Pour les enfants pour piano de difficulté progressive [54:11]*
1er Recueil, très facile [11:16]; 2e Recueil, facile [12:13]; 3e
Recueil, assez facile [12:47]; 4e Recueil, moyenne difficulté [17:55]
Piano miniatures (1945) [6:56]*
Elzbieta Tyszecka (piano)
rec. Kameralna Hall named after Henryk Czyza, Lódz Philarmonia,
Lódz, Poland, July and October 2011. *World première recordings.
ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0255 [61:32]
The four books of pieces for children by Tansman were written
in 1933. The first volume was for the youngest children, the
second for those starting school education - with suitably pedagogic
titles - whilst the third is notably more advanced. The fourth
book covers a wide range and moods and textures. These books
of progressive difficulty were augmented by his work in other
areas for young learners, such as writing for violin, for trio,
guitar and piano four hands, amongst much else.
The first three books consist of twelve pieces whilst the last
includes ten. Each sports an often picturesque and imaginative
title, such as to fire interest in the child’s imagination.
And each is written with great facility and perception. Tansman
is on record as having deplored the paucity of such material,
and in condemning what he saw as the vista between methodical
exercises and genuine repertoire. Into what he targeted as that
void, came these and other works for children.
Numerous felicities strike the ear in these fine performances.
Whether it’s the noble chording of Chant ancient, the
ingenious sonorities of Le petit ours en pelouche or
the rhythmically vital and colouristic Valse des marionettes
Tansman at all times offers little compressed evocations designed
to charm and educate. But they aren’t quite as simple as all
that, and he doesn’t start right at the beginning either. The
child would have to be a nuanced one indeed to extract the full
ratio of quiet melancholia encoded into Fin des vacances
– though they could doubtless sympathise with the sentiment.
The encouragement of baroque patterns comes via Les pompiers,
and there’s Schumannesque influence strongly at work in the
third of the second book, a Germano-Polish affair. Though the
length of the pieces inevitably increases the more advanced
the student becomes, these early ones are often less than a
minute in length. They pack in a great deal of technical matters
Tansman pursues the ideas of marches and dances and tests leading
voices in something like Le petit chat, the penultimate
piece from the second book. As things develop in the third book,
balanced chords and textures are pursued, and so too in the
development of an occasional sense of a gloomy Slavic ethos,
witnessed in Le mendicant. No question that Tansman
knew Mittler’s once famous Music Box piece, because his own
follows it drolly. By book four Tansman infuses contemporary
music into the mix – just listen to the Gershwin and Blues licks
in Disque as well as some demanding fast runs in the
gamelan-infused Jeux Balinais with its exotic rhythms.
Satie haunts the slow Berceuse. To complete the pleasure
we have the Piano Miniatures of 1945 with their compact,
proud marches, caprice and veiled impressionism.
Tansman’s task was accomplished with habitual generosity and
imagination, qualities equally to be applied to Elzbieta Tyszecka
in these well recorded and engaging miniatures. They are aimed
at children, but adults can certainly enjoy listening to them.
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