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Reynaldo Hahn: Oeuvres Concertantes, Vol. 1

Hahn / Clavier / Orchestre National De Lorraine
Release Date: 05/28/2013 
Label:  Maguelone   Catalog #: 111106   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Denis ClavierAngéline Pondepeyre
Conductor:  Fernand Quattrocchi
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HAHN Violin Concerto. 1 Piano Concerto 2. Suite Hongroise 1,2 Fernand Quattrocchi, cond; 1 Denis Clavier (vn); 2 Angéline Pondepeyre (pn); O Natl de Lorraine MAGUELONE 111.106 (73:56)

Whatever claims were made for the high quality of Read more Reynaldo Hahn’s chamber music—and, as I pointed out in my review elsewhere in this issue, it is of a high quality indeed despite its lightness of spirit—one simply cannot make them for his Violin Concerto. This is a piece that simply sounds like an extended operetta scene with violin obbligato; the opening of it resembles somewhat a scene from Der Rosenkavalier, but as the piece goes on it becomes much more a French soufflé of bubbly tunes that might easily have been written by Adolphe Adam in the early 19th century. Nor does it really develop well, or change much, as the music progresses: It’s just the same light-hearted frou-frou from start to finish. Appropriately, violinist Denis Clavier (now there’s a contradiction between the artist’s name and his instrument!) limns the music with a wonderful melodic flow, lightness and charm, but I personally look for more than lightness and charm in a violin concerto. The second movement, titled “Chant d’amour,” closely resembles Hahn’s song style, only in greatly expanded form. This movement is well developed, at least up to a point. This was obviously a form with which Hahn was comfortable and familiar. And here, especially, Clavier’s playing is absolutely exquisite, delicate, and touching as one might expect from a piece by Hahn. The last movement, predictably, falls into a jolly rondo theme, in form perhaps similar to something Mendelssohn might have written but lacking his genius. The violin concerto is a live performance, but I could not find the exact venue or date listed anywhere on the jewel box insert or in the booklet. This is also the world premiere recording.

The Piano Concerto sounds a bit less like an operetta, but is similarly light in both mood and content. The piano part sparkles its way through upward chromatic runs and scale runs on the keyboard, the orchestral accompaniment toodles along nicely, but not much is said except for a lovely, slow middle section in the first movement, a close cousin of the violin concerto’s slow movement. The short second movement is slightly interesting chromatically, sounding like a modern cousin of Mendelssohn’s Scherzo from his Midsummer Night’s Dream music. The “Rêverie” that opens the third movement is also much like one of Hahn’s songs, but again it doesn’t really develop all that much, and when you hit the “Toccata et Finale,” you’re back in operetta-land, albeit operetta-land with lots of flashy chromatic runs on the keyboard.

To a certain extent, the Suite Hongroise (also a world premiere recording) is the most satisfying piece on this disc because it doesn’t have to compete with so many better works in the concerto classification. A lovely, straightforward, uncomplicated piece, it bounces along at a nice clip with the solo violin playing nice tunes and countermelodies against the piano. As in the piano concerto, Angéline Pondepeyre’s playing is smooth, facile and appropriately light-hearted, but to a certain extent I liked the orchestra better here because it is entertaining without attempting to do too much. A nice disc, then, recommended only if you’re a Hahn fanatic.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

Violin Concerto by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Denis Clavier (Violin)
Conductor:  Fernand Quattrocchi
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1927 
Date of Recording: 09/1997 
Venue:  Live  Grande Salle, L'Arsenal de Metz, France 
Length: 29 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano in E major by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Angéline Pondepeyre (Piano)
Conductor:  Fernand Quattrocchi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; France 
Date of Recording: 09/1997 
Venue:  Live  Grande Salle, L'Arsenal de Metz, France 
Length: 28 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Suite honogroise, for violin, piano, percussion & strings by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Denis Clavier (Violin), Angéline Pondepeyre (Piano)
Conductor:  Fernand Quattrocchi
Period: Post-Romantic 
Date of Recording: 09/1997 
Venue:  Live  Grande Salle, L'Arsenal de Metz, France 
Length: 18 Minutes 1 Secs. 

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