This is intensely romantic
music. The Quintet is saturated with
yearning melodic content in which a
dramatic melos and an impressionistic
texture warmly vie with each other.
You need to think in terms of the Ravel
String Quartet, the Bax Piano Quintet,
the chamber works of Max d’Ollonne and
the Howell's Piano Quartet. If you already
love one or more of these works then
go straight out and acquire this now.
You will not be disappointed. The music
is soaked with the dazzle of the Breton
sun, the mystery of the Celtic stone
circles and the green rumble and crash
of the sea. In the finale there is a
tougher presence, thuddingly close in
its visceral punch, to Bartók
but then resolving into a bustling tumult
of sunny ecstasy. Outstanding. Glorious!
From the same year
comes the Violin Sonata. It is dedicated
to the composer’s parents. Remember
that at the age of twelve he had been
orphaned. Music and solitude along the
strand, among the Breton dunes and sandy
heathland were his consolation - his
life. The Sonata links with Rootham's
Violin Sonata, the Delius sonatas especially
the Cello Sonata, the Howells sonatas
- or at least the first two, the Ireland
Second Sonata and Dunhill’s Second.
The themes have a soaked exalted mien,
a long-breathed line and a Celtic curve.
Listen to the piano dappled ostinato
at 2.12 in the lento as the violin
sings out its heart above the lapping
waves. The determined chatter of the
vif links with various folk-based
works such as the Violin Concertos by
Janis Ivanovs and E. J. Moeran. Delius
is also a presence. Only the final few
pages seem diminutive in spirit beside
so much that is great-hearted.
himself at the Brest Naval Academy he
went on to the Sorbonne and then at
Conservatoire studied with Widor (1899).
The present two works come from a specific
stage in his development and his later
symphonies from 1956, 1970 and 1975
proclaim new directions.
This disc is dedicated
to Michel Fleury who has done so much
to promote the disregarded generation
of French composers and whose wide frame
of cultural reference has made provocative
and fruitful links between literature
and the music of the non-Gallic nations.
He has pointed up notable connections
with Bax, Holbrooke, Marx and others.
Michel writes with the authority and
flair of the late Christopher Palmer
and his notes grace this release.
The surging romance
of this music will attract those already
won around to the music of Ropartz,
Howells, Cras, Lazzari, Bax and d’Ollonne.
Would that Timpani would next record
Ropartz's Fourth and Fifth Symphonies
and Le Flem's two major Breton tone
poems Les Voix du Large (1911)
and Pour les Morts (1913).
Another winner for
Timpani. Outstanding. Glorious!