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Music for Cor Anglais - Volume 3
Martin Frutiger (cor anglais)
Petya Mihneva Falsig (piano)
rec. July 2020, Radiostudio Zurich
GUILD GM2CD7823 [2 CDs: 132:37]

The first two volumes in this series, which comes to an end with this latest release, can be found on GMCD7399 and GMCD7810 and were devoted to music by Italian, German and Swiss composers. This final release focuses on France in a well-packed twofer.

One of the major figures in composition for the cor anglais was Eugène Bozza whose Divertissement evokes Grecian antique framed by long-breathed lyricism graced by a final acrobatic panel. Much of the music throughout the two discs conforms to the arcadian template but when it was written for competition purposes, as is the case with François Rasse’s Cantabile, it has a somewhat more urgent lyricism; Rasse was a violin student of Ysaÿe. Florent Schmitt is represented by one work, his early Chant du soir of 1895, a piece rich in plangent romance worth getting to know, even if its innocence is beguilingly open-hearted. A rather darker sense of unease is introduced by Jean-Edouard Barat, whose Nostalgie, whilst not curdled, exactly, offers more grit than is often to be encountered.

Koechlin takes up the lion’s share of the first disc, where one finds works spanning most of his compositional life. His early pastoral affiliations are still undimmed in the 1937 Au loin and his delight in irrepressibly beautiful melody in Pièce from 1921. The set of Monodie, Op 216 was largely for clarinet (nine of the eleven), though he did write one for oboe d’amore and saved the last for cor anglais. He brings winsome wit in the L'Hommage au Canard, another monody of 1948 (the title refers to the satirical magazine, Le Canard enchaènè). The Suite, Op 185 dates from 1942 and is the longest set in the twofer. The second movement will be familiar as it was later used as the scherzo from his Second Symphony, but don’t overlook the last of these four pieces, a fantasque with darting, puckish movement laced with a contrasting contemplative section. Koechlin’s pieces evince languid espressivo as well as folkloric frivolity and are characteristically beautifully written and winning examples of his art.

Nothing else quite measures up to Koechlin but there are many other pieces to enjoy. Clèmence de Grandval was a pupil of Saint-Saëns and also took a few piano lessons from Chopin. Her Four Pieces are full of warmth and tangy Gallic wit. Gustave Vogt’s Solo de Concert has been reconstructed – the notes go into welcome detail – and the piece offers operatic ‘Rossinian’ fare with a languid lyric romance and a sprightly Bolero finale. Vogt’s other pieces offer transcriptions from the stage whilst other composer reprise the kind of thing Vogt did – and he did it very well – and these fantasias from the likes of Auguste Vény, Stanislas Verroust and Théodore Lalliet all bear Vogt’s inimitable stamp. The last piece, the Champètre of Serge Lancen, who died in 2005, is both brief and seems to recall Faurè.

With a rich and deep recording quality and expert notes, Martin Frutiger ends his series on a high. He is a dextrous, stylish player with a fine tone and sense of legato phrasing and apropos instincts for the repertoire. Pianist Petya Mihneva Falsig proves an admirable partner.

Jonathan Woolf

Eugène BOZZA (1905-1991)
Divertissement for cor anglais and piano, Op 39 (1939) [5:51]
Lied (1950s) [2:51]
François RASSE (1873-1955)
Cantabile [4:40]
Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958)
Chant du soir, Op 7 (1895) [5:17]
Jean-Edouard BARAT (1882-1963)
Nostalgie [4:29]
Theodore AKIMENKO (1876-1945)
Eclogue (1900) [3:56]
Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950)
Monodie 'L'Hommage au Canard' (1948) [1:46]
Monodies (11) for winds, Op 216; No 11 Monodie [3:09]
Pieces (14) for oboe and piano, Op 179; Adagio è la blanche [2:06]: Allegro con moto [1:57]
Pièce (1921) [2:54]
Suite for cor anglais, Op 185 (1942) [21:55]
Au loin (1937) [4:11]
Clèmence de GRANDVAL (1828-1907)
Four Pieces for cor anglais (1878) [14:11]
Gustave VOGT (1781-1870)
Solo de concert for cor anglais [16:42]
Nina 'Lungi da te!' [3:51]
Auguste VÉNY (1801-1879)
Fantasie, Op 7 [7:20]
Stanislas VERROUST (1814-1863)
Fantasie, Op 1 [9:40]
Théodore LALLIET (1837-1892)
Fantasie originale, Op 6 [7:23]
Serge LANCEN (1922-2005)
Champètre [1:53]

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