Saturday, April 30, 2016

Yvonne Lefébure Plays Fauré & Dukas

There must be very few people still alive today who actually knew Fauré well. As a young child, I was fortunate enough to meet him, and to play for him ; he was always extremely kind and encouraging. I was eleven when Marguerite Long introduced us ; it was in a friend's salon and I played him a Beethoven Sonata. He amazed and delighted me by giving me a superb photo of himself (how proud I felt), with the dedication "For Yvonne Lefébure, in memory of Beethoven's E-Flat Sonata". I also remember the things he said, which in a way, caused me to devote myself so much to Beethoven ; ever since my childhood, Beethoven has marked out the different stages of my career. But my most moving memory of Fauré is that of my last visit to his home — in the rue des Vignes, not long before he died ; he was as welcoming as ever, and with the same wonderful simplicity ; he received the young ex-Beethoven specialist who, from the beginning of her piano career, had become every bit as much of a Fauréan. As a child I had been greatly impressed by the expressive beauty of his face, and the gentle, dark fieriness of his eyes ; now I found him so frail and anxious, ravaged by physical and mental suffering — for me, still unaware of what a gift youth is, it was a poignant revealation of old age. Greatly moved to see him again, I played his Theme and Variations — he had already heard me play them but that was just before my first Paris recital. He listened also to my playing of his recently published chamberworks — the Second Sonata for Cello and Piano, the Trio, and the Second Quintet, which I loved enormously. He was still as attentive as ever, sitting very close to the piano, watching my hands, and his comments — particularly about tempi (the slow rmovements, including the theme of the Variations, were always too slow for his taste), were precise, in spite of the cruel affliction which prevented him hearing sounds at their real pitch. Every detail of this last unforgettable meeting is still very present in my memory...
I chose these five Nocturnes, two Impromptus and the Theme and Variations with a definite plan in mind : with just a few piano pieces, I wanted to demonstrate the three periods of Fauré's style. Since Beethoven we've got used to classifying a composer's works according to their evolution, and in Fauré's case, "evolution" is certainly the right word. I would even go as far as to say "metamorphosis" because after Pénélope (1912), what relationship can be found between an early work like The Butterfly and the Flower (Op. 1), and The Chimerical Horizon (Op. 118), to mention only the songs ? Between what could be called his first and second styles, the frontier is difficult to define because there are anticipations of the second style in the first (eg, in the First Nocturne), and returns to the ravishing voluptuousness of first period works in mature compositions, like the Fifth Barcarolle, Op. 65, and the Sixth Barcarolle, Op. 70. On the other hand, with Pénélope and all that follows, the master's third style is to be found on every page he wrote up to his last work, the String Quartet, Op. 121 of 1924, the year he died...
Yvonne Lefébure, février 1981 (translated by Gerald Glynn, booklet)

Yvonne Lefébure
Plays
Fauré & Dukas

Tracks

Gabriel Fauré
(1845-1924)

1 Thème & variations in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 73  13:57
2 Nocturne n° 6 in D-Flat Major, Op. 63  7:16
3 Nocturne n° 7 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 74  6:56
4 Nocturne n° 1 in E-Flat Minor, Op. 33 n° 1, Op. 33 n° 1  6:27
5 Impromptu n° 2 in F Minor, Op. 31, Op. 31  3:13
6 Nocturne n° 12 in E Minor, Op. 107, Op. 107  5:23
7 Impromptu n° 5 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 102, Op. 102  2:12
8 Nocturne n° 13 in B Minor, Op. 119, Op. 119  6:02

Paul Dukas
(1865-1935)

9 Variations, Interlude et Finale  16:42
(Sur un thème de Rameau)
10 Prélude élégiaque  3:38
(Sur le nom de Haydn)

*

Yvonne Lefébure - p

Recorded in Paris ; November 24 & 26 & December 2, 1980 [# 1-8] ; et October 21/24, 1974 [# 9 & 10]

5 comments:

Melanchthon said...

http://www111.zippyshare.com/v/AFENkqTV/file.html
http://www111.zippyshare.com/v/a8t26PGF/file.html

Historicus said...

Thanks a lot!

Gaetano Bevilacqua said...

Many thanks

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Hi,
Thanks in B Minor
Pedro

glinka21 said...

...the Second Quintet, which I loved enormously. He was still as attentive as ever, sitting very close to the piano, watching my hands, and his comments — particularly about tempi (the slow rmovements, including the theme of the Variations, were always too slow for his taste)...

Fascinating to read. Long was someone Faure didn't like at all, according to Nectoux's exhaustive musico-biography, in part because she treated his music as a wash of soft Impressionism. It would appear this may have bothered him about Lefebure, who was a Long protege, too. She certainly doesn't sound it in these recordings, mind you.