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Mozart: Piano Concerto No 23; Debussy / Thyssens-valentin

Mozart / Debussy / Thyssens-valentin
Release Date: 12/12/2006 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1401   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Claude DebussyGabriel FauréWolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Germaine Thyssens-ValentinJeanne Manchon-Thaďs
Conductor:  Jeanne Manchon-ThaďsBernhard Paumgartner
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I was bowled over by my first encounter with Germaine Thyssens-Valentin — three extraordinary CDs of Fauré on Testament (8/02). Now come more discs, demonstrating that there was more to her than Fauré, though he is again masterfully represented here.

First, though, a concerto performance — Mozart's K488 — filled with exuberance and rhythmic drive in the fast movements, with Thyssens-Valentin occasionally almost leaving the orchestra behind (the wind suffer most, with moments of dodgy tuning and bumpy semiquavers). But in other respects, Paumgartner is a supremely supportive conductor and his forces have a lightness that feels very modern. She treats the first-movement cadenza as a soliloquy of great drama, and
Read more the runs are as smooth as glass. Only in the unadorned slow movement would I take issue with her interpretation — it is very slow, and Mozart's already sparse writing doesn't really work at this tempo. But overall there is much to admire.

She is equally impressive in Debussy, particularly in his dark wartime work En blanc et noir (where she is joined by Jeanne Manchon-Thaïs). The middle movement is particularly telling, the rat-a-tat of the guns starkly etched, while the outer ones are tumultuous and emotionally seering. The two Debussy miniatures and the Fauré items are no less impressive, with the Romances sans paroles delectable and yet utterly unsentimental. Even the final one, a little too slow for my taste (Kathryn Stott gets it spot-on), is so beautifully sung that mere speed ceases to be a consideration. And Fauré's lone Mazurka is perfectly caught, its weirdly insistent figuration creating a characteristic paradox of the unnerving and the charming.

-- Harriet Smith, Gramophone [5/2007]
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Works on This Recording

En blanc et noir by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Germaine Thyssens-Valentin (Piano), Jeanne Manchon-Thaďs (Piano)
Conductor:  Jeanne Manchon-Thaďs
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; France 
Venue:  Salle Adyar, Paris, France 
Length: 16 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Berceuse heroďque by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Germaine Thyssens-Valentin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; France 
Venue:  Salle Adyar, Paris, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Mazurka for Piano by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Germaine Thyssens-Valentin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1890; France 
Venue:  Salle Adyar, Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Romances sans paroles (3) for Piano, Op. 17 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Germaine Thyssens-Valentin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1863; France 
Venue:  Salle Adyar, Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Mazurka for Piano in B flat major, Op. 32 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Germaine Thyssens-Valentin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1878; France 
Venue:  Salle Adyar, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano no 23 in A major, K 488 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Germaine Thyssens-Valentin (Piano)
Conductor:  Bernhard Paumgartner
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1953 
Venue:  Salle Adyar, Paris, France 
Length: 28 Minutes 30 Secs. 

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