Paris was awash with musical talent at the turn of the 20th century, and yet the works of composers Charles Koechlin and Maurice Emmanuel have, rather unjustly, been overlooked in the years since, in favour of the big three: Fauré, Debussy and Ravel.
Emmanuel – a contemporary of Debussy, and greatly influenced by him – often experimented with older styles of composition, such as free rhythm and modes, to the consternation of Delibes, his teacher at the time. His Sonata Op.11 is a true exponent of Emmanuel’s style, and boasts a delightful second movement in which the flute and clarinet, unusually, provide accompaniment for the piano.
As eclectic with his music as he was with his hobbies, Koechlin was often very ahead of the game with his compositions, experimenting with polytonality and atonality long before many of his contemporaries, despite his thorough grounding in the Classical tradition. Among his works in this collection are the Sonatine modale Op.155a, which demonstrates Koechlin’s love of modes, the neo-Baroque Clarinet Sonatas Opp. 85 and 86 and the Flute Sonata Op.52, a series of complex Mediterranean impressions.
The works are performed by three eminent musicians: Markus Brönnimann, principal flute of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg since 1998, prize-winning clarinettist Jean-Philippe Vivier and acclaimed pianist Michael Kleiser.
- Two neglected but highly original French composers from the first half of the 20th century: Maurice Emmanuel and Charles Koechlin. Both composers chose their own path, far from the impressionistic soundscapes painted by their contemporaries Debussy and Ravel. They were inspired by Antiquity, and made extensive use of old modes, free rhythms and metres. Koechlin was the most modern of the two, experimenting with polytonality and atonality.
- This CD contains works for flute, clarinet and piano, music of rare charm, beauty and sensuousness.
- Beautiful performances by three soloists of international renown.
- Excellent liner notes written by the artists.