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Piano Works By Poulenc & Francaix

Piano Works By Poulenc & Francaix

(Duplicated CD)
  • By Jae Won Kim
  • Release 24/10/2013
  • Music Genre New Age
  • Media Format CD
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Price: $27.30

Product Notes

The piano music of Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) and Jean Françaix (1912-1997) has received relatively little attention, particularly compared to those by Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. Although Poulenc and Françaix were not as innovative as Ravel and Debussy, their works are equally effective and are similarly well-crafted. Study of their music uncovers numerous similarities. Firstly, the piano works of Poulenc and Françaix are idiomatic and virtuosic, due to the fact that they were both excellent pianists. Their works are also representative of the post-World War I trends in France, meaning that they are accessible, often humorous, and meant to be entertaining. Their simple structural designs and jazz influences could suggest that their music lacks seriousness, but it would be hard to argue against the idea that the music reflects each composer's unique personality. Biographically, there is also some overlap between Poulenc and Françaix. Both frequented the events hosted by the Princesse de Polignac, one of the foremost musical patrons in Paris during the first half of the 20th-century, and the Princesse commissioned several of their works during the 1930s. Françaix occassionally performed with Poulenc in Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos and orchestrated Poulenc's L'histoire de Babar, at Poulenc's request. The two Poulenc works on this disc demonstrate his strongest characteristics as a composer. They are filled with charm, sentimental melodies, and a wide range of emotions. The first work, Les Soirées de Nazelles, is perhaps Poulenc's most important work for solo piano. Depicting long evenings at the Château de Nazelles, a 16th-century castle in France's Loire Valley, Poulenc's work consists of a prelude, a set of eight variations, a cadenza, and a final movement that meanders and recollects before two rousing tonic chords. The second work by Poulenc on this disc is Napoli, a three-movement suite inspired by a tour to Naples. Although begun in 1922, Poulenc did not complete the work until 1925, during a visit to the Château de Nazelles. The final movement, Capricio italien, is a dance in the style of Chabrier's Bourrée Fantasque. Emmanuel Chabrier was a significant influence on Françaix as well. In describing the goal of his Wind Quintet (1948), Françaix said that he wished to do something that can be called 'Français,' with both the S and an X, that is, to be jolly most of the time - even comical...To avoid the premeditated wrong note and boredom like the plague. In sum, Emmanuel Chabrier is my good master. The first work of Françaix's on this disc reveals this wit. Cinq 'Bis' was inspired by 18th-century French writer Nicolas de Chamfort's quotation, "[w]hen on the stage, if you are not a little of a charlatan, the crowd will stone you." Françaix creates five encores for various concert scenarios; they range from a ballad in triple meter ("pour le dames sentimentales") to a lively rumba ("en cas de triomphe") to a finger-busting perpetual motion ("en cas de délire"). Both the Cinq 'Bis' and the Éloge de la Danse exhibit significant aspects of his musical language, such as his preference for ABA form in short works and his extensive use of chromaticism. While not as comical as the 'Bis,' the Éloge de la Danse is perhaps more inventive. It is a six-movement suite that Françaix wrote following the death of the French symbolist Paul Valéry in 1945. Excerpts from Valéry's poems accompany each movement, and each excerpt describes a single woman. ...At first she appears, with her spirited steps, to wipe from the earth all weariness, and all inanity... ...She was love...she was amusement and weeping, useless pretenses...the yeses, nos, and steps sadly lost... She traces roses, interlacing, stars of movement, and of miraculous pregnancy...She cuts a bloom that is at once a smile... She made her entire body so slender, so closely tied to an agile hand...Only my hand can imitate this ownership and this ease of her entire body... She lauds all the mysteries of absence...she seemed at times to touch upon ineffable catastrophes... Here is the winged choir of illustrious dancers! It's a grove of beautiful limbs rustled by the breeze of Music! Françaix's music in this work is programmatic and symbolic.

Details

Artist: Jae Won Kim
Title: Piano Works By Poulenc & Francaix
Genre: New Age
Attributes: Duplicated CD
Release Date: 24/10/2013
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 888295002233

Credits