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Dubugnon: Piano Quartet, Etc / Daniel, Dubugnon, Et Al

Release Date: 01/21/2003 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8555778   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Dubugnon
Performer:  Viv McLeanIllka LehtonenMatthew SharpJulia Knight,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Academy Wind Soloists
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Naxos continues its "21st Century Classics" series with a disc of works by the young French/Swiss composer Richard Dubugnon. According to his biography, he only took up study of harmony and his instrument, the double bass, at age 20, after earning a degree in history. Since that time, he's accumulated a swath of awards as an instrumentalist, and when we hear him play his own Trois évocations finlandaises for solo bass, we understand why. But it is his strengths as a composer that have netted him a host of composition prizes and commissions along with this Naxos album.

You might argue quite fairly that Dubugnon's music looks backward rather than forward: he is
Read more far more indebted to Ravel and Fauré than to any composers writing after 1940. Maybe it's reactionary music, but even so there's no denying its gorgeousness. His basic palette is one of great warmth. Splendid chromaticisms and long, sustained phrases color the Piano Quartet, which was directly inspired by Fauré's own work for the same medium. A similar kind of expansiveness characterizes the three-movement Incantatio for cello and piano; cellist Matthew Sharp's lyrical and expressive reading of the opening Evocatio highlights Dubugnon's obvious love of vocal music. (Dubugnon has written a chamber opera and a few song cycles, and plans to devote his future work largely to opera.) Sharp's extended cadenza in the second movement is no less impressive.

The second half of the collection turns to works for wind instruments in solo and chamber settings. The impressive Cinq Masques for solo oboe, performed with great skill and feeling by Nicholas Daniel, brings to mind the moodiness and expansiveness of Debussy (as well as his rhythmic vivacity). Each of the piece's five movements is a portrait of a mask from a different culture: the last, for example, is entitled Etruscan Mask--and the ending breaks off mid-phrase and unresolved, a clever evocation of an archeological fragment. 1997's brief Canonic Verses for oboe, cor anglais and oboe d'amore has a texture that at first seems much more angular, fractured and texturally busy than the composer's other works, but it gradually reveals itself as the series of canons advertised in the title. The Frenglish Suite for wind quintet from the same year follows a similar line as the Verses: sputtering, brief, rhythmically vigorous phrases are interspersed with luxuriously drawn out lines.

It's hyperbole to call brand-new works "classics", but Dubugnon has a compelling voice nonetheless. Between the music, all-around exemplary performances, and Naxos' rich, full sound, this is an easy recommendation for new music fans. [3/1/2003]
--Anastasia Tsioulcas, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Quartet for Piano and Strings by Richard Dubugnon
Performer:  Viv McLean (Piano), Illka Lehtonen (Violin), Matthew Sharp (Cello),
Julia Knight (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998 
Incantatio by Richard Dubugnon
Performer:  Dominic Harlan (Piano), Matthew Sharp (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996-2000 
Évocations finlandaises (3) for Double Bass by Richard Dubugnon
Performer:  Richard Dubugnon (Double Bass)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991 
Masques (5) by Richard Dubugnon
Performer:  Nicholas Daniel (Oboe)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994-1995 
Canonic Verses for Oboe, English Horn and Oboe d'amore by Richard Dubugnon
Performer:  Nicholas Daniel (Oboe), Emma Fielding (English Horn), Sai Kai (Oboe d'amore)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997 
Frenglish Suite by Richard Dubugnon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Academy Wind Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997 

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