WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org
Welcome to ArkivMusic, the retail store for CLOFO!

Le Piano Francais - Rivier, Casadesus, Wiener, Casterede / Altwegg


Release Date: 12/10/2013 
Label:  Guild   Catalog #: 7391   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean RivierRobert CasadesusJean WiénerJacques Castérède
Performer:  Timon Altwegg
Conductor:  Gilles Colliard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



LE PIANO FRANÇAIS Timon Altwegg (pn); Gilles Colliard, cond; Toulouse CO GUILD 7391 (69:00)


RIVIER Concerto Brève. CASADESUS Capriccio. WIÉNER Piano Concerto No. 1, “Franco Américain.” CASTÉRÈDE Piano Concerto
Read more />
Once again the Swiss label Guild has reached out to a neighboring country (last time it was a group of English oboe concertos), this time to give us an exhilarating program of French concertante works for piano soloist and string orchestra, including two first recordings (the Casadesus and the Castérède) and two much-needed modern recordings (the Rivier and the Wiéner). And they have assigned these four very idiomatic pieces to a brilliant pianist—Timon Altwegg—who gives them breathtakingly virtuoso and sympathetic interpretations.


The neoclassicist Jean Rivier (1896–1987) was one of the grand old men of 20th-century French Modernism, both as a prolific composer (eight symphonies, dozens of concertos, and miscellaneous orchestral and chamber works) and as a highly regarded educator who taught a whole younger generation of French composers. According to the very informative booklet by the ever reliable Robert Matthew-Walker, this Concerto Brève constitutes Rivier’s second and more compact piano concerto: How this listener would love to hear the earlier, longer 1941 Concerto someday! This “short” Concerto dates from the 1950s and is a breathtakingly tart and brittle work lasting barely 10 minutes, but it covers a good deal of ground, both technically and temperamentally, with enormous dash and panache. This recording easily supplants the dim but landmark Barclay ORF Inédits vinyl issue of more than four decades ago.


Next comes a four-movement Capriccio by the outstanding French pianist-composer Robert Casadesus (1899–1972). Although his international reputation was primarily based on his keyboard prowess, Casadesus also found time to produce a substantial body of music, including seven symphonies and several concertos for his instrument, as well as some lovely chamber music, much of which was once available on LP. (A few years back it seemed Chandos was planning to record all of the symphonies: Three of them were issued, but after a typically bilious and patronizing review in Gramophone Magazine, the project seems to have been shelved.) This characteristically congenial and hedonistic Capriccio is an ideal example of Casadesus’s sophisticated and balanced synthesis of the best of 20th-century French post-Impressionist masters—Ravel, Roussel, and Honegger.


Jean Wiéner (1896–1982) was a curious but unique figure in 20th-century French musical life. His background as a popular jazz pianist and cabaret performer left its mark on all of his output, which included several piano sonatas, a couple of concertos, and a number of film scores. This Concerto’s subtitle “Franco-Américain” indicates the stylistic orientation of this elegant if not over-cerebral work, which sometimes seems more classically polite and restrained than one would have expected. In any case, the obscure vinyl first recording by the composer is now pretty much eclipsed by this sparkling new version.


The program ends with the longest and most emotionally compelling work here—a four-movement Piano Concerto (the first of two) by the versatile and not sufficiently appreciated (even in his own country) Jacques Castérède (b. 1926). He is an important member of that tremendously talented generation of French composers born in the decade between 1920 and 1930: Roger Calmel, Charles Chaynes, Jacques Bondon, Jean-Michel Damase, Pierre-Max Dubois, etc. His Concerto is considerably longer and probes more deeply than any of the other three—the 10-minute Nocturne is especially haunting—and its overall modal writing endows the music with a strong Gallic-pastoral profile, providing a fittingly fluid and lyrical capstone to what has to be on of the most gratifying and discographically significant issues of the year. All Francophiles should take immediate note.


FANFARE: Paul A. Snook
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto breve for Piano by Jean Rivier
Performer:  Timon Altwegg (Piano)
Conductor:  Gilles Colliard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953 
2.
Capriccio for Piano and Strings, Op. 49 by Robert Casadesus
Performer:  Timon Altwegg (Piano)
Conductor:  Gilles Colliard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 1 "Franco Americain" by Jean Wiéner
Performer:  Timon Altwegg (Piano)
Conductor:  Gilles Colliard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Concerto for Piano by Jacques Castérède
Performer:  Timon Altwegg (Piano)
Conductor:  Gilles Colliard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title