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Prelude and Fugue, op.91 (2004) [5:14]
Piano Sonata no.2, op.105 (2007/2008/2010) [11:19]
Diletto Classico: Trois Cahiers de Piano en Hommage aux Maîtres
Baroques et Classiques: (I. Suite Baroque, op.100 no.1 (2006-07)
[9:57]; II. Diletto Classico: Sonatina Classica, op.100 no.2 (2007)
[5:43]; III. Diletto Classico: Arioso Barocco e Fuga Monodica, op.100
no.3 (2006) [5:55])
Deux Esquisses Lyriques, op.103 (2006-07) [6:27]
Petit Prélude (1978) [0:53]
L'Enfance de l'Art - Sept Pièces de Jeunesse, op.69 no.1
Petites Variations sur un Thème Dodécaphonique, op.69
no.3 (1979) [4:19]
Eliane Reyes (piano)
rec. Recital Studio B, Tihange, Belgium, May-June 2010. DDD
NAXOS 8.572530 [63:42]
This is a fine introduction to the piano music of the scandalously
underrated French composer Nicolas Bacri by Franco-Mexican pianist
Eliane Reyes. Her first solo recital for Naxos was released
just over a year ago, spotlighting the music of the Polish French
composer Alexandre Tansman. That disc was marred a little by
recording hitches - ironically it was produced by Bacri! - but
Reyes' contribution was immaculate (review).
This time round, Elias' artistry and Bacri's listener-friendly
originality combine to produce a recital of considerable interest
and broad appeal - and these are all first recordings to boot.
Reyes' recital opens with the Prelude and Fugue op.91, dedicated
to René Maillard (review
of a recent release of his music on Naxos), and a forceful homage
to Bach. The three-movement, twice-revised Second Piano Sonata
follows, its dark, sombre opening segueing into an initially
ferocious scherzo, with no let-up for the pianist's fingers
in the pell-mell finale. Atonality is never far away in Bacri's
music, but nor is tonality, and the overall soundscape of the
Sonata is one that Prokofiev and Shostakovich would recognise
- and likely admire.
The most openly modernistic works are the Short Variations on
a Dodecaphonic Theme and The Childhood of Art, both early flirtations
with Schoenbergian principles, but even here the gentleness
and lyricism of Bacri's music - the latter work, for example,
contains four dreamy Nocturnes - is unlikely to offend any but
the most delicate of ears.
Fast forward twenty years and Bacri was writing the Two Lyric
Sketches, nostalgic, intimate pieces à la Grieg that
are as lovely as they are 'anachronistic', and the unusual but
genial Classical Delight, three self-standing works within a
work 'in Homage to the Baroque and Classical Masters'. These
are not anachronisms, but more akin to new translations
of old works. Thus there is some atonal Baroque and jazzy Classicism
along the way as Bacri pays tribute not only to his favourite
composers from earlier centuries, but also to Prokofiev and
Reyes gives an elegant, sensitive and technically assured account
of Bacri's works, most of which she premiered. Perhaps the fact
that she did not premiere op.69 no.2 explains its otherwise
odd absence from the programme - at six minutes in length it
would have easily fitted on the disc.
As previously mentioned, sound quality is good, though there
are a few minor technical anomalies, mainly, but not entirely,
confined to L'Enfance de l'Art - odd squeaks in the final movement,
the suspicion of one or two editing joins in other sections.
The CD booklet offers nothing fancy and the notes are typically
densely printed, but they are informative and well written,
and there is also a nice photo of Reyes and Bacri together.
In sum, this is an ideal disc for anyone looking for a benign
introduction to contemporary/atonal music, and a raspberry to
those who claim that new music is all tuneless, shapeless dreck.
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