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Fauré: Nocturnes, Preludes, Etc / Sevilla

Release Date: 02/28/2006 
Label:  Timpani   Catalog #: 2083   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Jean-Paul Sevilla
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FAURÉ Nocturnes: No. 1?13. Thème et variations, op. 73. Pièces brèves , op. 84. Préludes, op. 103 ? Jean-Paul Sevilla (pn) ? TIMPANI 2083 (2 CDs: 142:10)

This is a less complex Fauré than one is accustomed to?consistently weightier, darker, and sadder. Jean-Paul Sevilla brings a lifetime of Read more performance and reflection to these works, which he makes explicit in his annotations, ?The Performer?s Point of View,? and articulate in a play of light escaping from a range of shadows, which may put one in mind of the infinite variations of sober somberness essayed by old Dutch masters. By comparison, my own candidate for consistent divination, the great Jean Doyen (nla Erato 96220), can, on occasion, seem airheaded or glib. He isn?t, but where?often in Fauré?tension escalates and agonizing or ecstatic are a hair?s breadth apart, Sevilla tilts toward nostalgia, wistfulness, regret, where Doyen evinces transcendent lift. Of the Second Nocturne, for instance, Sevilla writes:

?. . . the second part . . . strangely reminds me of the central part of the 13th Nocturne . Indeed, following a first part which resembles a very graceful and charming barcarolle , the second part could be a toccata in the style of Saint-Saëns. As for me I prefer to ignore the aspect too percussive here and rather give weight and density to the passage by emphasizing the sinister aspect I feel in it: it goes better with the lyricism of the theme which adds itself to the perpetual motion of the semi-quavers.?

That?s debatable. To my ears, Doyen?s toccata-like soaring awakens a sense of flame-edged peril where Sevilla?s restrained account smolders with unrealized drama, though the damping down is in keeping with his generally subdued sense of Fauré. Nor do the later nocturnes, through which mourning and nostalgia loom large, reveal more to Sevilla, who reads them as wanly involved rather than, say, in the 13th, the fiercely despairing flight everyone from Yvonne Lefébure to Vladimir Horowitz heard in it. In the theme of the Theme and Variations Sevilla finds ?the character of a noble and solemn funeral march? prompting a stately and strictly business march through?no unseemly yielding to fantasy?marked by bold contrasts. The Pièces brèves and Préludes are subjected to likewise sober reckonings?careworn, anxious, fretful, rattling, and so on. In other hands, a certain ambiguity?unsettled feeling projected with deft urbanity?is part of their power: Sevilla, though possessed of the requisite légèreté , will have none of it and comes down firmly on the side of malheur . It is a revisionist view of Fauré from which ?the master of charms? has been banished?for better or worse is a matter of taste, but hearing Sevilla beside players who inhabited Fauré?s world, for instance, Marguerite Long, Yvonne Lefébure, Jean Doyen, will make decisively clear what they shared and where the postmodern era has parted company with them. Recorded between 1995 and 2002 in different venues, sound is immediate?in open aural frames?and never less than closely detailed.

FANFARE: Adrian Corleonis
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Works on This Recording

Preludes (9) for Piano, Op. 103 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Jean-Paul Sevilla (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
Theme and Variations for Piano in C sharp minor, Op. 73 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Jean-Paul Sevilla (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; France 
Pičces brčves (8) for Piano, Op. 84 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Jean-Paul Sevilla (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869-1902; France 

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