Yvonne Lefebure: Piano Recital | Testament SBT1497

Yvonne Lefebure: Piano Recital


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Label: Testament

Cat No: SBT1497

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 20th October 2014



In August 1962 Yvonne Lefébure was invited to take part in the Edinburgh Festival Debussy Centenary recital with Peter Pears. At this morning concert she accompanied Pears in the 'Ariettes oubliées' and 'Fêtes galantes', and preceded this with a performance of Book I of the Préludes. A critic noted that, ‘Miss Lefébure has, in the past, proved that her musical sympathies are broad, but for Debussy’s piano music she has a special gift’.

During August of the following year, Lefébure was again in the UK taking part in the summer music school at Dartington Hall in Devon, where her fellow pedagogues were Vlado Perlemuter, George Malcolm and Steven Bishop. Just prior to this, she recorded Book II of Debussy’s Préludes for the BBC.

Lefébure had been invited to perform Ravel’s 'Piano Concerto in G major' at the Proms on 14 August 1961 with the London Symphony Orchestra and John Prichard. It was her first appearance at London’s premiere summer music festival but she only made one further appearance, playing the same work in the 1965 season. While in London in 1961 she recorded a studio recital and this forms the rest of the programme on this CD.

Predominantly French repertoire again, Lefébure also included a group of fifteen Waltzes by Schubert in contrast to Ravel’s set of Valses. Her contact with Ravel would surely have coloured her interpretation of the Valses nobles et sentimentals which is played with Lefébure’s hall mark vigour and zest for life. She underpins the rhythms in the faster movements and always plays with clarity and transparency, even in the loudest passages.

As a young girl, Lefébure knew Fauré who said, ‘She is born for Beethoven’. Indeed, Lefébure had a great admiration for and understanding of Beethoven’s music as is evident in her interpretations and recordings of his Piano Sonata in A flat Op.110. One would imagine that her contact with Fauré led to some insights when performing the French composer’s music. She said of the Nocturne No.6 in D flat Op.63, ‘It has always been in my repertoire, and I never fail to feel the emotion, or the admiration that a deep analysis of the work gives: how can you describe the enchantment of the passage in A major, where one would like to be a flute and harp at the same time, whilst waiting for the return of the two main episodes? And if the coda moves us this time, it is because of its calm and intimate poetry.’

In the three works recorded here, Lefébure displays a perfect understanding of this music that is often impenetrable to pianists – particularly the later works such as the rarely played Nocturne No.13 Op.119 published in 1922.

Lefébure’s noble convictions and interpretation of music were evident in every performance and masterclass she gave. For her, music was a living, breathing entity which she passed to her students and, fortunately for us, has been preserved in her recordings.

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