French Piano Concertos | Brilliant Classics 95899

French Piano Concertos

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Label: Brilliant Classics

Cat No: 95899

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 12

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 12th April 2019

Contents

Works

Alkan, Charles Valentin

Concerto da camera in A minor, op.10 no.1
Concerto da camera in C sharp minor, op.10 no.2
Concerto da camera in C sharp minor, op.10 no.3

Boieldieu, Francois Adrien

Piano Concerto in F major

Boulanger, Nadia

Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra

Chaminade, Cecile

Concertstuck in C sharp minor, op.40

d'Indy, Vincent

Symphonie sur un chant montagnard francais (Symphony on a French Mountain Air), op.25

Debussy, Claude

Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, L73

Faure, Gabriel

Ballade in F sharp major, op.19

Francaix, Jean

Concerto for 2 pianos and orchestra
Piano Concerto

Franck, Cesar

Les Djinns, M45
Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra

Hahn, Reynaldo

Piano Concerto in E major

Lalo, Edouard

Piano Concerto

Massenet, Jules

Piano Concerto in E flat major

Milhaud, Darius

Ballade for piano and orchestra
Fantaisie Pastorale, op.188
Le Carnaval d'Aix, op.83b
Piano Concerto no.1, op.127
Piano Concerto no.2, op.228
Piano Concerto no.3, op.270
Piano Concerto no.4, op.295
Piano Concerto no.5, op.346

Pierne, Gabriel

Piano Concerto in C minor, op.12

Poulenc, Francis

Concerto in D minor for 2 pianos and orchestra
Piano Concerto

Ravel, Maurice

Piano Concerto in D major for the left hand
Piano Concerto in G major

Roussel, Albert

Piano Concerto in G major, op.36

Saint-Saens, Camille

Africa - fantasy for piano and orchestra, op.89
Piano Concerto no.1 in D major, op.17
Piano Concerto no.2 in G minor, op.22
Piano Concerto no.3 in E flat major, op.29
Piano Concerto no.4 in C minor, op.44
Piano Concerto no.5 in F major, op.103 'Egyptian'

Tailleferre, Germaine

Ballade for piano and orchestra

Artists

Mona Bard
Rica Bard
Giovanni Bellucci
Romain Descharmes
Maryleene Dosse
Martin Galling
Michael Korstick
Maria Littauer
Rosario Marciano
Claude Paillard-Franccaix
Gabriel Tacchino
Magda Tagliaferro
Franccois-Joeel Thiollier
Florian Uhlig
Martijn van der Hoek
Klara Wurtz

Works

Alkan, Charles Valentin

Concerto da camera in A minor, op.10 no.1
Concerto da camera in C sharp minor, op.10 no.2
Concerto da camera in C sharp minor, op.10 no.3

Boieldieu, Francois Adrien

Piano Concerto in F major

Boulanger, Nadia

Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra

Chaminade, Cecile

Concertstuck in C sharp minor, op.40

d'Indy, Vincent

Symphonie sur un chant montagnard francais (Symphony on a French Mountain Air), op.25

Debussy, Claude

Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, L73

Faure, Gabriel

Ballade in F sharp major, op.19

Francaix, Jean

Concerto for 2 pianos and orchestra
Piano Concerto

Franck, Cesar

Les Djinns, M45
Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra

Hahn, Reynaldo

Piano Concerto in E major

Lalo, Edouard

Piano Concerto

Massenet, Jules

Piano Concerto in E flat major

Milhaud, Darius

Ballade for piano and orchestra
Fantaisie Pastorale, op.188
Le Carnaval d'Aix, op.83b
Piano Concerto no.1, op.127
Piano Concerto no.2, op.228
Piano Concerto no.3, op.270
Piano Concerto no.4, op.295
Piano Concerto no.5, op.346

Pierne, Gabriel

Piano Concerto in C minor, op.12

Poulenc, Francis

Concerto in D minor for 2 pianos and orchestra
Piano Concerto

Ravel, Maurice

Piano Concerto in D major for the left hand
Piano Concerto in G major

Roussel, Albert

Piano Concerto in G major, op.36

Saint-Saens, Camille

Africa - fantasy for piano and orchestra, op.89
Piano Concerto no.1 in D major, op.17
Piano Concerto no.2 in G minor, op.22
Piano Concerto no.3 in E flat major, op.29
Piano Concerto no.4 in C minor, op.44
Piano Concerto no.5 in F major, op.103 'Egyptian'

Tailleferre, Germaine

Ballade for piano and orchestra

Artists

Mona Bard
Rica Bard
Giovanni Bellucci
Romain Descharmes
Maryleene Dosse
Martin Galling
Michael Korstick
Maria Littauer
Rosario Marciano
Claude Paillard-Franccaix
Gabriel Tacchino
Magda Tagliaferro
Franccois-Joeel Thiollier
Florian Uhlig
Martijn van der Hoek
Klara Wurtz

About

This gorgeous set is dedicated to piano concertante works from the pens of French composers – infinitely varied compositions that nevertheless each bear the unmistakeable flavour of their native idiom. The French piano concerto was a late arrival on the European stage, and even then many French composers would opt to combine piano and orchestra outside the confines of strict concerto form. This 12-CD set homes in on the genre’s heyday – the century or so spanning Saint-Saëns’s pioneering First Piano Concerto (1858) to Françaix’s nostalgic Concerto for 2 Pianos (1965) – along with two precursors: a two-movement Concerto in F (1792) by the ‘French Mozart’ Boieldieu and the early Concerti da camera op.10 (1832–38) by the maverick genius Alkan.

The set begins with the five piano concertos that traverse Saint-Saëns’s career, along with concertante pieces he composed in the 1880s during a 20-year hiatus between his Fourth (1875) and Fifth (1896). The ’80s were fertile for Saint-Saëns’s contemporary Franck, as well, who returned to the piano after decades focusing on the organ and on choral music to create such piano concertante masterworks as Les Djinns and the Variations symphoniques.

The latter work was an influence on Claude Debussy’s Fantaisie, in terms of the roles assigned to the orchestra and solo piano and the work’s structure, and like Franck before him, Debussy would disown this youthful work to move in a new direction – surprising given the warm reception enjoyed today by the early works of both composers.

The influence of Saint-Saëns and Franck would extend to several of Debussy’s contemporaries, as well. Some would rebel against concerto form – Gabriel Fauré with his episodic Ballade op.19, Cécile Chaminade with her single-movement Concertstück op.40 and Vincent D’Indy with his three-movement Symphony on a French Mountain Air – while others would embrace it – the Concerto in C minor op.12 of Gabriel Pierné emulating Saint-Saëns’s Second yet foreshadowing Rachmaninov, and the epic Concerto in F minor by Édouard Lalo harking back to Liszt.

Jules Massenet’s Concerto in E flat, begun in his early twenties, but only finished at the turn of the century after his many successful operas, arrived too late for the shifting tastes of the time, which had turned their back on romantic virtuosity in favour of the impressionistic and neo-classical. The group known as ‘Les Six’ (The Six) represented the next generation of French composers exploring these new directions in the wake of the First World War. Three of their number figure on this set: Francis Poulenc and the charm and wit of his Concertos for one and for two pianos, Germaine Tailleferre and the impressionistic orientalism of her Ballade, and the prolific Darius Milhaud who contributes no less than five piano concertos and four other concertante pieces.

Their younger colleague Jean Françaix was among the many great names to have studied with seminal French composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. She is represented here by her forward-looking 1912 Fantaisie, while her student Françaix, like Poulenc, offers Concertos for one (1936) and for two (1965) pianos, the former dedicated to his teacher and the latter looking back to Poulenc. Albert Roussel and Reynaldo Hahn, though older than the members of ‘Les Six’, would only come to write piano concertos in their 50s, well into the inter-war period. Hahn’s concerto is featured here in a very special remastered historic recording from 1937, with the composer at the podium and the renowned Brazilian pianist Magda Tagliaferro as soloist.

Maurice Ravel likewise came late to the piano concerto, but then wrote two simultaneously, one for piano two hands and one for the left hand alone, on commissions from Serge Koussevitzky and Paul Wittgenstein, respectively. Both were given their premieres within a few weeks of each other in 1932.

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