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Monique de La Bruchollerie (piano) - 100th Anniversary Edition
From family archival recordings
rec. 1943-1966
MELOCLASSIC MC1034 [9 CDs + 1 DVD: 612:23]

In 2015, the French pianist Monique de La Bruchollerie (1915-1972) would have been one hundred years old. In tribute, Meloclassic have released this centenary edition of radio tapes and live recordings, many from her family archive. For those unfamiliar with her name and achievements, she was born in Paris in 1915, and at the age of seven went to study with Isidor Philipp, who was a family friend, at the Paris Conservatoire. Later teachers were Alfred Cortot in Paris, Emil von Sauer in Vienna and Raoul von Koczalski in Berlin. Her career embraced teaching and performing. Tragically, her concertizing ended abruptly in December 1966 through a car accident in Romania, as a result of which she sustained numerous injuries including an irreversible damage to her right hand. She continued to teach until her death in 1972. Her most famous pupils were Jean-Marc Savelli and Cyprien Katsaris.

The first CD opens auspiciously with a compelling account of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major. It’s a work that calls for poetry and eloquence, and this performance has all those ingredients in plentiful supply. The Emperor, which follows, is even better, and a major factor in this is the superb contribution of Leopold Ludwig who inspires both soloist and orchestra with his imaginative and rhythmically adept conducting. The composer is also represented by three of his piano sonatas, taped in the early to mid-sixties. The two late sonatas are sublime readings, both probing and structurally aware, and I can only regret the absence of Op. 111. Whilst the outer movements of the Pathétique are a success, the performance is let down by a rather prosaic slow movement.

The live recordings of Mozart’s Piano Concertos nos. 20 and 23 that we have here were favourites of the pianist, and she made studio recordings of them on two occasions: in 1955 with the Pro-Musica Orchestra Vienna under Heinrich Hollreiser issued on Forgotten Records (FR653), and eight years later in 1963 with Bernhard Paumgartner and the Camerata Academica for Eurodisc in Vienna. Forgotten Records have also issued a live recording of no. 20 with the Orchestre Radio-Symphonique de Paris de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française under Jean Martinon in Cologne dated 23 April 1959 (FR685). Bruchollerie had a particular affinity with the music of Mozart, as evidenced in these live airings taped in 1956 (no. 20) in Paris, and 1963 (no. 23) in Lausanne (radio-studio). She’s fortunate to have had sympathetic partners in both instances in Jean Fournet and Árpád Gérecz. Both recordings are in good sound, with the piano favourably balanced in the mix. There are stormy, agitated undercurrents in the turbulent opening movement of no. 20, and this is returned to in the finale with its menace and conflict. In between is the lyrical slow movement, beautifully realized and providing a soothing contrast. No. 23 is suffused with elegance and charm, being a much more upbeat work than K466. This is a performance guaranteed to lift the spirits.

Bruchollerie has an instinctive feel for Schumann, a quality I also find in the playing of the late lamented Catherine Collard. After a poetically poised account of the Arabesque, we are treated to a glowing performance of the Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 11. In her capable hands, the work never meanders and, in the first movement, there is a sense of cohesion of the many diverse elements. The Scherzo is particularly riveting, high-spirited and well-articulated. Carnaval is a stylish reading, where each piece is expertly crafted and characterized.

The Tchaikovsky 1 and Rachmaninov 3 are energetic and big-boned readings, impassioned and expansive. In both cases there is a tangible chemistry between pianist and conductor. Slow movements are raptly intense, and finales are rhythmically incandescent. These performances breathe new life into these well-trodden war-horses. Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, Op. 103 Egyptian is also a convincing interpretation - strong on seductive charm.

The Chopin Piano Concerto no. 2 from 1955 is a disaster, and the blame can be laid four-square with the conductor Ionel Perlea, who fails to engage with either the music or the soloist. In no way does he inspire his pianist. One can only begin to imagine how dispirited Bruchollerie must have felt after the opening tutti, delivered in such a mundane and uninvolved fashion. I see from the booklet that it is an unissued studio recording. Maybe the Vox producers felt the same way as I do. Things fare better in the composer’s Sonata no. 3. The opening movement has plenty of drama and passion and you feel swept along with the exuberance. In the finale, though, I felt that a little more vigour and drive would not have gone amiss. The three ‘big’ pieces that follow: the Barcarolle, Fantasie and Fourth Ballade are poetic and lyrical, with rubato sensitively applied. This pianist can never be accused of over-gilding the lily. The small selection of waltzes and mazurkas are most welcome. The Fourth Ballade does suffer from some sonic distortion in loud passages.

The pianist was an enthusiastic ambassador for Dutilleux’s only Piano Sonata, though its first performance was given by his wife Geneviève Joy. The Sonata underwent several re-workings, and Bruchollerie was very much in on the act, receiving corrections from the master as the work evolved. She performed an early version in several locations in 1949. In 2005, the composer had the opportunity to listen to the early version, taped at a recital in Paris, and was very impressed both by the standard of performance, and being reacquainted with his early thoughts. The performance here, which I presume is the final version, is dated c. 1950. It is a technically complex work, and is here given an ardent reading of great improvisatory breadth.

The bonus DVD of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23, gives us a unique opportunity to see the pianist in action. This TV Studio Recording dates from 16 February 1963, courtesy of Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française, Paris. It certainly packs a punch, with Bruchollerie giving her all. She achieves a big sound, with formidable technique to match. The electrifying pianism in the cadenza of the first movement sports lightning octaves and scintillating scale passages. I doubt that Horowitz in his young days could have done better. I’m amazed how long the pianist’s fingers are – definitely a positive asset. Camera angles are varied, including many close-ups. André Vandernoot provides admirable support. A pleasing audio extra is the 1972 interview with the pianist, in French, and Wilhelm Kempff and Eugen Jochum’s reminiscences of the pianist, both in German.

Sound quality is generally good, but allowances have to be made on occasion. The booklet, which contains an interesting biographical portrait, was written by Diane de La Bruchollerie in French with English translation. Also included are a cache of black and white photographs of the pianist and concert posters. This set has been a revelation to me, and I am grateful to Meloclassic for making this material available in this beautifully produced set. It should be warmly welcomed by devotees of French pianism.

Stephen Greenbank
 
Full track-listing
 
CD 1 [69:43]
1-3. BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 ‘Bruchollerie’s first recording’
I. Allegro moderato [17:33]
II. Andante con moto [4:25]
III. Rondo: Vivace [9:32]
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/André Cluytens
Recorded ∙ 14 May 1943 ∙ Paris ∙ Studio Albert ∙ Voix de son maître ∙ 2LA 4065-2LA 4072 ∙ Unissued Studio Recording
4-6. BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 ‘Emperor’
I. Allegro [19:44]
II. Adagio un poco mosso [8:42]
III. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo [9:42]
Philharmonisches Orchester Berlin/Leopold Ludwig
Recorded ∙ 20 June 1948 ∙ Berlin ∙ Titania Palast ∙ Berliner Rundfunk ∙ Live Recording
 
CD 2 [67:48]
1-3. TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23
I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso [19:05]
II. Andantino semplice – Prestissimo [7:34]
III. Allegro con fuoco [6:17]
Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart/Josef Dünnwald
Recorded ∙ 07 May 1946 ∙ Stuttgart ∙ Staatstheater ∙ Süddeutscher Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
4-6. RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 ‘Bruchollerie’s North American debut’
I. Allegro ma non tanto [14:24]
II. Intermezzo: Adagio [8:43]
III. Finale: Alla breve [11:41]
Boston Symphony Orchestra/Ernest Ansermet
Recorded ∙ 14 December 1951 ∙ Boston ∙ Symphony Hall ∙ BSO Transcription Disc ∙ Live Recording
 
CD 3 [72:54]
1-3. CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
I. Maestoso [12:08]
II. Larghetto [9:34]
III. Allegro vivace [7:35]
Orchestre de l’Association des Concerts Colonne/Ionel Perlea
Recorded ∙ 04 October 1955 ∙ Paris ∙ Vox ∙ Unissued Studio Recording
4-6. SAINT-SAËNS: Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, Op. 103 ‘Egyptian’
I. Allegro animato [10:43]
II. Andante [11:57]
III. Molto allegro [5:47]
Orchestra Simfonică a Radioteleviziunii Române/Iosif Conta
Recorded ∙ 16 December 1966 ∙ Bucarest ∙ Radiodifuziunii Române ∙ Live Recording
7. FRANCK: Variations symphoniques in F-sharp minor, M. 46 [15:03]
Orchestra simfonica a Filarmonicii Din Cluj/Emil Simon
Recorded ∙ 18 December 1966 ∙ Cluj ∙ Romania ∙ Radiodifuziunii Române ∙ Live Recording
 
CD 4 [76:28]
1-3. MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
I. Allegro [13:52]
II. Romanze [8:17]
III. Allegro assai [7:15]
Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française/Jean Fournet
Recorded ∙ 17 December 1956 ∙ Paris ∙ Théâtre des Champs-Elysées ∙ Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française ∙ Live Recording
4-6. MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
I. Allegro [11:49]
II. Adagio [6:56]
III. Allegro assai [8:09]
Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne/Árpád Gérecz
Recorded ∙ 07 March 1963 ∙ Lausanne ∙ Théâtre de Beaulieu ∙ Radio Suisse Romande ∙ Radio Studio Recording
7-9. MOZART: Piano Sonata No. 16 in C Major, K. 545
I. Allegro [2:19]
II. Andante [3:36]
III. Rondo [1:20]
Recorded ∙ 14 December 1952 ∙ München ∙ Studio 1 Funkhaus BR ∙ Bayerischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
10. SCARLATTI: Sonata in D minor, K. 9 / L. 413, ‘Pastorale’ [2:36]
11. SCARLATTI: Sonata in in E Major, K. 20 / L. 375, ‘Capriccio’ [2:43]
Recorded ∙ October 1950 ∙ Paris ∙ Nixa ∙ 4001 ∙ Studio Recording
12-14. HAYDN: Piano Sonata in E minor, Hob.XVI:34
I. Presto [2:38]
II. Adagio [3:01]
III. Finale. Molto vivace [1:52]
Recorded ∙ 22 October 1947 ∙ London ∙ HMV ∙ DB 21038 ∙ Studio Recording
 
CD 5 [61:31]
1-3. BACH: Piano Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052
I. Allegro [7:57]
II. Adagio [8:27]
III. Allegro [7:57]
Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart/Josef Dünnwald
Recorded ∙ 16 May 1948 ∙ Stuttgart ∙ Staatstheater ∙ Süddeutscher Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
4-7. BACH: Organ Concerto in D minor, BWV 596 (arr. for piano after Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, RV 565)
I. Einleitung [2:22]
II. Fuga [3:48]
III. Largo e spiccato [2:52]
IV. Finale. Allegro [3:01]
Recorded ∙ 24 June 1946 ∙ Berlin ∙ Haus des Rundfunks ∙ Masurenallee Saal 1 ∙ Berliner Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
8. BACH: Choral ‘Freuet euch, ihr Christen alle’, BWV 40/8 (arr. Isidore Philipp) [3:46]
Recorded ∙ 19 November 1965 ∙ Hamm ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
9. BALBASTRE: Romance in C Major [2:12]
Recorded ∙ 19 May 1961 ∙ Munich ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Studio Recording
10-12. HAYDN: Piano Sonata in C Major, Hob.XVI:35
I. Allegro con brio [3:48]
II. Adagio [3:21]
III. Finale: Allegro [2:59]
Recorded ∙ 19 May 1961 ∙ Munich ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Studio Recording
13-15. CLEMENTI: Piano Sonata in D Major, Op. 26, No. 3
I. Presto [2:47]
II. Un poco andante [2:25]
III. Rondo assai allegro [3:43]
Recorded ∙ 02 February 1965 ∙ Höchst ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
 
CD 6 [73:16]
1-3. BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13
I. Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio [7:03]
II. Adagio cantabile [5:32]
III. Rondo : Allegro [4:03]
Recorded ∙ 19 May 1961 ∙ Munich ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Studio Recording
4-6. BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109
I. Vivace ma non troppo. Adagio espressivo [3:37]
II. Prestissimo [2:21]
III. Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung [10:16]
Recorded ∙ 22 November 1965 ∙ Karlsruhe ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
7-9. BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110
I. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo [6:08]
II. Scherzo: Allegro molto [2:00]
III. Adagio ma non troppo. Fuga: Allegro ma non troppo [9:27]
Recorded ∙ 02 February 1965 ∙ Höchst ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
10. BEETHOVEN: Piano Ecossaises in E flat major, WoO 86 [2:19]
Recorded ∙ 19 November 1965 ∙ Hamm ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
11. SCHUBERT: Waltzes No. 19 & No. 20, D. 365, Op. 9 (arr. Isidore Philipp) [2:32]
Recorded ∙ 22 May 1947 ∙ London ∙ EMI Abbey Road Studio ∙ HMV ∙ DA 1888 ∙ Studio Recording
12. SCHUBERT: Valses Sentimentales, Op. 50, D. 779 and Valses Nobles, Op. 77, D. 959 [5:53]
Recorded ∙ 19 November 1965 ∙ Hamm ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
13. MENDELSSOHN: Andante et Rondo capriccioso in E Major, Op. 14 [5:53]
Recorded ∙ 21 November 1954 ∙ Lübeck ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
14. MENDELSSOHN: Song without Words in A Major, Op. 62, No. 6 ‘Frühlingslied’ [1:54]
Recorded ∙ 22 November 1965 ∙ Karlsruhe ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
15. MENDELSSOHN: Song without Words in C Major, Op. 67, No. 4 ‘Spinnerlied’ [1:38]
Recorded ∙ 1959 ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
16-17. BRAHMS: Two Waltzes, Op.39
Waltz No. 2 in E Major ∙ Attacca, from 16 Waltzes, Op. 39 [1:05]
Waltz No. 6 in C-sharp Major ∙ Vivace, from 16 Waltzes, Op. 39 [1:35]
Recorded ∙ 14 November 1950 ∙ Munich ∙ Funkhaus Studio 5 ∙ Bayerischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
 
CD 7 [79:03]
1-4. CHOPIN: Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58
I. Allegro maestoso [8:10]
II. Scherzo: Molto vivace [2:38]
III. Largo [8:11]
IV. Finale: Presto non tanto [5:01]
Recorded ∙ 02 February 1965 ∙ Höchst ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
5. CHOPIN: Barcarolle in F sharp minor, Op. 60 [7:41]
Recorded ∙ 14 December 1952 ∙ Munich ∙ Funkhaus Studio 5 ∙ Bayerischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
6. CHOPIN: Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49 [12:23]
Recorded ∙ 04 October 1955 ∙ Paris ∙ Vox ∙ Unissued Studio Recording
7. CHOPIN: Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 [11:09]
Recorded ∙ 22 November 1965 ∙ Karlsruhe ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
8. CHOPIN: Waltz No. 3 in A minor, Op. 34, No. 2 [4:21]
9. CHOPIN: Waltz No. 6 in D-Flat Major, Op. 64, No. 1, ‘Minute’ [1:40]
10. CHOPIN: Waltz No. 10 in B minor, Op. 69, No. 2 [2:58]
11. CHOPIN: Waltz No. 11 in G-Flat Major, Op. 70, No. 1 [2:22]
12. CHOPIN: Waltz No. 13 in D-Flat Major, Op. 70, No. 3 [2:42]
13. CHOPIN: Waltz No. 14 in E minor, Op. posthume [1:55]
Recorded ∙ 28 April 1956 ∙ Hamburg ∙ Studio NDR ∙ Norddeutscher Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
14. CHOPIN: Waltz No. 5 in A-Flat Major, Op. 42 [3:43]
Recorded ∙ 21 November 1954 ∙ Lübeck ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
15. CHOPIN: Mazurka No. 7 in F minor, Op. 7, No. 3 [2:20]
16. CHOPIN: Mazurka No. 41 in C-sharp minor, Op. 63, No. 3 [1:44]
Recorded ∙ 06 February 1962 ∙ Munich ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Studio Recording
 
CD 8 [71:40]
1. SCHUMANN: Arabesque in C Major, Op. 18 [6:56]
Recorded ∙ 22 November 1965 ∙ Karlsruhe ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
2-5. SCHUMANN: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 11
I. Introduzione: Un poco Adagio – Allegro vivace [11:02]
II. Aria [3:39]
III. Scherzo: Allegrissimo – intermezzo: Lento [4:34]
IV. Finale: Allegro, un poco maestoso [5:52]
Recorded ∙ 08 December 1966 ∙ Bucarest ∙ Radiodifuziunii Române ∙ Live Recording
6-25. SCHUMANN: Carnaval, Op. 9 [25:20]
Recorded ∙ 13 January 1965 ∙ Paris ∙ Maison de la Radio ∙ Studio 109 ∙ Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française ∙ Radio Studio Recording
26. PROKOFIEV: Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 28 [6:25]
27. PROKOFIEV: Toccata in D minor, Op. 11 [4:25]
28. FALLA: Danza ritual del fuego (Ritual Fire Dance) [3:23]
Recorded ∙ 19 November 1965 ∙ Hamm ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
 
CD 9 [77:35]
1. IBERT: Le petit âne blanc from ‘Histoires II’ [1:40]
Recorded ∙ 16 June 1948 ∙ Berlin ∙ Haus des Rundfunks ∙ Saal 1 ∙ Berliner Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
2. DAQUIN: Le Coucou [1:43]
Recorded ∙ 24 June 1948 ∙ Berlin ∙ Haus des Rundfunks ∙ Saal 1 ∙ Berliner Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
3. VILLA-LOBOS: O polichinelo from ‘A prole do bebê, No. 7, W 140′ [0:46]
Recorded ∙ 16 June 1948 ∙ Berlin ∙ Haus des Rundfunks ∙ Saal 1 ∙ Berliner Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
4. SAINT-SAËNS: Étude de Concert No. 6 ‘Toccata’ in F Major, Op. 111/6 [3:31]
Recorded ∙ 17 November 1951 ∙ Munich ∙ Seidlhaus ∙ Bayerischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
5. SZYMANOWSKI: Thème varié, Op. 3 (1903) [8:42]
Recorded ∙ 14 December 1952 ∙ Munich ∙ Studio 1 ∙ Bayerischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
6. BARTÓK: Rondos sur des Mélodies Populaires, Sz.84 ∙ No. 1 in C Major (1916) [2:44]
Recorded ∙ 21 November 1954 ∙ Lübeck ∙ Germany ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Live Recording
7. SHOSTAKOVICH: Polka No. 3, Op. 22b from the ballet ‘The Golden Age’ [1:49]
Recorded ∙ 19 May 1961 ∙ Munich ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Studio Recording
8. DEBUSSY: Jardins sous la pluie from ‘Estampes (1903)’ [3:23]
9. DEBUSSY: Prélude No. 8 ‘La fille aux cheveux de lin’ from ‘Livre I (1910)’ [1:54]
10. DEBUSSY: La plus que lente, Waltz in G-flat Major [4:04]
Recorded ∙ 08 December 1966 ∙ Bucarest ∙ Radiodifuziunii Române ∙ Live Recording
11. DEBUSSY: Prélude No. 10 ‘La Cathédrale engloutie’ from ‘Livre I (1910)’ [6:17]
La Cathédrale engloutie was Bruchollerie’s final piano work performed in public, recorded a few hours before her car accident.
Recorded ∙ 18 December 1966 ∙ Cluj ∙ Romania ∙ Radiodifuziunii Române ∙ Live Recording
12. John VALLIER: Toccata [1:16]
Recorded ∙ 18 December 1966 ∙ Cluj ∙ Romania ∙ Radiodifuziunii Române ∙ Live Recording
13-15. DUTILLEUX: Piano Sonata (1947–48)
I. Allegro con moto [7:03]
II. Lied-Lent [5:33]
III. Choral et variations [9:24]
Recorded ∙ ca. 1950 ∙ Paris ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Studio Recording
16. André Peyrègne’s interview with Monique de La Bruchollerie [French] [10:41]
Recorded ∙ 02 November 1972 ∙ Paris ∙ Family Archival Recording ∙ Radio Studio Recording
17. Wilhelm Kempff’s reminiscences of Monique de La Bruchollerie [German] [4:19]
Recorded ∙ 19 May 1973 ∙ Munich ∙ Bayerischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
18. Eugen Jochum’s reminiscences of Monique de La Bruchollerie [German] [2:38]
Recorded ∙ 19 May 1973 ∙ Munich ∙ Bayerischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording
 
DVD ∙ Bonus [32:25]
1-3. TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23
I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso [18:53]
II. Andantino semplice – Prestissimo [6:57]
III. Allegro con fuoco [6:35]
Orchestre philharmonique de la RTF / André Vandernoot
Air Date ∙ 16 February 1963 ∙ Paris ∙ Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française ∙ TV Studio Recording
DVD Format: NTSC ∙ Picture Format: 4:3 ∙ Regional Code: 0 ∙ Sound: LPCM Mono

 

 




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