The Complete Works of Louis Cahuzac
Louis CAHUZAC (1880-1960)
Concertino (from Heinrich Baermann (1784-1847) - Quintet) (pub 1895) [12:28] ¹
Pastorale cévenole for clarinet and strings (1953) [5:44] ²
Pastorale cévenole for clarinet and piano (1953) [5:22] ¹
Arlequin (1958) [2:37]
Cantilène (pub 1972) [4:25] ¹
Variations sur un air du pays d’Oc (c. 1930) [8:36] ¹
Etude [3:15]
Fantasie variée sur un vieil air champêtre (1947) [6:53] ¹
Sonate Classique No.1 (from Etienne Gebauer (1777-1823) - duet) 11:54] ³
Sonate Classique No.2 (from Etienne Gebauer (1777-1823) - duet) [12:40] ³
Philippe Cuper (clarinet)
Christine Lagniel (piano) ¹
Philippe Olivier Deveaux (second clarinet) ³
Les virtuoses de l’Opéra (Paris)
rec. February 2012, Studio Magne, Paris
The French clarinettist Louis Cahuzac was one of the giants of his instrument. The Languedoc-born musician premiered numerous important works during his long career and he was especially associated with the performance and propagation of the music of such as d’Indy, Poulenc, Milhaud, Honegger, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Ravel, and Debussy as well as Brahms and Berg. The list is vast. His recordings of Mozart and of Nielsen are long established classics of the gramophone.
He also composed, and ‘adapted’ music for his own instrument, and this disc brings together both genres. It’s notable that almost everything was published posthumously. He took the Concertino from the Quintet of Heinrich Baermann (1784-1847), a natty piece of recycling, and refashioned it for clarinet and piano. Written in 1895 it alternates genial phrasing with warm limpidity reserving virtuoso fireworks for the finale. One of his most evocative and delightful effusions is the compact Pastorale cévenole which is heard here - luxury casting - in its two versions, one for clarinet and piano and the other for clarinet and strings. I prefer more the gauzy introduction enshrined in the latter version. There are charming echo effects, rich roulades and a confident cadential passage. Its ABA form is simple but effective.
Arlequin for solo clarinet dates from 1958, as capricious as it sounds, and full of Comedia dell’Arte fun. I wonder if the excellent Philippe Cuper has listened to Cahuzac’s own 1948 recording of the Cantilène as the tempo is identical. It’s a beautiful little work, and demonstrates Cahuzac’s gracious lyric impulses. Cahuzac also recorded Variations sur un air du pays d’Oc, though I’ve never heard it. The theme is not unlike that of Away in a Manger, to British ears, music composed in 1895. It’s a highly effective piece. We also hear a subtle and demanding Etude, a Fantaisie that alternates faster and slower sections with skill, and finally two Sonatas which, liked the Concertino, are taken from the work of another composer, in this case Etienne Gebauer (1777-1823). These are two-clarinet duets - Philippe Olivier Deveaux joins Cuper - and are good natured, sprightly pieces that do, it’s true, somewhat overstay their welcome, though I’m sure they’re fun for the clarinettists.
I shouldn’t overlook the sensitive pianism of Christine Lagniel in a number of these pieces. As noted, Cuper pays fine homage to one of the masters of the instrument and the sound quality is excellent. There are some terrific photographs in the elegantly produced bi-lingual booklet (English/French). There’s a fabulous colour one of Cahuzac recording in a studio the year before his death whilst sitting on a large russet coloured box.
Jonathan Woolf
Cuper and Lagniel pay fine homage to one of the masters of the instrument.