Camille PLEYEL (1788-1855) Le Matelot - Caprice on a Favourite Romance in G, op.38 (1824)
[8:29] Un Troubadour Béarnais, with Variations, Introduction and
Finale in G minor, op.1 (1816) [10:15] Nocturne à la Field in B flat, op.52 (1828) [4:23] Potpourri no.2 in G of Arias from Rossini's Operas [9:50]
Introduction and Rondeau in C minor, op.2 (1817) [6:33] Mélange on Motifs from "Maçon" (Auber), in E flat,
op.46 (1825) [7:47] Theme on Polish Airs with New Variations in A minor, op.3
Masha Dimitrieva (piano)
rec. Pleyel Museum, Rupperthal, Austria, 25 June, 1 October 2010.
GRAMOLA 98884 [59:30]
Camille Pleyel was the "brilliant son of a brilliant father",
the father in question being Ignaz Pleyel, Austrian composer,
music publisher and piano-maker extraordinaire. Camille, born
in Paris and more French than Austrian, followed much the same
path as Ignaz, eventually joining his father in business in
1815 and giving up composing - though not concert-giving. Very
little of Camille's music has been recorded. Bart van Oort included
the Nocturne à la Field in his 4 CD Art of the Nocturne
in the Nineteenth Century recording for Brilliant Classics
a few years ago (review),
but beyond that there is little or nothing available.
Besides being a welcome introduction to Pleyel's talents, this
is also the eighth solo CD of Crimean pianist Masha Dimitrieva.
Her most important discs to date have been her recording of
American composer Gordon Sherwood's Piano Concerto for CPO (777
012-2), and two CDs of music by Ignaz Pleyel: two Concertos
arranged for piano by the composer himself in premiere recordings
for Ars Production (ARS 38813), and solo piano works for Gramola
(98816), performed using one of Ignaz's original instruments.
Similarly, on this latest recording Dimitrieva plays Ignaz Pleyel's
six-and-a-quarter octave op. 1614, built in 1831 and now preserved
in the Pleyel Museum in Austria. Unlike his father's music,
Camille Pleyel's is not always the subtlest, but then he was
not writing for particularly subtle audiences. He was primarily
a businessman and a virtuoso and obviously wrote his music with
the preferences of the general public in mind. Thus most of
his music consisted of piano and chamber works often farrago-like
in content and style. Nevertheless, these are not fripperies
for bored housewives, but elegant, witty, varied, often virtuosic
pieces that demonstrate a painstaking, intelligent pianism as
well as a shrewd business sense. From barnstormers like Le
Matelot to the lyrical Nocturne à la Field, Pleyel's
music, played in true 19th century virtuoso style by Dimitrieva,
is guaranteed to get feet tapping and smiles breaking in all
but the most hard-hearted of listener.
The trilingual CD booklet is glossy, informative and well written,
if translated occasionally with a peculiar turn of phrase. The
track listing does repeat the New Grove Dictionary's statement
that Pleyel's final work was his opus 51, yet the Nocturne
à la Field is labelled, rightly or wrongly, as op.52. For
those still wavering about Pleyel, the CD booklet can be downloaded
free from the Pleyel Museum's website here.
As well as sporting a cover photo of Dimitrieva looking like
a 1950s film star, the booklet also has full-page prints of
Camille Pleyel and Marie Moke, pianist and piano teacher who
infamously went from being Berlioz's fiancée to Pleyel's wife
and the "Mme Pleyel" to whom Chopin dedicated his
op.9 his Nocturnes. As her first given name was, coincidentally,
also Camille, it would have been amusing, and perhaps revealing,
for Gramola to have recorded some of her music - she was also
an occasional composer - for this recital, which at just under
an hour is rather short. She was, by all accounts, an even better
pianist than her ex-husband - indeed she went on to play four
hand music with Liszt, who became a personal friend.
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