ANDRÉ CAPLET (1878-1925)
Quintet for piano and winds (1898)
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Le Tombeau de Couperin 17.06
Pavane pour une Infante Défunte 5.11
Ma Mère l'Oye 15.18
(all three Ravel pieces transcribed by David
Claire Désert (piano)
Quintette Moraguès rec Lausanne, 24-27 June 1999
LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC 2781116
Caplet is best known because of his association with Debussy. He orchestrated
Debussy's Children's Corner, Pagodes, Suite bergamasque
- Clair de lune and scored and conducted the premiere of Martyre de
Saint-Sébastien. He completed Gigues and Boîte
à Joujoux and made a piano arrangement of La Mer. He conducted
Pelléas at Covent Garden in 1912. Caplet died of lung disease
attributed to the severe gassing he suffered as a young recruit in the French
Imperial Army in 1914.
The quintette (here seemingly receiving its world premiere performance although
I cannot absolutely vouch for that) is quite unDebussyan in its vigorous
spirit lifted by both Tchaikovsky and Beethoven as well as lighter Gallic
influences. The second movement manages to be both reflective and sturdy.
The turn of Caplet's phrases might suggest that Ravel had heard the quintet
before writing his Pavane. Caplet is a composer of serious moment and fine
invention - not at all (on this evidence) impressionistic. The confident
lilt and swing of the finale is nostalgic and optimistic in tone with a
surprising reminiscence of Brahms Third Symphony (mind you he attended many
concerts conducted by Mottl and Nikisch while in Berlin and Dresden in 1901).
The Ravel pieces are most graciously arranged and tartly pointed with yearning
and affection by Désert and Quintette Moraguès. The Menuet
of Tombeau struck me as curiously reminscent of Holst's roughly contemporaneous
Saturn. The Rigaudon does not go with the infectious zip that I associate
with the best orchestral performances. These pieces are well known even if
unknown (on record) in these skilled and thoughtful versions. For all the
strengths of the Ravel pieces part of me rather laments that Le Chant du
Monde did not give us some more Caplet instead.
Notes are fine and recording is close without quite breathing down your neck.
The effect is very agreeable.