As the title says, the 10-CD set 'Masquerade' celebrates the "Carnival in Classical Music". It is a subject that has inspired musicians throughout the ages ranging from Mozart to Khatchaturian. Alongside these two composers, this tremendous anthology includes works by Mozart, Fauré, Dvorák, Schumann, Satie, Svendsen, Prokofiev, Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss II, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Berlioz, Verdi, Leoncavallo, Raymond, Liszt, Nielsen and Leonard Bernstein.
The two sonatas for cello and piano by Camille Saint-Saëns stand as bookends to what was an impressively long compositional career spanning more than seven decades. Much of Saint-Saëns' music for cello, including these two sonatas, has been dismissed as inferior and is rarely performed or recorded. Only the first cello concerto, often played by advanced students of the instrument, remains a common occurrence on disc or stage.
After the notable release of an EP in 2014, Ralph Lavital released Carnival on the label Jazz Family. Fruit of a long maturation, this first disc brings together a group of musicians emblematic of a new scene in Paris. With influences as broad as their field of action, they all share a strong attachment to Caribbean culture. Ralph Lavital entrusted the artistic direction to Laurent Coq who took him on the roads in his trio Dialogue (Sunnyside / Naive). During all these years of collaborations, various teams succeeded each other until finding the ideal formula to serve this chiseled and demanding music, written on measure.
Keyboard ace Dan Siegel's music has "contemporary chic" written all over it. Having worked a smooth seam for decades and crafted a fair amount of music for television and film, he knows a thing or two about putting together a tight arrangement, pulling from different stylistic sources, contracting the right players for a job, and producing a record with nary a rough edge to be seen. All of that knowledge and all of those skills were put to good use in the act of creating Origins.
Maria Szymanowska Piano Duo is formed by two pianist associated with the Academy of Music in Łódź. The guiding thought of the joint activity adopted by the artists is to promote Polish music and works of less known composers, whose pieces are gradually being forgotten. Polish music, to which the present CD including four hands piano music is dedicated, occupies a special place in their output.