Un piano pour deux-Repertoire pour piano 4 mains de Jean FrançaixTutto il repertorio per pianoforte a quattro mani di Jean Françaix. Four -hands Piano music of Jean Françaix Pianiste: Maria Gabriella Bassi , Claude Françaix Label:Erol, Paris (2012) Includes: Quinze portraits d’Auguste Renoir -Les malheurs de Sophie -Si Versaille m’était conté -Napoléon
Nino Rota – Piano works for childrenUniversally known for his marvellous composed from the 1930s onwards, Nino Rota is responsible for increasing appreciation of and arousing curiosity in the “sound track” in Italy. The English term ‘soundtrack’ becomes “colonna sonora” in Italian, a term (in Italian) full of different shades of meaning. The Italian terms makes the imagination work harder, providing the image of a base (a column) upon which everything is built and rests. This is so true of Nino Rota’s music. Having worked on almost 150 films, he was in the position to refuse work, even from excellent sources – such as Kubrick’s “Barry Lindon” – as he felt that such a “colonna” would be reduced to mere collage and comment. He created an inheritance for other important Italian composers after him, such as Morricone and Piovani, who absorbed this concept, so that his work is identified world-wide with the freshness and immediacy of the melodic inventiveness typical of Italian soundtrack composers. Nino Rota has an ambivalent position the history of music. Parallel to the world of music for images, Rota created an equally colourful world for the concert hall, creating images for music, sensorial projections of his language of composition full of joie de vivre. A prodigious child, he composed a musical tale at the age of 8 (Preludio e fuga for piano 4 hands based on the “Storia del mago doppio” – Tale of the Duplicate Wizard). Then at 15 he wrote a comic opera, also writing the lyrics ( Il Principe Porcaro, from a tale by Andersen: “The Swineherd Prince”), as well as many other works inspired – given his young age – by fairytales and legends. He always had a soft spot for the themes of love, playing, fairytales, the circus and clowns: all subjects that immediately take us into the world of Infancy, that supreme stage of life when everything is so fascinating and where we feel an irresistible attraction for everything, without mischief or guile, absolutely certain that we can understand its sense and enter its world. A marvellous self-confidence (that Reason eventually manages to break) is the undisputed queen during our infancy. The ease with which Rota composed pieces when young would stay with him forever. His catalogue is full of musical works for the concert hall, a success with the public and critics alike until the early 1970s. At that point, the critics started to talk of his gradual isolation, as a composer of “his time”. However, in a period when composers experimented with new expressive languages for classic music, in a search for meaningful change, or change at all costs, Rota spoke a different language – even though he had studied under Pizzetti and Casella, and was an admirer and friend of Stravinsky – which everyone now holds to be the voice of a past that is avoided with great effort in order to avoid its weight and, perhaps, a comparison. Having lost the favour of the critics, his popularity soon declined. After his death, the beauty of Rota’s “classic” pages were forgotten, partly due also to his “movie works” . Yet his music goes straight to the heart of the public, today as it did then, demanding to be rediscovered in order to continue to evoke that magical language, the language of forthright communication, without exasperated harmonic complications. The language of communion typical of the “Queen Melody”, the language of a “Candide” opening our eyes to the world. It’s time this hidden, yet still bright treasure is rediscovered, thanks also to far-sighted publishing initiatives such as this. Maria Gabriella Bassi
KABALEVSKY – Piano Preludes op.3824 PRELUDES FOR PIANO, OP. 38 ( 1944 ) notes by Maria Gabriella Bassi This work brings together twenty-four piano miniatures in which the Russian soul – with its typical style drenched in colours and delicious dissonances – explodes in a blinding kaleidoscope of characters and emotions. Dedicated to his teacher Nicolas Miaskovskij, the Preludes are some of the most interesting compositions by Kabalevsky, a composer of rare formal balance, whose hallmarks remain his simplicity and clarity of technique. Kabalevsky is true to the classical tradition in which the preludes must touch upon the 24 tonalities, and from this tradition he also gleans the intuitions of the great composers who shaped the course of piano history, from Liszt (in Prelude no. 10), to Debussy (in Prelude no. 11), to Musorgskij (in Prelude no. 13). The folk element is always of central importance: traditional songs and folk references resound throughout the lines of the melodic theme in all the preludes. Listening to the Preludes it seems possible to see all the characters created by the pens of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Pushkin, almost as if the music had been inspired by great Russian literature. During the interpretative work on these marvellous Preludes, I noticed that an “intimate” atmosphere was created thanks to their shortness and to the compositional structure of each of the pieces. The quality of Kabalesky’s music in this work touches deep and delicate inner chords without ever abandoning the “Russian” piano style, which is traditionally spirited and powerful.
Eloge de la danse – Piano music of Jean FrançaixSebbene egli stesso pianista , Jean Françaix , compositore dalla lunghissima carriera – più di settant’anni – ha dedicato al pianoforte una piccola parte della sua produzione, significativamente raccolta in questo disco . Attraverso i brani scelti dunque l’ascoltatore potrà cogliere lo scopo perseguito da Jean Françaix : dar da pensare e sentire all’animo , senza mai annoiare e ponendo il virtuosismo , arduo ma mai scontato , a servizio di idee sempre chiare; sia che esse illustrino il più possibile i difficili poemi di Paul Valéry ( Eloge de la Danse ); che esse riproducano l’impronta del più pericoloso virtuosismo di un pezzo da concorso ( Sonate ); che evochino la magia del mondo di Gutenberg ( Huit Variations Gutenberg); o che si abbandonino al piacere della danza attraverso il tempo e lo spazio ( Scuola di Ballo , Danse des Trois Arlequins , Danses Exotiques). Aggiungerò che , per il repertorio a due pianoforti , è con gioia che ho lavorato con Maria Gabriella Bassi che ringrazio vivamente per il suo entusiasmo e la sua competenza (Claude Françaix)Composer and pianist, Jean Françaix hasn’t written many pieces for his own instrument, even if it was fundamental in his education and career. And a long lasting career it was, spanning more than 70 years! This recording will let listeners realize what JF’s goal in music was: creating a sensible and sensitive, never boring musical language, in which virtuoso technique is always subordinate to clear ideas. He succeeds in showing the beauty of Paul Valery’s difficult poems (Eloge de la Danse) , in reproducing a dangerous virtuosity (Sonate) , in suggesting Gutenberg’s magical world (Gutenberg Variations) and in showing his love for the Art of dancing ( Scuola di Ballo, Danse des Trois Arlequins, Huit Danses Exotiques , Eloge de la Danse). Furthermore, I’ve been very happy to work with Maria Gabriella Bassi in the two-piano repertoire, and would like to thank her for her enthusiasm and competence. (Claude Françaix)Jean Françaix, bien que remarquable pianiste lui-meme, n’a pas beaucoup ècrit au cours de sa très longue carrière decompositeur – plus de soizante-dix ans ! – pour l’instrument qui a pourtant marqué de façon capitale sa formation de musicien. Ce disque permettra à l’auditeur de saisir le but poursuivi par Jean Françaix: donner à penser et ressentir, sans jamais ennuyer, en mettant une virtuosité, certaine sans etre gratuite, au service d’idées toujours claires; soit qu’elles illustrent au plus près les difficiles poèmes de Paul Valéry ( Eloge de la Danse); qu’elles se coulent dans la moule de périlleux exercice de morceau de concours ( Sonate); qu’elles évoquent la magie du monde de Gutenberg ( Huit Variations Gutenberg ) ; ou qu’elles s’abandonnent au plaisir de la danse à travers le temps et l’espace ( Scuola di Ballo , Danse des Trois Arlequins , Danses Exotiques). J’ajouterai que , pour la partie “ duex pianos” , c’est avec bonheur que j’ai rejoint Maria Gabriella Bassi que je remercie vivement pour son enthousiasme et ses compétences.(Claude Françaix)