to this music, especially in Le chevalier errant. Seriously impressive music, and not inferior to any of the great 20th century ballets in the slightest!

I do remember having heard these works some while ago, but I don't have vivid memories of them. An opportunity to revisit them.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #430 on: January 15, 2021, 04:01:43 AM »
Day six (I think) of the ruelles reculées.



This is just fabulous! Earl Wild can make anything entertaining, even Hahn. I’ve tried others, and they don’t come close.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2021, 04:05:03 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Papy Oli

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #431 on: January 15, 2021, 06:52:50 AM »
Closing the loop on Farrenc at the moment with her Symphony No.3.

Very positive overall but I think I will limit a future purchase to the CD's with the Piano Quintets and the Nonet/Clarinet Trio. Not that I disliked the rest but those 4 works made the strongest impression for an initial collection entry. A worthwhile exploration again.

Incidentally, the weekly Presto email today mentions Farrenc in one of their interviews:

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/articles/3722--interview-ironwood-on-louise-farrenc?utm_source=News-2021-01-15&utm_medium=email
Olivier

Offline Florestan

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #432 on: January 16, 2021, 08:00:59 AM »


(Hat tip to Olivier and Madiel!)

This is indeed music right up my alley! In turns passionate, tender, melancholy or merry, always romantic and unfailingly tuneful (albeit not memorably so). If need for comparisons be, Spohr and Onslow immediately come to mind. First-rate second-rate Romantic music which I'm going to explore further. Nice find, thank you both, gentlemen!  8)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Madiel

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #433 on: January 16, 2021, 11:24:18 AM »
Great. Now I need to investigate Spohr and Onslow.  :laugh:
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Offline Florestan

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #434 on: January 16, 2021, 11:25:32 AM »
Great. Now I need to investigate Spohr and Onslow.  :laugh:

Make sure you do --- it's a very rewarding trip!  8)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Papy Oli

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #435 on: January 19, 2021, 03:47:35 PM »


(Hat tip to Olivier and Madiel!)

This is indeed music right up my alley! In turns passionate, tender, melancholy or merry, always romantic and unfailingly tuneful (albeit not memorably so). If need for comparisons be, Spohr and Onslow immediately come to mind. First-rate second-rate Romantic music which I'm going to explore further. Nice find, thank you both, gentlemen!  8)

Belated answer, sorry Andrei ! Glad Farrenc hit the spot for you  :)
Olivier

Offline Papy Oli

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #436 on: January 19, 2021, 03:50:01 PM »
Great. Now I need to investigate Spohr and Onslow.  :laugh:

For what it's worth, the below albums did make the cut for further consideration when I initially looked at these two composers :

Onslow - Piano Trios Vol.1 (CPO)
Onslow - Piano Trios Vol.2 (CPO)
Onslow - Piano Trios Vol.3-4 (CPO)

Spohr - Double quartets No.1 & 2 (Naxos) or the full Hyperion set.
Spohr - string quintets No.3 & 4 (Marco Polo)
Spohr - piano quintet, Double Quartet, Octet, Nonet (Decca)

Olivier

Offline Papy Oli

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #437 on: January 19, 2021, 04:50:40 PM »
As I mentioned in the listening thread, I am now starting the chapters of Debussy, Ravel & Fauré. I'll conduct those in parallel and, more or less, by opus numbers as well to mix the works.

I did lots of sampling over the Christmas holiday and accumulated quite a few CD's that sounded really appealing for those composers.

 

 

   

And from my shelves:

   

     


And some bits here and there in boxsets by Argerich, Richter, Giulini, Bernstein, Beaux Arts Trios, Wand, du Pré, Herreweghe...

The rest will be filled by streaming on Idagio, including the Debussy Warner box and Ravel Decca box.
Olivier

Offline Madiel

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #438 on: January 19, 2021, 08:00:52 PM »
Enjoy the rabbit hole.

I’m still partway through my own Debussy chronology (though mostly works I already know to some degree).
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Offline Papy Oli

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Re: The French Music Exploration thread
« Reply #439 on: January 20, 2021, 09:12:49 AM »
With a lot of mixed tracks on several CD's, It was too much faffing about digging one mélodie at a time on Idagio and still go by opus/track order. I decided to stick to a whole CD and i'll cross its content off in my list. I started with one singer that was recommended some while back (forgot if it was here or in another thread/context).



Really enjoyed the opening works (op.8/1, op.46/2, op.23, op.58, Op.7/1).  Op.61 was more misses than hits. Starting Op.95 now. Op.95/1 is mesmerising.

A good breakthrough overall in that genre (also on some Debussy songs over the last couple of days - might have to try Dietschy's albums of his as well).

Are there any particular opus numbers I should focus on for the songs by Fauré & Debussy please ?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 09:32:05 AM by Papy Oli »
Olivier