Venezuelan-French composer Reynaldo Hahn is best known as a song composer, but he wrote a great deal of piano music that is little heard today even though audiences of the French belle époque, the French Gilded Age, would have been familiar with quite a bit of it. French pianist Laure Favre-Kahn doesn't lead off with either the best of Hahn's music or her best performance with the Premières valses of 1898, uneventful salon pieces that don't live up to the influence of Chopin that's even explicitly stated in one of the titles. Things pick up as the program proceeds, however. The Portraits de Peintres, d'après les poésies de Marcel Proust (Portraits of Painters, after Poetry of Marcel Proust) and Orient, extrait de l'Album d'un Voyageur are almost Impressionist evocations of human artists and Turkish scenes, respectively. Best of all is the Sonatine in C major that closes the disc, with two harmonically simple yet melodically fresh outer movements flanking a beautifully lyrical Andantino rubato built from shifting G major scalar figures. This sonatina is a small masterpiece of light music, and Favre-Kahn gives it just the right weight and graceful Mozartian flavor. Recommended for anyone interested in Hahn or the French scene around the turn of the last century.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Portraits de Peintres, d'apres les poésies de Marcel Proust|
|Orient, extrait de l'Album d'un Voyageur|
|Sonatine, en Ut majeur|