Vladimir Valjarevic

Music of Tribute , Vol. 3: Fauré

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Here is an interesting program: a juxtaposition of the music of a composer with that of his students. Piano works by George Enescu, Charles Koechlin, and others, plus a Berceuse for violin and piano by Maurice Ravel, are interspersed with piano pieces by Gabriel Fauré. Even more interesting, these pieces by his students, created at the request of the magazine La Revue musicale, are based on a motive that musically corresponds to the name Fauré. Florent Schmitt and Ravel went even further by also using Fauré's first name in their pieces. One can hear the beginnings of the diverging paths composers were taking regarding tonality in the homage works. The Aubert and Ravel pieces have that impressionistic, watercolor softness in their harmonies, while the Enescu and Schmitt head toward more adventuresome harmonies. Most of the pieces have a pensive quality to their character, as much of Fauré's music has here. It's the dances -- e.g. Ladmirault's Allego moderato and Fauré's Valse-Caprice No. 1 -- and Schmitt's invigorating Rapide, all performed spiritedly by Valjarevic, that break up the reveries. Valjarevic plays with a beautiful lyricism and a wide variety of tones and colorings, perceptively applied with care. The hearty ending of Fauré's Valse-Caprice is followed by the ringing bell-like theme of Koechlin's fugue. Fauré's piano music is well-represented here, ranging from early works such as the Romances sans paroles that are clearly modeled on works by Chopin and Mendelssohn, to a couple of his later Preludes, Op. 103, where the characteristics that distinguish his songs are heard. It is a treat to hear the all-too-often-neglected piano music of Fauré, wonderfully performed and combined with intriguing tidbits from other composers, which otherwise might never have been heard.

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