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Mathieu, Addinsell, Gershwin: Piano Concertos/ Alain Lefèvre


Release Date: 10/21/2003 
Label:  Analekta   Catalog #: 29814   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard AddinsellGeorge GershwinAndré Mathieu
Performer:  Alain Lefèvre
Conductor:  Yoav Talmi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quebec Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

What a fascinating novelty André Mathieu's Concerto de Québec is! A child prodigy of Mozartian facility, Mathieu wrote the work in the early 1940s when he was all of 13 years old(!), on the way to a tragic career in which emotional disturbance and burnout led to a premature death in 1968, age 39. Alain Lefèvre has undertaken some yeoman work collating sources and editing the piece for performance, and a more entertaining pastiche you won't find this side of Hoffnung's Concerto Populare. Imagine the Gallic sensibility of Saint-Säens married to piano writing in the style of Rachmaninov, all at the service of melodies that have their source in everything from Tchaikovsky to Mendelssohn to Poulenc to Mozart's Turkish Read more Rondo, and you'll get the idea. Formally speaking, well, let's just say that there really isn't any, but who cares? The tunes are terrific, the piano writing heedlessly brilliant, the orchestration endearingly over the top (note the arrival of the cymbals, with a vengeance, at the climax of the slow movement), and the whole so much fun that you'll simply be swept up in the youthful enthusiasm of it all. Lefèvre plays the piece as if it were the greatest music in the world, and he gets excellent backing from Yoav Talmi and the Quebec orchestra.


Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto, also extremely well played, makes an excellently chosen coupling, as does Gershwin's Concerto in F, here receiving a very relaxed but crisply elegant reading characterized by Lefèvre's careful attention to rhythm and Talmi's joy in uncovering little bits of orchestral detail that often go unnoticed in swifter, gutsier readings. It's not by any means a conventional interpretation; perhaps the slow tempos combined with the proximity of Mathieu's sprawling jeu d'esprit make Gershwin sound like a formal genius in comparison, and after so much Romantic gushing a performance that emphasizes the music's wistful poetry seems just the ticket. I'm not ready to retire Wild/Fiedler just yet, but I enjoyed this alternate view very much. Very well balanced recorded sound with a wide dynamic range and a warm room ambiance allow you to wallow to your heart's content. Buy this wonderful release and play the Concerto de Québec for your friends and ask them to guess the composer. It will be worth the price of the disc merely to see the expression on their faces when you tell them the truth. [11/10/2003]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell
Performer:  Alain Lefèvre (Piano)
Conductor:  Yoav Talmi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quebec Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; England 
2.
Concerto for Piano in F major by George Gershwin
Performer:  Alain Lefèvre (Piano)
Conductor:  Yoav Talmi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quebec Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
3.
Concerto de Québec by André Mathieu
Performer:  Alain Lefèvre (Piano)
Conductor:  Yoav Talmi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quebec Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; Canada 

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