The French Finale

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Thursday, January 01, 2015

French composer Darius Milhaud in February 1938. French composer Darius Milhaud in February 1938. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

It could be said that France’s musical voice is defined by the piano. This week host David Dubal concludes his Piano in France exploration with a medley of piano music from five distinguished French composers: Reynaldo Hahn, Darius Milhaud (a member of Les Six), Olivier Messiaen, Cécile Chaminade and Robert Casadesus. These composers drew separately from his or her own style while sharing an indelible French identity in their music.

The program features several experiments in French composition, from Milhaud’s playful Scaramouche performed in the hands of Elena Hammel and Laura Sánchez, to the Danse from Hahn’s Concerto for Piano & Orchestra in E Major played by Magda Tagliaferro.

Program playlist:

Reynaldo Hahn: Concerto for piano and orchestra in E Major, Danse
Magda Tagliaferro, piano
Dante

Darius Milhaud: Piano Concerto No. 2, Animé
Sari Biro, piano
Pearl

Darius Milhaud: Saudades do Brazil, Ipanema and Gavea
Boaz Sharon, piano
Unicorn

Olivier Messiaen: 20 Scenes from the Infant Christ, Regard de l'esprit de joie
Hayk Melikyan
Self-Released

Reynaldo Hahn: Sonatine in C Major, Allegro non troppo
Magda Tagliaferro, piano
Dante

Cécile Chaminade: Les Sylvains
Francesco Libetta, piano
VIA Audio

Robert Casadesus: Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra op 17, first movement
Genova & Dimitrov Piano Duo, piano
CPO

Reynaldo Hahn: Le Rossignol Eperdu 53 Poems, Matinee parisienne
Earl Wild
Ivory Classics

Darius Milhaud: Scaramouche
Elena Hammel and Laura Sánchez
PoliMusica

Comments [1]

Will there now finally be an end to David Dubal's repeated remarks about how very French all these French composers are? Is there anything meaningful in calling music by a Frenchman distinctively French? If so, what specifically is it? How does it differ from music from someone born on the other side a line? Once, one of his French composers turned out to have been born Belgian— Did that affect the notes he wrote? Did they need to become naturalized?

Jan. 04 2015 10:20 PM

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