Émile SAURET (1852–1920)
Music for Violin and Piano
Scènes villageoises, Op. 50 (Le matin; Pastorale; Vieille chanson;
Danse) (1895) [14:46]
Souvenir de Los Angeles, Op. 11 (1875?) [8:31]
Souvenirs d’Orient, Op. 63 (Souvenir de Constantinople; Danse; Ronde;
La Revue; Gondoliera; A Péra) [26:10]
Farfalla, Op. 40, No. 3 [7:10]
Scherzo fantastique op. 9 (1880?) [11:02]
Michi Wiancko (violin); Dina Vainshtein (piano)
rec. Glenn Gould Studio, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Toronto, Canada,
1-2 June 2009.
NAXOS 8.572366 [67:30]
Five works for violin and piano by French composer Emile Sauret who studied
with grand tradition violinists Henri Vieuxtemps and Charles de Bériot. As
we learn from Caroline Waight’s indispensable liner-notes, Sauret was part
of the musical aristocracy of his age. Liszt performed sonatas with him. In
1873 he married the Venezuelan pianist and composer, Teresa Carreño (1853-1917)
but their marriage foundered after a couple of years. His American debut came
in 1872 – but he returned there many times – witness his Souvenir de Los
Angeles. In 1890 he was appointed a professor of violin at the Royal Academy
of Music in London. There he numbered among his pupils Tor Aulin, William
Henry Reed and John Waterhouse. He lived in London during his waning years,
dying there on 12 February 1920.
Sauret wrote more than one hundred violin pieces including a cadenza for the
first movement of Paganini's First Violin Concerto. A globe-trotting child
prodigy he had his own musical ideas even if they are not devastatingly original
- originality has been over-praised anyway. For Sauret melody and sentimentality
were the watchwords and there were no blushes about the combination. His four
movement Scènes Villageoises is ripe, lissom and glowingly sentimental.
A folksy element - at least as percolated through Brahms - only surfaces in
the Danse last movement. The Souvenir de Los Angeles is staunchly
European – not a trace of anything specifically American – indeed it might
be by some hybrid of Paganini and Saint-Saens. Souvenirs d’Orient is
gracious and brilliant, proud yet not specially ethnic. Nothing like the Lalo
Symphonie Espagnole or Saint-Saens Havanaise when to comes to
local colour. Farfalla (Butterfly) is another faintly Tchaikovskian
turbo-charged fairy-flight. It would serve well alongside traditional display
pieces by Dinicu, Bazzini or Monti. Much the same can be said of the slightly
more extended Scherzo fantastique. While hardly profound statements
neither are these vapid effusions.
The music is powerfully recorded with a big upfront sound. Wiancko's violin
is grainy and in your face with a nice slippery texture. Both musicians are
admirable and indeed impressive interpreters.
While hardly profound statements neither are these vapid effusions.