Georges Taconet belongs to a seemingly inexhaustible historical reserve of French composers working in the wake of impressionism about whom we know next to nothing. Thanks to the efforts of Marco Polo and Taconet's family, the music of Georges Taconet is finally given its first exposure on recordings here, apart from a couple of chamber pieces included on a semi-private gallery issue. This Marco Polo disc contains a selection of 14 songs, the earliest of which dates from around 1910, and a sonata for violin and piano that dates from the mid-'20s. Dating songs in Taconet is difficult, as he did not date them and few were published. Those that seem stylistically earlier are indebted to Fauré, though songs from around 1916 show a marked change toward an increased independence of mind. Les Sources (1916) is harmonically ecstatic, but it is an ecstasy achieved through the interaction of individual polyphonic lines; quite a departure from the vertiginous qualities one associates with impressionism in a purely harmonic sense. The sonata is pleasant, but is clearly in the vein of the late nineteenth century and not as remarkable as the vocal pieces.
Soprano Dominique Méa utilizes traditional notions of French chanson in her delivery, a fast vibrato, and slightly nasal vocal quality. It is a lovely sound, although one sorely wishes she were more front and center in the recording; she is rather quiet in the mix concerning the level of the piano. Much the same is true of Fanny Clamagirand's violin in the sonata. Apart from such inconsistencies, this Marco Polo release is a nice way to shake hands with the work of Taconet.