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Déodat de SEVERAC (1872 – 1921)
Cerdaña (1908/11)
En Languedoc (1903/4)
Jordi Masó (piano)
Recorded: Auditorium, Jafre, Spain, October 2001
NAXOS 8.555855 [67:58]

 

The ink of my earlier de Séverac review (Izumi Tateno – Apex 2564-60625-2) is hardly dry, when another release comes my way, with two major works, one of which was not included on the Apex disc. This is the marvellous cycle Cerdaña - one of the peaks of de Séverac’s output. Though rather bluntly subtitled Five picturesque studies for piano, this substantial work plays for a little over half an hour. It shares many common characteristics with the slightly earlier En Languedoc, although the piano writing is considerably more subtle and refined. This is particularly evident in the beautiful Les muletiers devant le Christ de Llivia (Llivia being the former capital city of the French-Spanish region known as Cerdagne or Cerdaña). The other movements, miniature tone poems in all but name, offer plenty of mood contrasts evoking country life, festivals and other many happy moments. The music, near-cousin to that of Debussy, also often calls Albéniz to mind, through some Spanish inflections, though these are never overdone or slavishly imitated.

En Languedoc also evokes the sunlight and the scents of Southern France in much the same way, with many colourful episodes as well as with a peacefully meditative section Coin de cimetière, au printemps.

De Séverac’s music is clear enough and speaks for itself, so as not to call for many comments. It is to be enjoyed for all it is worth; and, as I wrote in my earlier review, it is simply to good to be ignored.

Jordi Masó plays beautifully throughout, with much subtlety and tonal variety, and is superbly recorded. I hope that this is the first volume of a recording of de Séverac’s complete piano output. If so, the present release augurs well indeed, and is warmly recommended.

Hubert Culot



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