Monday, February 29, 2016

Jean Hubeau Plays Franck, Chausson & Dukas

Not one of my reference books lists the French pianist Jean Hubeau, but he is a highly respected artist in his own country ; he studied with Dukas among others and made his debut in 1937. These recordings, made in the studios of French Radio, date from 1987 and 1992.
What we have here is a comprehensive survey of an area of French piano music that covers all of Dukas, everything Chausson published and the principal works of Franck, dating from his rich and long-delayed maturity. Thus, this issue has a documentary importance, enhanced by the pianist’s own link to Dukas and other musicians of his generation. Hubeau’s approach is not that of a virtuoso : rather, he shows himself to be above all a thoughtful musician. In this sense, his playing of the two big Franck triptychs may disappoint some listeners, for, where we usually hear flashing fingers and high drama, he is relatively deliberate in pace and un-projected in tone. Quiet eloquence is the order of the day : try the first two numbers from the Prelude, Choral et Fugue, or the “Aria” from the Prelude, Aria et Final to sample Hubeau’s approach and recognize the nature and quality of his art.
After Franck’s lofty spirituality, Chausson’s Quelques danses of 1896 — three of the four having classical titles that Rameau and Couperin would have understood — take us into a different world, though the first three are thoughtful rather than sprightly ; according to the useful booklet-notes, they tell of “the calm of restful holidays”. The exception is the final “Forlane”, which sounds not at all like one, being rapid, bold and vigorous.
French musicians regard Dukas’s 43 - minute Piano Sonata as a masterpiece, yet it rarely figures in concert programmes ; ironically, the one currently available recording, by Margaret Fingerhut, comes from the British company Chandos. I reviewed that issue, which was entirely devoted to Dukas, and called it “a splendid CD”, for Fingerhut gives the work more urgency and tonal range than Hubeau, though the veteran Frenchman equals her in authority. He is particularly effective in the slow second movement with its deliberate unfolding of lengthy melodic lines and its subtle textures ; and again, in the portentous and even slower finale. Predictably, his account of the brilliant scherzo makes it appear less sparkling than it can be, and although he encompasses its difficulties, it does not seem to flow easily from his fingers. However, this is a work that demands to be heard.
The baroque musings of the same composer’s Rameau Variations sound like his answer to Brahms’s Handel Variations, though they are not equal to that model. In this sober-sided piece, Fingerhut offers more light and shade, but Hubeau is also impressive in his seriousness. Of the remaining two works, the one written in memory of Debussy (La Plainte, in 1921) is remarkable, sounding like that composer rewritten by Messiaen ; Hubeau needs more mystery here. However, this two-disc set from a pianist of an older generation remains a valuable addition to the catalogue.'
Christopher Headington

Source :

Jean Hubeau
Franck, Chausson


Cd. 1

César Franck

Prélude, Choral & Fugue en si mineur
1 Prélude  4:27
2 Choral  5:51
3 Fugue  7:25

4 Les Plaintes d'une poupée  1:53
5 Danse lente  2:21

Prélude, Aria & Final en mi majeur
6 Prélude  8:34
7 Aria  5:37
8 Final  7:04

Ernest Chausson

Quelques Danses, Op. 26
9 Dédicace  2:20
10 Sarabande  3:46
11 Pavane  5:16
12 Forlane  4:05

13 Paysage, Op. 4:01


Cd. 2

Paul Dukas

Piano Sonata in E-Flat minor
(Dédiée à Camille Saint-Saëns)
1 Modérément vite  11:11
2 Calme - un peu lent - très soutenu  11:10
3 Vivement, avec légèreté  8:09
4 Très lent - animé  12:59

Variations, Interlude and Finale
(Sur un thème de Jean-Philippe Rameau)
5 Thème : Le lardon, menuet  0:26
6 Variation I. Tendrement  0:38
7 Variation II. Assez vif, très rythmé  0:33
8 Variation III. Sans hâte, délicatement  1:12
9 Variation IV. Un peu animé, avec légèreté  0:34
10 Variation V. Lent  1:23
11 Variation VI. Modéré  1:13
12 Variation VII. Assez vif  0:27
13 Variation VIII. Très modéré  0:43
14 Variation IX. Animé  0:24
15 Variation X. Sans lenteur, bien marqué  0:46
16 Variation XI. Sombre assez lent  2:24
17 Interlude. Un peu plus lent  2:24
18 Finale (Variation XII). Modérément animé - Vif  4:00

19 Prélude élégiaque  4:25
(Sur  le nom de Haydn)
20 La Plainte, au loin, du Faune  4:39
(Pièce écrite pour "Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy")


Jean Hubeau - p

Recorded at Studio 106, Maison de la Radio, Paris; January 11/13, 1992 [Cd. 1] ; & at the Salle Adyar, Paris ; November, 1987 [Cd. 2]


Melanchthon said...

Ананасий Непитин said...

some of these days, i've found, that cannot browse your blog.
now it's all over and seems to be ok. have no opinion, how could it happen to me...

anyway - thanks for Hubeau, dear Melanchthon.

i love all the heard oeuvre of Dukas, not only his notorious orchestral scherzo 'L'apprenti sorcier'. and his Sonata is among the cherish-able pieces.

Franck was (and still remains) one of my favourite Frenc composers, and i have never heard even a single note written by Chausson for piano.

thanks a lot for it.

Elias said...

I am so grateful for your wonderful, eclectic tatse in music here! Many thanks!

woland said...

Thank you- I love Hubeau, particularly in his recordings of Fauré.

Anonymous said...

Hubeau, Faure, Chausson - thanks so much Mel, true music lives on.

Anonymous said...

Dear Melanchthon
Many thanks for all the fantastic music you're posting. But since a few days I've a problem with the decompression of your 7zx files. The result now is not like it was (a folder containing the numbered and titled FLAC files and a folder with the artworks), but only the files titled like the compressed files and only numbered and an empty folder not numbered. What to do to get back to the usual easy way that was working so well?

Don P said...

Seem to need password to extract 7Zip file, so can't get to the contained files?

Don P said...

Got it now! Many thanks.

Xijia Han said...

Hi! Could you please re-upload it? Thank you!