GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: XB-70 Valkyrie on January 26, 2019, 07:39:47 PM

Title: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie 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.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: TheGSMoeller on January 26, 2019, 09:11:50 PM
Poulenc's piano music is a favorite of mine.



Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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. 
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie 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.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: San Antone 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

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/497/MI0003497417.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Gabriel Pierne

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/004/MI0001004650.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Guy Ropartz

(https://d2duss065tgxcq.cloudfront.net/toccata/wp-content/uploads/20151014204607/TOCC0326Cover.jpg)

Florent Schmitt

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/131/MI0001131505.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Cesar Franck

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/977/MI0000977389.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Louis Vierne

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71kU0rTCHHL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: ritter 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):

Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Irons 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.

(http://www.cnk.dk/C%20069-16423.jpg)
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Draško 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
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: vandermolen on January 27, 2019, 04:18:51 AM
Persian Hours:


I like the pianists name as well!
Title: Faure's Nocturnes
Post by: Ras 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:





Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Todd 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. 
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Jo498 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).
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Mandryka 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.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61Izi6FtpaL._SS500.jpg)

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

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71G8S7OC-4L._SS500_.jpg)

(http://www.nicolashodges.com/_Media/neos_10912_aperghis_med.jpeg)

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/810NyMwbzhL._SS500_.jpg)

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41ZcRpmXZFL._SS500_.jpg)




Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Florestan on January 27, 2019, 11:46:56 AM
Some very fine suggestions above which I second enthusiastically.

Here are mine:

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/106/MI0001106849.jpg?partner=allrovi.com) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Rqr%2BHNSoL._SX355_.jpg) (https://img.cdandlp.com/2013/02/imgL/115852695.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71JmFfj%2BPDL._SY355_.jpg)

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).



Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Florestan 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
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: ritter 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.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Florestan 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)
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Jo498 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.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: André 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.

Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Florestan on January 27, 2019, 01:49:48 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.

Mompou, brother, don't forget Mompou!
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Madiel on January 27, 2019, 07:19:11 PM
Faure.  Faure is heaven.

And this set is good.



Best pieces of Faure's are arguably the middle-period works like the 6th and 7th Nocturnes, and the 5th Barcarolle.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: amw on January 27, 2019, 07:54:35 PM
Some other recordings not yet mentioned:

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/23/40/0822252224023_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/24/33/0822252213324_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/95/18/0888831581895_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/23/75/0752156017523_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/42/91/0002894539142_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/qb/zn/m0jfitfgfznqb_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/tc/kr/qs1nk0heokrtc_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/pc/6k/c2o05z80d6kpc_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/pa/m5/pr0lvc9uim5pa_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/47/86/0825646998647_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/22/88/0747313298822_600.jpg)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/0b/9p/emkvmbyam9p0b_600.jpg)
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Mandryka on January 27, 2019, 11:05:59 PM
The truth is that I don’t much care for French music which isn’t modernist, in the tradition of Messiaen etudes — Barraque —- Boulez. But when I think of contemporary French piano music it’s all very superficial IMO, what a friend of mine used to call coffee table music, just colourful sounds, delightful to just let wash over you for a short time, but no deep inner life.

Anyway, here are some delightful but totally superficial French piano music CDs, Third pressing Debussy, not that I want to cast aspersions on the people who rate this stuff.

(https://d24jnm9llkb1ub.cloudfront.net/icpn/3700750918255/3700750918255-cover-zoom.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91rtmyWlDDS._SY355_.jpg) (maybe a cut above the rest, maybe not.)

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/238/MI0003238316.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41VpJA8ng0L._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Mandryka on January 28, 2019, 01:56:59 AM
(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/0b/9p/emkvmbyam9p0b_600.jpg)

Good find! New to me.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: amw on January 28, 2019, 02:59:45 AM
Tristan Murail's Territoires de l'oubli is an unalloyed masterpiece (there may be other recordings that are better though, I don't know). I don't particularly rate the rest of his output but it's good listening imo.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: ritter on January 28, 2019, 03:12:50 AM
Tristan Murail's Territoires de l'oubli is an unalloyed masterpiece (there may be other recordings that are better though, I don't know). I don't particularly rate the rest of his output but it's good listening imo.
Agreed. I was lucky enough to hear the piece I concert some 4 years ago, played by its dedicatee, none other than composer-pianist Michaël Lévinas. It made a great impression (well, the whole program was superb: LvB’s sonatas op. 27 no. 2 and op. 111 in the first part, and Lévinas’s own Three Études followed by Territoires de l’oubli in the second).
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: North Star on January 28, 2019, 03:32:18 AM
Agreed. I was lucky enough to hear the piece I concert some 4 years ago, played by its dedicatee, none other than composer-pianist Michaël Lévinas. It made a great impression (well, the whole program was superb: LvB’s sonatas op. 27 no. 2 and op. 111 in the first part, and Lévinas’s own Three Études followed by Territoires de l’oubli in the second).
Now that sounds like a great recital. Good day, Rafael!
My impression of Murail's piano music aligns with that of you and amw.

I would be wary of thinking that music with colourful sounds is more superficial than music with colourless sounds (ok that's not really a thing, but less colourful sounds). But I should probably explore some of the things mentioned in this thread that I don't know already. Maybe that will change my mind.  :laugh:
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: ritter on January 28, 2019, 04:12:14 AM
Good day to you as well, Karlo!
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: amw on January 28, 2019, 05:41:26 AM
I'm always disappointed Michaël Lévinas hasn't recorded more—and that what he has recorded is mostly standard rep (Beethoven piano sonatas, Schumann, Schubert, Scriabin, Debussy, the WTC, etc—plus some of his own music and Ligeti). Setting down some of his modern repertoire in the 1990s-2000s would have been great, especially since he's now approaching the age of pianistic diminishing returns.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: ritter on January 28, 2019, 05:45:22 AM
I'm always disappointed Michaël Lévinas hasn't recorded more—and that what he has recorded is mostly standard rep (Beethoven piano sonatas, Schumann, Schubert, Scriabin, Debussy, the WTC, etc—plus some of his own music and Ligeti). Setting down some of his modern repertoire in the 1990s-2000s would have been great, especially since he's now approaching the age of pianistic diminishing returns.
Yes, it is a real pity he hasn’t recorded more, because what we do have by him is usually of very high quality. And he’s a very friendly person (I had the chance to chat with him at length after that concert).
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: aukhawk on January 28, 2019, 08:47:46 AM
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.

If you have difficulty with Messiaen I recommend approaching via his Preludes with are early pieces and quite Debussy-esque.  Angela Hewitt, maybe.

(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571170541.png)

Then, some of his Oiseaux are easier listening than others - I especially like L'Alouette Lulu (Wood Lark) and Le Courlis Cendre (Curlew) and think Momo Kodama plays this music beautifully, among many others of course.

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/61ICmar-oyL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 19, 2020, 07:49:16 PM
This morning, I left the post below in the listening thread and received no responses - so found this short discussion of 'French Piano Music' other than the usual suspects - any comments concerning my questions would be appreciated.  Thanks - Dave :)

Quote
Chabrier, Emmanuel (1841-1894) - Orchestral & Piano Music - currently own the first 3 discs below, and listening to the 1965 recordings on Vox by Rena Kyriakou (1917-1994) on Spotify.  The orchestral works are from the late 1950s, but are remastered 'Mercury Living Presence' recordings (also now available on SACD) - the sound is just fabulous (believe this replaced a Gardiner CD that I had in the past) - a keeper for me unless some strong recommendations emerge?

The solo/duet piano works are special w/ Chabrier's idiom - auditioned selections from both Hewitt & Stott this morning (mainly 'Pieces pittoresques') and still liked both w/ Stott being a bit more robust, however, these have received some 'mixed' reviews - see attached PDF, if interested.  BUT, this afternoon now listening (on headphones) to the 55 year old recordings of Kyriakou and believe that I like these the most; Vox has done an excellent remastering, i.e. I hear no hiss and the dynamics are fine - maybe a replacement for me?  Dave :)

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/715Ul1XyG4L._SS500_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/5139lsh6VoL.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41I4ucq9DpL.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81aK6Pfy-dL._SL1200_.jpg)
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: mjmosca on February 17, 2020, 04:26:22 AM
I am a big fan of Saint-Saens, and his solo piano music is vast- and full of gems, from early to late in his long career. I have found that an appreciation of Saint-Saens is a foundation for understanding the great fecundity of French music [piano and otherwise] in the late 19th and the Twentieth century. Indeed, Ravel could be considered the musical "grandson" of Saint-Saens. There is a wonderful complete set with Marylene Dosse [from the 1970's] that I continue to enjoy since it first was issued. Also, Chabrier is another composer that I would suggest is worth repeated listening. thank you.
Title: Re: French piano music not Ravel or Debussy
Post by: Mandryka on February 17, 2020, 02:30:42 PM
Tristan Murail's Territoires de l'oubli is an unalloyed masterpiece  (there may be other recordings that are better [than Nonken] though, I don't know)

There is indeed a good one, played by Dominique My, quite astonishing the colours, hard to believe she's playing a regular piano in fact. An eye opener for me, and I can see why you're so enthisuastic about the music now, I'm going to have to explore more by this pianist, the Murail is here

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41YftC4PrxL._AC_.jpg)