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La clarinette parisienne

Composer Claude Debussy
André Messager
Francis Poulenc
Henri Rabaud
Camille Saint-Saëns
Charles-Marie Widor
Performer Michael Collins
Noriko Ogawa
Sérgio Pires
Period Modern
Catalogue Number BIS-2497 SACD
EAN 7318599924977
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date May 2021
Total time 61'56

Up until around 1900 the clarinet repertoire was dominated by music from the German-speaking lands, largely due to the influence of three outstanding clarinettists. Inspired by Anton Stadler, Heinrich Bärmann and Richard Mühlfeld respectively, Mozart, Weber and Brahms composed some of the finest clarinet works ever written. But especially after the defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, &&&the French cultural establishment became increasingly concerned with cultivating a national voice of its own, and Michael Collins’s new release is a reminder of this.

The works recorded here all date from the last years of the 19th century and afterwards, and it is striking that four of them (Debussy, Widor, Messager and Rabaud) were written as competition pieces for the Paris Conservatoire – the institution which played such a decisive role in shaping French musical life. But even though they were commissioned for educational purposes there is nothing academic about them: from Debussy’s seductive Rhapsodie to Messager’s light-heartedly brilliant Solo de concours there is instead a definite French – maybe even Parisian – quality to them. This also applies to the Clarinet Sonata by Saint-Saëns, composed in the last year of his life but full of charm and courtly irony. Closing the disc are two works from either end of Francis Poulenc’s life. While the brief Sonata for two clarinets from 1918 is pure and cheeky fun, the 1962 Sonata for Clarinet and Piano is more conflicted emotionally, as indicated by the first movement’s tempo marking Allegro tristamente. Throughout the greater part of the programme, Collins is partnered by Noriko Ogawa, whose pianism has won her particular acclaim in French repertoire, with Sérgio Pires making a guest appearance in Poulenc’s clarinet duo.
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  Claude Debussy
  Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano
01 Première Rhapsodie 7'43
  Charles-Marie Widor
  Introduction et Rondo for clarinet and piano, Op. 72
02 Introduction et Rondo 7'34
  Camille Saint-Saëns
  Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 167 15'11
03 I. Allegretto 4'20
04 II. Allegro animato 1'55
05 III. Lento 4'03
06 IV. Molto allegro 4'53
  André Messager
  Solo de concours for clarinet and piano
07 Solo de concours 5'26
  Henri Rabaud
  Solo de concours for clarinet and piano 
08 Solo de concours 5'16
  Francis Poulenc
  Sonata for Two Clarinets, FP 7 5'38
09 I. Presto 1'42
10 II. Andante 2'09
11 III. Vif 1'47
  Francis Poulenc
  Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, FP 184 13'13
12 I. Allegro tristamente 5'22
13 II. Romanza 4'48
14 III. Allegro con fuoco 3'03
  Album total 61'56
ComposerDebussy, Claude
Messager, André
Poulenc, Francis
Rabaud, Henri
Saint-Saëns, Camille
Widor, Charles-Marie
ClarinetCollins, Michael
Pires, Sérgio
PianoOgawa, Noriko

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