Fauré: Piano Music

Fauré Piano Music

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Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Hyperion Records CDA67875

Angela Hewitt’s recordings of French piano music have received the highest critical acclaim. Now she turns to a composer who is more serious and introspective, with a refinement that has led to him being relatively overlooked by performers. But in Angela Hewitt’s hands this music is an utter joy.

This album includes the major work Thème et Variations, Op 73—one of Faure’s greatest works for piano—and a selection of Valses-caprices and Nocturnes. It ends with a more radiant piece from Fauré’s youth, the earliest piece included on this recording—the Ballade pour piano seul, Op 19, dedicated to Saint-Saëns.

Thème et variations Op 73
1. Thème (1’58)
2. Variation 1: L’istesso tempo (0’58)
3. Variation 2: Più mosso (0’53)
4. Variation 3: Un poco più mosso (0’48)
5. Variation 4: L’istesso tempo (1’25)
6. Variation 5: Un poco più mosso (0’48)
7. Variation 6: Molto adagio (1’50)
8. Variation 7: Allegro moderato (0’53)
9. Variation 8: Andante molto moderato (1’27)
10. Variation 9: Quasi adagio (1’17)
11. Variation 10: Allegro vivo (1’16)
12. Variation 11: Andante molto, moderato espressivo (2’47)
13. Valse-caprice No 1 in A major Op 30 (7’22)
14. Valse-caprice No 2 in D flat major Op 38 (7’43)
15. Nocturne No 5 in B flat major Op 37 (8’35)
16. Nocturne No 6 in D flat major Op 63 (9’12)
17. Nocturne No 13 in B minor Op 119 (8’29)
18. Ballade pour piano seul Op 19 (15’07)

‘Take a French composer with a contrapuntal bent, whose music requires a rigour, poise and nuance akin to that of a ballet dancer. Then choose a pianist, such as Angela Hewitt, whose feel for all these qualities is a given. The result is an exquisite Fauré recital… Hewitt’s clarity is exemplary. The purity and strong, supple backbone of her playing lets Fauré’s inventive genius, his extraordinary sensitivity to colour, harmonic shading, texture and eloquence, shine on its own terms’ (BBC Music Magazine)

‘Hewitt’s way with the Valses-caprices is scintillating and extrovert, most notably in the second waltz’s swing-high, swing-low teasing sophistication… She is notably sensitive, too, to the openings of Nocturnes Nos 6 and 13, and to the latter’s anguished utterance… Hewitt’s excellently recorded disc (as bright as the playing) provides an invigorating modern alternative’ (Gramophone)

‘A thoughtful and satsifying Fauré selection traversing his career and showing his art in diverse hues… Hewitt’s interpretations are powerful and poetic’ (The Sunday Times)