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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



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Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Six Epigraphs Antiques [15:27]
Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937)

Trio op. 40 for flute, viola and cello (1929) [15:06]
Two Poems by Ronsard op. 26 for soprano and flute [7:58]
Elpénor op. 59 for flute and string quartet (1947) [8:31]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

Fêtes Galantes - book II (arranged for soprano and flute quartet) (1904) [8:07]
Quatuor Dejean (Bernard Chapron (flute); Annie Cormery (violin); Françoise Renard (viola); David Harlé (cello)); Mireille Patrois (soprano); Philippe Puvereau (violin)
rec. April 1999, St. Pierre Lutheran Church, Paris. DDD
QUANTUM DQM 7008/SM 55 [55:30]
Experience Classicsonline


Debussyís Bilitis Songs were originally for the stage, to accompany a recitation of the text. The original scoring included two flutes, and the work was composed in 1897-8. Debussy later re-scored the melodic material to create the Six Epigraphes Antiques for two pianos. This arrangement returns the melody lines to the flutes, and includes very sensitive scoring for the strings. The arrangement is entirely natural and works extremely well. The playing here is similarly excellent; Chapronís flute playing is sensitive, beautifully controlled and uses a vast array of tone colours. He has a natural instinct for the shaping of the phrases and is clearly passionate about the music. He is accompanied by three highly accomplished string players, who create atmosphere where required, bringing solo lines out of the texture and then returning to an accompanying role. The sense of ensemble is always excellent and the quality is consistently high.

Rousselís Trio begins with a spirited Allegro Grazioso, which is more lighthearted in style than the Debussy but retains a harmonic complexity which is evidently heavily influenced by Rousselís deep admiration for the older composer. Commissioned by Elisabeth Sprague-Coolidge, the work is densely textured and, heard here alongside Debussy, it is clear that Roussel was also an enormously talented composer. The central slow movement gives space for expression, which the performers achieve with ease. The final movement is a quirky rondo, full of characterful motivic ideas. This is a charming piece which has much to offer.

The Deux Poèmes de Ronsard were composed in 1924 to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Ronsardís birth. This duo for flute and soprano combines two individual solo lines to create a whole; the lines take on equal importance, and balance each other well. The performance here possesses an enticing fluidity and flexibility, and is beautifully expressive. Chapronís flute playing is truly captivating, and combines well with Patroisís versatile voice. Elpénor is a short theatrical piece (Ďradiophonic poemí), which tells the story of Ulysses on the island of Aea. Conceived for the radio, it was broadcast in 1947, using previously composed works by Roussel, on account of his illness at the time the work was initially put together. It is a beautiful piece, which, like many of Rousselís compositions, is relatively short.

The last work on this disc is Chapronís arrangement of the second book of Debussyís Fêtes Galantes for soprano and flute quartet. Another impressive production, the music suits the forces well, and Patroisís wonderful voice gives a richly luxurious performance.

Carla Rees



 


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