Paul Dukas (1865-1935) is one of music great enigmas. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire, he went in to the army, leaving in 1891. After the army he composed his large and impressive Symphony in C, and Polyeucte. His style in these works reveals an impressive knowledge of Beethoven and Schumann, with traces of Lalo, Bizet and Saint-Saens. His most famous work, the L’apprenti sorcier ( included on these CDs in its 2 piano version) followed, together with the ballet La Peri. However, Dukas was incredibly self critical, and he destroyed much of his work.
Luckily, like those works mentioned above some of the piano music survived. The huge piano sonata of 1901 with its indebtedness to Beethoven’s op110 and 111 sonatas is a very impressive work. Debussy rated it as equal to Beethoven in its conception. The Variations, Interlude and Finale after Rameau may well be a result of Dukas editing Les Indes Galante.
Dukas contributed to a collection of works published as ‘Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy’ with other composers – Ravel, Stravinsky, Satie, Malipiero, and Bartok. Upon his own death, Schmitt, Falla, Pierne, Ropartz, Rodrigo, Krein, Messiaen, Aubin and Barraine all produced short works in his memory.
Finally, as well as a short tribute to Papa Haydn, this 2CD set contains the world premiere recording of the Allegro pour Monsieur Serge Koussewitzky.
- Being rarely recorded repertoire, this set will be of interest to those interested in French music of this period.