Thank you to those who donated to Piano Society in 2017.

Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,028
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    High-school-teacher with subjects music and german
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Pfaul
    First Name:
    Andreas
    Rachfan wrote:
    I believe that, though I´m not a true specialist concerning french music. I just have played some preludes and four hands pieces by Debussy and "Jeux d´eaux" by Ravel f.ex. and some other pieces by Debussy/Ravel, but I never have played Chabrier until know. So I don´t know too much about his style.
    So, what would you say are the features of his typical style?

    Yes, I also think, that most french composers, f.ex. all of impressionism and the "groupe des six", are very refined and subtle. French music has something subtle and intellectual, it´s not so emotional in a romantic sense like many german music is.

    F.ex. Debussys preludes are very subtle and inventive and the fact, that he wrote the title below the pieces shows a certain modesty, a manner, not to impose the own ideas on his listeners.
     
  2. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Andreas,

    I'm not familiar with all of Chabrier's piano works, but have heard his "Bouree fantasque", "Valses", and the "Idylle" from the Picturesque Pieces. He was a romantic composer and his music is always melodic, spontaneous, very expressive, and containing interesting percussive rhythmic moments too. He also offers exquisite turns of phrase, sometimes into new tonal centers or beautiful garden patches. Sometimes his sound is high energy, but at other times he gives us the contrast of lithe lyricism. Although his piano oeuvre is not nearly as extensive as Ravel's and Debussy's, he definitely was an influence on them as well as "Les Six" whom you mentioned. The style of Poulenc, a member of that group, shows a strong influence from Chabier's "Idylle" for example. I've not yet played a Chabrier work except through Ravel, but in addition to being a composer, he was also a fine pianist, thus knew how to write very well for the instrument, making his piano pieces accessible. Another French composer that I want to look into at some point is Chaminade, a contemporary of Chabrier.
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,251
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Physician, Chief Medical Officer
    Location:
    Biloxi, MS, USA
    Last Name:
    Del Rio
    First Name:
    Eddy
    I'm afraid that all I know of Chabrier is his superlative Espan(~)a as arranged for two pianos. As they say, the best "Spanish" music is written by the French. :mrgreen:
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Eddy,

    That "Espana" has gotten around. It was originally a piano solo, but then morphed into the duo-piano piece and then into an orchestral ballet arrangement. Reminds me of Ravel's "Ma Mere L'oye" but in a different order. Ravel produced the piano duet first, next came his friend Charlot's transcription for solo piano, followed by Ravel's orchestration of the suite. I believe that Ravel's "La Valse" exists as a piano solo, duo-piano piece, and an orchestrated version too.

    David
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    I love Chabrier. He has such an irresistible joie de vivre and Gallic charm and wit. I've many times considered preparing his Pieces Pittoresques, which I am very fond of, for recording but there were always other priorities. Maybe one day yet.
     
  6. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    System Software Engineer
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Last Name:
    Assimakopoulos
    First Name:
    Pantelis
    Very French and very stylish. The sound together with the playing easily compose the image of the pianist next door practising in some old Parisian building.
    Once again you have managed to create a full artistic concept, David.
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Chris,

    I agree with your assessment of Chabrier's music. He always displayed a wonderful originality too, and could write in many forms--for piano, orchestra and even opera. I wish that he could have produced a more robust solo piano literature, but his life was cut short by disease in 1894 at age 53. Nevertheless, the piano pieces he did leave to us are enticing indeed.

    David
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Pantelis,

    I've always viewed myself as a miniaturist when it comes to the piano literature, but I don't consider miniaturist to be a pejorative term. It's not to say that I don't do a big piece now and then. But I've never really taken an interest in long sets of variations or long cycles as found in Schumann and Brahms, for example. Ever since I can remember, I've had a life long love for the genre of the character piece. I always try to understand the "program" of a piece, and once I have a concept, then I try to give it my all. I put myself right into the piece in terms of effort, but at the same time respecting the composer's intent and directions. (Well... maybe I take a little liberty now and then. :) ) This is the difference, I believe, between truly bringing a score to life versus simply "rattling it off". I'm delighted that my rendition of this Ravel piece conjured that imagery for you. For another listener, it might have been a different image, but what it means more generally is that my playing was somehow evocative. I take that as a high compliment, Pantelis. Thank you!

    David
     
  9. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,028
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    High-school-teacher with subjects music and german
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Pfaul
    First Name:
    Andreas
    Hi David,
    thank you for your interesting explanations concerning Chabrier and exchange of thoughts, David. I didn´t know, that he had an influence on members of the groupe des six, but it´s well possible, of course.
    I think, Eric Satie was like a musical mentor for this groupe, without being a real member of it (members were Poulenc - as you have mentioned - Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Germaine Tailleferre). From the stylistic point of view they all are quite different and there is no real aesthetical common concept of that groupe. They just abandoned from the impressionism of a Debussy and Ravel and they partly turned towards some kind of entertaining music of their time like Jazz-,Varieté- and Circus-music.
    I´m preparing the sonata for clarinet and piano by Poulenc at that moment and I think, there are also some neoclassical elements in it.
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Andreas,

    Yes, you're right about Les Six. This was a group of individualists to be sure! Of all of them, I think that Poulenc was perhaps the one most influenced by Chabrier. When I hear Chabrier's "Bourree fantasque", I can easily hear Poulenc at the same time. Poulenc has many different moods and moments in his composing as you well know. He can be charming, witty, sarcastic, pensive, matter-of-fact, romantic, urbane, ironic, nostalgic and more--very expressive to say the least. And in the larger scope of styles, you're right. He can display neoclassicism and in short order neo-romanticism too. He was eclectic and versatile, which is why he is probably one of the standouts of the Six. Hopefully you can post his sonata for clarinet and piano here. I'm sure many would love to hear it, I know I would. Today we don't hear much of Chabrier, but I believe that in his time he was a very prominent presence in 19th century French music circles.

    David
     
  11. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    Last Name:
    Vosgerichian
    First Name:
    George
    Hello David. Great job on a very convincing miniature - I mean that in a grand way! :D I am a big fan of Analog sound. I love that golden sound of LPs. Hey, I use a home-made tube amplifier for my bedroom. If the piano was mostly in tune, then some of the "out of tune" sound might be due to the wow and flutter from tape recorders, especially if they were spec'd above 0.15%, or if you used cardiod mics too close with a less than ideal off-axis response - as some notes are in perfect tune, and some are not.
     
  12. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi George,

    Chris and Monica were kind enough to put up these two Ravel recordings for me. Your observations are correct. Back in the days I used a Nakamichi CR-2/CR-1 two-head cassette tape deck, two close-in Nakamichi MD-300 electret small diaphragm electret condenser mics (with the batteries in the mics) with cardioid capsules and a third mic behind them but with an omni-directional capsule for ambient sound. So there was probably more wow and flutter on that tape deck than would have been the case with reel-to reel. Also, I was mis-advised and should never have been doing close-in recordings at the rim of the piano, as they're more appropriate for jazz and pops. Apart from those issues though, analog sound was definitely warmer and richer than digital sound. As far as digital recording goes, I think my current setup is far superior to the old equipment, more compact, has more headroom, and delivers a natural, uncolored sound.

    David
     
  13. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,028
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    High-school-teacher with subjects music and german
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Pfaul
    First Name:
    Andreas
    Rachfan wrote:
    Thank you for that interesting inspiration, David, I will try to get a recording of that piece. :D

    Yes, I agree absolutely. His style seems so versatile (and eclectic, too). The second theme of the first movement of the Sonata for clarinet and piano, which is much slower than the first theme and the reprise, by the way, seems neo-romantic to me, indeed! May be "neo-romantic" characterizes his style in the first and second movement still adequater than "neo-classical". I like his individual and very expressive style very much!

    Thank you, David. I will do my very best (like the buttler in "Dinner for one" :lol: , sorry, I always have to think of that end, when I hear this english sentence :wink: ) and I will probably play that sonata with two clarinetists, first with a pupil and second with my colleague, I also have recorded the jazz-pieces recently. So, we have a double chance to get a recording here. :wink:

    So, it´s your special and valuable merit, that you have made him here alive to us! Thank you once more. :!:
     
  14. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Andreas,

    There are several on YouTube.

    It's always a great pleasure!

    David
     
  15. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Amateur musician
    Home Page:
    Poulenc has the knack of imitating witout ever sounding derivative. Does not the slow movment of the piano concerto sound like it might have been written by Mozart before progressing to a more modern idiom without ever sounding like patchwork, but like the logical conclusion of the first statement.

    He is a world apart from Stravinsky, who has yet to convince me of the validity of his Pulcinella, for example.
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Richard,

    Yes, I think that Poulenc, being very improvisatory in his approach to composing could drop into Baroque for a few moments, neo-classicism along the way, and then have moments of unbridled romanticism. Yet, he would always do these changes in style with a great deal of originality and cleverness. Another composer who comes to mind was Doynanyi who could regale listeners with such imitations using parody-like paraphrases. The American composer Amy Beach too was able to incorporate some lengthy Baroque moments into her otherwise late romantic style in chamber works, and did so very convincingly. Not all of the composers are capable in doing this in my opinion or have the inclination to do so. I think it's probably a special talent.

    David
     

Share This Page