GEORGES DELERUE: Works for piano and various instruments = Chant 1; Farewell Concerto; Aria et Final for cello and piano; Movements for percussion instruments and piano; Stances; Sonata for violin and piano – DCM Classique

by | May 26, 2009 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

GEORGES DELERUE: Works for piano and various instruments = Chant 1; Farewell Concerto (version for violin and piano); Aria et Final for cello and piano; Movements for percussion instruments and piano; Stances for cello and piano; Sonata for violin and piano – Minna Re Shin, piano /Olivier Thouin, violin/Guillaume Saucier, cello /Fabrice Marandola, percussion – DCM Classique DCM-CL205 [Distr. by Albany] ****:

Georges Delerue (1925-1992) is known for his film scores, especially some famous French New Wave films – including Francois Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player, Jules and Jim, and The Last Metro. He also scored Fred Zinneman’s A Man for All Seasons and Ken Russell’s Women in Love. He won an Oscar for A Little Romance. But he never stopped writing for the classical concert hall and was conductor of the French State Radio Orchestra.

The six works on this disc show both side of Delerue – melodic and dissonant. Chant is a  a brief and beautiful beginning, with violinist Thouin’s ripe vibrato most noticeable. Farewell Concerto is a two-part reduction for violin and piano which serves as the basis for Delerue’s orchestral score for the 1992 movie Dien Bien Phu. The composer’s melodic gifts shine in this banefully beautiful ten-minute work that remembers this tragic event with passion. Aria and Final for cello and piano opens with a brooding meditation followed by an energetic romp that pays homage to Delerue’s teacher, Darius Milhaud.

In Movements for percussion instruments and piano Delerue moved away from melodic invention to rhythmic and percussive punctuation. Using a battery of percussive instruments that include timpani, cow bells, tam tam, tambourine, vibraphone and xylophone among others, the composer fashions a tapestry of moods that are whimsical, pensive and vibrant. Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion comes to mind. It’s the most creative piece on this disc. Stances for cello and piano is thoughtful and definitely more dissonant. Sonata for Violin and Piano is the longest and least appealing work to these ears. It waywardly slogs its way through chromatically dissonant terrain ending without apparent direction and lacking the smiles of Delerue the film composer.

This disc is an interesting snapshot of both of Delerue’s musical sides – the melodic film composer and the modern classicist. Close and truthful recording.

— Robert Moon

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