Klassik  Kammermusik Instrumental
Alfredo Perl & Ralph Manno French Clarinet Rhapsody - Works for Clarinet and Piano OC 114 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 114
Release date05/03/2010
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Debussy, Claude
  • Honegger, Arthur
  • Poulenc, Francis

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      Description hide

      Werke von Debussy, Honegger, Milhaud, Poulenc und Schmitt
      Ralph Manno, Klarinette
      Alfredo Perl, Klavier

      The cultural history of the clarinet is closely associated with 19th century French musical tradition. The school of clarinet playing at the Paris Conservatory and its lively exchange with French instrument builders led to a specific style that was continually developed by contemporary composers. Debussy was the lode star; his retinue contained such composers as Florent Schmitt, born in 1870. But it was first the Group of Six, which included Honegger, Milhaud and Poulenc, that turned away from Impressionism and lead French music into the modern age with geometric forms, rhythmic pithiness and polytonally organized harmonies. This exciting phase of music history is heard in all its glory on this CD with Ralph Manno and Alfredo Perl.

      French Clarinet Rhapsody
      Works for Clarinet and Piano

      The history of the clarinet is closely bound with French nineteenth century musical tradition. The technical innovation of the key system made by the Parisian clarinettist Hyacinthe Klosé and instrument maker Louis Buffet (the so-called Boehm system) as well as the clarinet schools promoted by the Paris Conservatoire (Jean Xavier Lefèvre 1802, Klosé 1843) both contributed to the establishment of a French national style dictated by the hegemony of the capital city. The success of the clarinet in the history of music can be put down to its timbre, comparable to the human voice: the aesthetic appeal of the instrument is enhanced by a beautiful sound and cantabile expression. Especially attractive is the cantilene breadth of the middle range (for instance in the B- flat clarinet) and the expanse of colour at the clarinettist’s disposal provided by dynamic and tonal possibilities, which made the instrument most attractive for the Impressionist movement. Debussy composed the Rhapsody for B-flat Clarinet and Piano (which he later rewrote for orchestra) as an examination piece for the Paris Conservatoire – he was himself a member of the examination board for wind players. The Petit Pièce was originally a competition piece for sight-reading. Both compositions were dedicated to and premiered by the French clarinettist Paul Mimart. Florent Schmitt’s style is related to Debussy’s impressionism, a link which can clearly be seen in the romantic and aesthetic exaggeration of landscape scenes. The Andantino op. 30 (composed in 1906) is an arrangement of a vocalise originally composed for soprano voice. The Swiss composer Arthur Honegger – a graduate of the Paris Conservatoire just as Francis Poulenc and Darius Milhaud – wrote in an essay on the developments in music after Debussy: “The appearance of Claude Debussy is an event which we can appreciate: for through him the French school has risen to the head of the global musical movement […] but it is obvious that in the year 1919 one must consciously move on from the great figure of Debussy […] we have been harshly criticised, accused of presumptuousness, ignorance and lack of respect whilst we were merely reacting out of instinctive and righteous defence.” The musical jeunesse which went down in French history as the bridge to modernism is known as “Les Six” (Honegger, Poulenc, Milhaud, Auric, Durey and Tailleferre). The importance of the group lies in its departure from convention, which in spite of Debussy’s achievements were still as limpets on French music. The clarinet writings of the “Six” are diametrically opposed to Debussy’s impressionist aestheticism. Through his sound concentration and monumental structures Arthur Honegger diverges slightly from the group, which advocated simplicity and clarity. In contrast Milhaud’s Sonatine op. 100 mirrors the juvenile style of the “Six” in its geometric, jerky rhythms and almost cubist abstract harmonies based – characteristically – on polytonality. The Clarinet Sonata by Francis Poulenc was composed as late as 1962, the year before his death, as part of a trio of compositions for wind instruments. As in Debussy’s final works, Poulenc too emphasizes in the creation of beautiful sound the technical possibilities of the instrument in this late work.

      Therese Muxeneder
      Translation: Sarah Wilson

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)
        • 1.Première Rhapsodie09:09
        • 2.Petite Pièce01:45
      • Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)
        • 3.1. Allegro tristamente05:46
        • 4.2. Romanza. Très calme05:17
        • 5.3. Allegro con fuoco02:57
      • Arthur Honegger (1892 – 1955)
        • 6.1. Modéré02:22
        • 7.2. Lent et soutenu02:29
        • 8.3. Vif et rythmique01:02
      • Florent Schmitt (1870 –1958)
        • 9.Andantino op. 30 No. 1 003:38
      • Darius Milhaud (1882 – 1974)
        Sonatine op. 100
        • 10.1. Très rude03:20
        • 11.2. Lent04:06
        • 12.3. Très rude02:21
        • 13.Duo Concertant op. 35105:55
        • 14.Caprice op. 335a01:57
      • Total:52:04