Thirteen Nocturnes and as many Barcarolles form the core of the collected output of Gabriel Urbain Fauré (1845-1924) for the piano. Night-time meditations, then, along with inspiration drawn from rippling water (the origins of the barcarolle lie in the songs sung by Venetian gondoliers and the word itself comes from the Italian ‘barca’, a boat). Along with some Impromptus, Préludes andother works, one might rapidly gain the impression of a delightful collection of salon music, whose titles may actually display the influence of Chopin (Fauré was even to write a Mazurka). But this music is so very much more than pretty salon music. In the intimacy of these genres, Fauré succeeded time and again in nothing short of exposing his very soul. And the French composer’s style is entirely his own – original and personal – from the first note to the last.
Total time: 01:16:13
Bert van der Wolf
|Original Recording Format|
Bert van der Wolf
Bert van der Wolf
Westvest 90 Schiedam, The Netherlands
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||September 30, 2016|
“This recital by the Dutch pianist Hannes Minnaar seems the equivalent of strolling through an engaging exhibition of the works of an artist you thought you knew but the magnitude of whose gifts, you now realise, you hadn’t entirely grasped. It is expertly curated, with a deeply personal selection of representative artworks spanning Fauré’s career, from an early, insouciant Romance sans paroles from his student days to the 13th and last Nocturne of 1921, with its unconventional dissonances and voice-leading reflecting Fauré’s state of mind shortly after the death of his mentor, Saint-Saëns, and as deafness eventually overcame him. Though presented chronologically, this loving selection was clearly chosen to show each piece to greatest advantage, sometimes creating striking juxtapositions. The engineers have captured the immediacy and dimension of Minnaar’s beautiful, unforced sound in all its wealth of detail.
The Thème et variations is delivered with a rare sweep and cohesion, its urgency paradoxically never seeming rushed, but organically flowing. The rarely encountered Nine Preludes, Op 103, unfold with gem-like precision and sparkle, each a perfectly wrought microcosm. But it is the 13th Nocturne that is both the crux and culmination of the programme. Its painful quest through desolation erupts into lacerating figurations. Minnaar negotiates this occasionally awkward writing with skill, creating a palpable emotional impact.
Comparison with the first release of Louis Lortie’s projected complete Fauré series (Chandos, 11/16) confirms the validity of diverse approaches to the French master. Minnaar’s identification with this unique realm of music is complete and his deeply felt interpretations shine with clarity and infinite nuance. If Fauré’s piano music has eluded you until now, these performances may provide the key. If you’re already a devotee, a very pleasurable experience awaits.”
“Minnaar’s Fauré is played with masterly authority. He gives us an undeniable presence. Thus lifting Fauré from salon to concert venue. This is not to say that he lacks poetry. On the contrary. But his poetry is without ‘softness’; it’s more convincingly encouraging in tone. Like a mother reassuring her child. And besides, Fauré is more than an extension of impressionist painting: “These sets (nocturnes, barcarolles and impromptus) were composed across the decades of his career, and display the change in his style from uncomplicated youthful charm to a final enigmatic, but sometimes fiery introspection…”.
In this recital all facets of Fauré’s life are addressed; the charm, the poetry, the turbulence and, not to forget, his romantic temperament (to put it mildly). It requires a pianist who is able to encompass all these elements. And Minnaar reveals himself to be such a ‘Jack Of All Trades’. I sense that his maturity is still growing, and what I admire most is his apparent modesty, clearly shunning star status. This attitude is what makes his Fauré so exceptional. It is not the virtuoso aspect he is after. The maturity gives him, as it were, the peace of mind to identify himself with the composers intentions and hence to generate the ability to translate it into a personalized interpretation, making Fauré so wonderfully clear and understandable for his audience.
In the liner notes Minnaar writes extensively about Fauré. It makes for interesting, even compulsory reading, to which I’m happy to refer.
Rating: Performance and Multichannel DSD Sonics: 5 out of 5 Stars”.
Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.