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Jacques IBERT
(1890 - 1962)
Piano Music
Scherzetto 2'47"
Pièce romantique 5'53"
Tocatta sur le nom d'Albert Roussel 0'58"
L'espiègle au village de Lilliput 0'55"
Française: 'Guitarre 'pour le piano 2'34"
Le vent dans les ruines 2'53"
Petite Suite 16'19"
Histoires 21'43"
Les recontres 16'10"

Hae-won Chang (piano)
Recorded Heidelberg, Germany. 29 / 30 Sept 1991 DDD
Naxos 8.554720 [70'47"]
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Jacques Ibert is one of those musicians who has an image as a lightweight, a less than serious composer and who has not made much of a mark on the musical mainstream. He wrote elegantly, with style and wit but varied output - for films, stage (including two operas), and concert platform left nothing of any great depth. Divertissement is possibly his best known work - that's the one with police whistles in the rumbustious Finale. Somehow or other it always leaves me with a mental image of the composer as a typical Frenchman with a droopy black moustache and a Gauloise hanging from the side of the mouth.

This Naxos collection does little to change our perception of the composer's work. All but six pieces are grouped into three main sections Petite Suite, Histoires and Les Recontres (Encounters) and with no less than thirty-six tracks in a 70 minute time scale clearly there is little in the way of in depth exploration of an individual subject.

These little vignettes - all titled - some representing individuals, some moods and emotions are a varied selection. In Petite Suite en quinze images (Little Suite in fifteen pictures) of 1943, the range includes an open-textured pleasant Prélude, a short (49") Bach-like fugue representing a wine grower, a Schumannesque Romance, a wistful L'Adieu and the tiniest (a mere 34 seconds-worth) of a Cabman's Dance slightly reminiscent of Mock Morris . The ten pieces in Histoires from 1922, include a braying donkey in Le petit âne blanc, a portrayal of A giddy girl with an attractively uneven rhythm and a clearly Spanish influenced Bajo la Mesa. The closing section - 5 pieces under the grouping of Les recontres, petite suite en forme d ballet were the basis for a Nijinski ballet of the 1920's and have of Flower Girls, Creoles , Precious Girls, Shepherdesses and Chatterboxes in its gallery of images.

The playing by the Korean Hae-won Chang is assured and nicely shaded throughout and the recording is perfectly satisfactory.


Harry Downey


Harry Downey

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