Saturday, May 20, 2017

Maurice Emmanuel - Les Six Sonatines pour piano

Maurice Emmanuel (1862-1938) composed seventy three scores, but he was a severe critic of himself, and destroyed or forbade the performance of more than half of them, keeping only thirty. In addition to the Trente chansons bourguignonnes, Op. 15, the surviving works include a Sonata for cello and piano, Op. 2 (1887), a Quartet in B-Flat, Op. 8, (1903), a Suite sur des airs populaires grecs, Op. 10 (1907), two lyric tragedies, Prométhée enchaîné, Op. 16 (1916-1918) and Salamine, Op. 21 (1921-1928), and two Symphonies, n° 1 in A, Op. 18 (1919) to the memory of an airman killed in the war and n° 2, the Breton Symphony, Op. 25 (1930-1931). With the exception of the Trente chansons and the Six Sonatinas, these pieces were seldom played, but the first performance of Salamine in 1929 made a strong impression.
The six Sonatinas, which can be compared with the six by Busoni, were not planned as a group, but were composed at various times between 1893 and 1925. They are major works in French piano music, and there are striking differences between them. The "Burgundian" Sonatina n° 1, Op. 4 dates from 1893, but was not published until 1922. The composer said "lt would probably have astonished the public if it had been heard just after it was written". lt is a magnificent homage to the region of Beaune, in four movements. The first, "Allegro con spirito", is a choirboys’ song based on melodies played on the bells of Notre-Dame in Beaune and Saint-Bénigne in Dijon, the second, "Scherzando", is a Burgundian dance, the third, "Andante simplice", a bellringer’s song and the fourth, "Giocoso", a dance from Morvan. The "Finale" is in A major.
The ”PastoraI" Sonatina n° 2, Op. 5 was composed in 1897. Maurice Emmanuel said of it and of n° 1 : "These two little pieces, which l did not dare to produce, because l was convinced that their trends were not quite adequate, show more freedom than (Opp. 6 & 8)". He also said of Op. 5 : ”l did not imitate but, sincerely moved, commented on Beethoven’s three birds". These three birds, whos"e song foreshadows Messiaen ’s, are the "Quail" (Moderato ma jocoso), the "Nightingale" (Adagio) and the "Cuckoo" (Leggiero).
The Sonatina n° 3, Op. 9 (1920) is unnamed. Light and supple, it is in three movements, all tending towards the Lydian mode. The first and third (Moderato and Vivace) are in E-flat Major and the second (Andante tranquillo) in C Major.
The Sonatina n° 4, Op. 20 (1920) is ”on Hindu modes", again prefiguring Messiaen...
Mark Vignal, from the booklet

Maurice Emmanuel
Les Six Sonatines pour piano
Sonate pour flûte
clarinette et piano


Sonatine n° 1 'Bourguinonne', Op. 4
1 I. Carillon I - Allegro con spirito  1:59
2 II. Danse I. Scherzando. Branle à la manière de Bourgogne  1:50
3 III. Carillon II. Andante simplice  1:17
4 IV. Danse II. Giocoso. Ronde à la manière morvandelle  2:28

Sonatine n° 2 'Pastorale', Op. 5
5 I. La Caille (moderato ma jocoso)  3:19
6 II. Le Rossignol (adagio)  3:17
7 III. Le Coucou (scherzo, leggero)  2:03

Sonatine, n° 3, Op. 19
8 I. Moderato  3:33
9 II. Andante tranquillo  3:00
10 III. Vivace  2:01

Sonatine, n° 4 "en divers modes hindous", Op. 20
11 I. Allegro  2:39
12 II. Adagio  3:47
13 III. Allegro deciso  3:09

Sonatine n° 5 "alla francese", Op. 22
14 I. Ouverture (Adagio - Allegro vivo - Adagio I)  2:18
15 II. Courante (Allemande)  1:22
16 III. Sarabande (adagio)  2:30
17 IV. Gavotte (allegro giocoso)  0:51
18 V. Pavane et Gaillarde (Solenne, più mosso, scherzando)  1:09
19 VI. Gigue (Vivace)  2:13

Sonatine n° 6, Op. 23
20 I. Scherzando  2:29
21 II. Adagio  2:31
22 III. Presto con fuoco  2:18

Sonate en Trio pour clarinette, flûte et piano, Op. 11
23 I. Allegro con spirito  3:49
24 II. Adagio  4:32
25 III. Molto allegro e leggierissimo  3:15


Marie-Catherine Girod - p
Richard Vieille - cl [Op. 11]
Alain Marion - fl [Op. 11]

Recorded in Paris ;  September 1986


Melanchthon said...

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thank you MM!

carrolin said...

Muchas gracias campeón

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Classic thanks, Mel!!