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Impressions De France / Moisan, Baril

Debussy / Moisan / Baril
Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2680   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Francis PoulencCamille Saint-SaënsHenri RabaudClaude Debussy,   ... 
Performer:  André MoisanLouise-Andrée Baril
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IMPRESSIONS DE FRANCE André Moisan (cl); Louise-Andrée Baril (pn) ATMA 22680 (65:24)


POULENC Clarinet Sonata. SAINT-SAËNS Clarinet Sonata. RABAUD Solo de concours. DEBUSSY Première Rhapsodie. Petite pièce. WIDOR Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Introduction et rondo. PIERNÉ Canzonetta. FRANÇAIX Tema con variazioni


Since 1999, André Moisan has held the position of principal saxophone and bass clarinet with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and he is on the faculty at the Université de Montréal. The biographical note in Atma Classique’s booklet indicates that he has recorded more than 50 albums; several of them have been for this label. Curiously, this program was recorded in 1996. I don’t know if this is its first release, or if it previously appeared on another label. In any case, better late than never, because Impressions de France is a fine example of what can be done with this repertoire.


Moisan has a clear, penetrating tone which nevertheless never becomes shrill—his sound is lean, light, and clean. There is wit, where needed (the outer movements of the Poulenc Sonata, for example), but not buffoonery. He finds the gravity needed for the Lento movement of Saint-Saëns Sonata without allowing the music to turn leaden. He plays soulfully, but avoids bringing too much sweetness to the middle movement of the Poulenc, or to Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie. Any young clarinetist who played Henri Rabaud’s Solo de concours with Moisan’s facility and understanding surely would win a top prize. His phrasing is fluid and imaginative, and he is attentive to the music’s shifting colors and textures. He doesn’t convince me that the less-familiar work by Widor is unjustly neglected, but he does bring plenty of well-behaved charm to Pierné’s bouncy Canzonetta . Jean Françaix’s Tema con variazioni is efficiency made incarnate: a sequence of aphorisms and one-liners, told by the composer (and the performer) like an experienced raconteur. Baril’s partnership with Moisan is supportive and like-minded. Poulenc’s sonata is played in the “original version.” Apparently, a few errors (three in the first movement, one in the third) crept into the published edition, and these have been corrected here. I doubt that this will be noticed by anyone save other clarinetists and Poulenc scholars, but it is good that Moisan made the effort. Similarly, Moisan’s performance of Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie , from the composer’s manuscript, differs in a few places from the published Durand edition, but not strikingly.


The microphones pick up more key noise than one usually hears in a clarinet recital. If this bothers you, you have been warned, but I don’t think it should deter most listeners. The balance between the clarinet and the piano is ideal, and the booklet notes, apart from an occasional solecism (“Honneger,” for example), are nicely done.


FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  André Moisan (Clarinet), Louise-Andrée Baril (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; France 
2. Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E flat major, Op. 167 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  André Moisan (Clarinet), Louise-Andrée Baril (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1921; France 
3. Solo de concours, Op. 10 by Henri Rabaud
Performer:  André Moisan (Clarinet), Louise-Andrée Baril (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1901; Paris, France 
4. Première Rhapsodie for Clarinet and Piano by Claude Debussy
Performer:  André Moisan (Clarinet), Louise-Andrée Baril (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
5. Petite pièce for Clarinet and Piano by Claude Debussy
Performer:  André Moisan (Clarinet), Louise-Andrée Baril (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
6. Introduction et Rondo for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 72 by Charles-Marie Widor
Performer:  André Moisan (Clarinet), Louise-Andrée Baril (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1898; France 
7. Canzonetta, for clarinet & piano by Gabriel Pierné
Performer:  André Moisan (Clarinet), Louise-Andrée Baril (Piano)
Period: Post-Romantic 
8. Tema con Variazioni for Clarinet and Piano by Jean Françaix
Performer:  André Moisan (Clarinet), Louise-Andrée Baril (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974; France 

Sound Samples

Clarinet Sonata, FP 184: I. Allegro tristamente
Clarinet Sonata, FP 184: II. Romanza
Clarinet Sonata, FP 184: III. Allegro con fuoco
Clarinet Sonata in E flat major, Op. 167: I. Allegretto
Clarinet Sonata in E flat major, Op. 167: II. Allegro animato
Clarinet Sonata in E flat major, Op. 167: III. Lento
Clarinet Sonata in E flat major, Op. 167: IV. Molto allegro
Solo de Concours, Op. 10
Premiere rapsodie: Premiere Rhapsodie
Petite piece: Petite Piece
Introduction et rondo, Op. 72
Canzonetta, Op. 19: Canzonetta, Op.19
Tema con 8 variazioni: I. Tema
Tema con 8 variazioni: II. Larghetto misterioso
Tema con 8 variazioni: III. Presto
Tema con 8 variazioni: IV. Moderato
Tema con 8 variazioni: V. Adagio
Tema con 8 variazioni: VI. Tempo di valza
Tema con 8 variazioni: VII. Cadenza
Tema con 8 variazioni: VIII. Prestissimo

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