Alexander Arutiunian was one of the most prominent composers in the USSR, one of the representatives of the Armenian ‘Mighty Handful’ and much admired by Shostakovich. An accomplished pianist, Arutiunian created virtuoso piano works that are rooted in Armenian folk traditions while expressing, in the words of Hayk Melikyan, “a rich palette of emotions reflecting both his time and the history of his nation”…
The complete piano works of French perfectionist composer Paul Dukas mirror two very different masterpieces, one French- inspired (Variations) and the other of Germanic inspiration (Sonata). The Sonata is distinguished by its structure, grandeur and magnificence of tone. A disciple of Gabriel Tacchino, Jean-Claude Pennetier and Gyorgy Sebok, Olivier Chauzu (b. 1963) was trained in the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris at the end of the 1980s. He tours France and the world playing as a soloist and in chamber music.
Alice Ader’s first Debussy disc (Erato) won all the awards in the specialist press on its release twenty years ago and is still regarded as an unequalled benchmark. Now this unconventional pianist at last unveils her recording of the complete Ravel piano works. And what better moment could there be than Debussy Year to present these two hours or so of music in dialogue, en Miroirs as it were, with the œuvre of ‘Claude de France’? Ravel, the hot-blooded Swiss watchmaker, the discreet Lisztian, the mediocre pianist who made such extreme demands on his colleagues, the man of so many sublime paradoxes, deserves only the finest interpreters: those who take the time to explore his deepest recesses. Alice Ader, light-years away from the flashy gestures often encountered in this music, takes us to the very heart of one of the most secretive composers of his time.
Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888 - 1986) was a famous female pianist and composer at the beginning of the 20th century. 1933 she was completely banned from pursuing her career, because she refused to abandon her jewish husband. She was not allowed to perform in public. None of her works could be played or published. The results of this discrimination can be felt up to the present day. (…) Babette Dorn’s solid pianism and excellent musicianship make a convincing case for the revival of Fromm-Michaels’ essentially derivative yet ultimately rewarding keyboard output. Should an enterprising label undertake her 1938 Symphony or Music Larga for clarinet and string quartet, I’ll be there to listen.
A pupil of Dukas and a lifelong friend of Ravel, the composer, pianist and critic Gustave Samazeuilh was a central figure in Parisian musical life over many decades. His skill as a pianist can be heard in the majestic colours and intense virtuosity of Le Chant de la mer (The song of the sea). From the Classical discipline of the Suite en sol (Suite in G) to the later Nocturne (the composer’s transcription of his symphonic poem Nuit), and Quatre Esquisses (Four Sketches), Samazeuilh’s voice emerges as one of remarkable originality and superb musical realisation.