This excellent first volume in what promises to be a two-disc collection of Poulenc's complete chamber music offers performances that compare favorably with the best available. All of the musicians are superb, but several deserve special mention. Alexandre Tharaud plays Poulenc's piano parts with great flair, wit, and a true feeling for the music's manic shifts from raucous high spirits to nostalgia and melancholy. Since all of these works feature the piano, the importance of his contribution can't be overestimated.
The narrators are two gifted children, the pianist Alezandre Tharaud, whose acute playing has sparked the series. Set for narrator and small ensemble and originally improvised to please the composer's three-year old cousin, the tale of Babar the Elephant receives a charming performance from Alexandre Tharaud and friends with child narrators on this fifth instalment of Naxos's chamber-music series.
Naxos’ first-rate edition of Poulenc’s complete chamber music continues with this very fine collection of shorter pieces and song cycles for voice and small ensemble. Baritone Franck Leguérinel turns in a smashing performance of Le Bal masqué from its manic opening Air de bravoure to the hysterical falsetto antics in the closing Caprice. He’s equally fine in Le Bestiaire, but the cruel vocal line and harmonic acerbities of the Max Jacob songs prove less congenial, though he’s no less stylistically assured.
Applaudi dans le monde entier, célébré par le grand public comme les spécialistes, Alexandre Tharaud est un enfant chéri du piano français. C’est à travers sa discographie qu’il s’est révélé et qu’il a défini sa figure d’artiste unique : une trentaine d’enregistrements, singulièrement variés et imaginatifs. Car aux côtés de ses nombreux disques consacrés à Chopin, Bach et Schubert, d’autres reposent sur des choix plus inattendus : interpréter Rameau au piano, défendre le trop discret Chabrier, replacer Satie à la hauteur qui est la sienne, ressusciter le fameux Boeuf sur le toit. …
A midprice reissue collecting this young French pianist s three baroque recordings. I fell in love with Tharaud s Rameau disc several years ago and never once missed the rattling sound of the harpsichord. Tharaud points out that Rameau s frequent ornamentation would have served to prolong notes on a harpsichord. This isn t necessary on a modern piano, and there s an incredible delicacy to the pianism here, with the trills and turns played with a barely credible lightness of touch. It s infectious stuff, with the witty character pieces from the Suite in G vivid and alive.
The biggest surprise on this wonderfully exuberant and exhilarating disc comes with the very first notes: the piano tone is rich and full, worlds away from the slightly distant, musical-box tone that is often thought appropriate for recordings of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas on a modern concert grand. But as the soundworld suggests, Tharaud is totally unapologetic about playing these pieces – all originally composed for harpsichord even though the earliest fortepianos were in circulation in Scarlatti's time – on a piano. In the sleevenotes, Tharaud says that of the four baroque keyboard composers that he has recorded so far – Bach, Couperin, Rameau and now Scarlatti – it's the last whose music is most suited to this treatment. His selection of sonatas is chosen for maximum variety, with a group in which the Spanish inflections of flamenco and folk music can be heard, others in which he gets a chance to show some dazzling technique, alongside those in which the playfulness is replaced by profound introspection.
On October 22nd, French Pianist Alexandre Tharaud will release Swinging Paris Le Boeuf Sur le Toit, a new album of jazz music inspired by the legendary 1920s Parisian cabaret. The album features a kaleidoscopic selection of music from composers ranging from Ravel to Gershwin to W.C. Handy, and includes a diverse group of guest artists including Natalie Dessay, Madeleine Peyroux and more. This new release caps a busy year for Alexandre - he starred in Michael Haneke s film Amour, which took the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival (Tharaud also provided the soundtrack to the album, which will be released on Virgin Classics in January of 2013), and was also featured on the smash hit Fifty Shades of Grey The Classical Album.
Tharaud returns with a an album of music by Haydn and Mozart, all composed between 1777 and 1786, including Mozart’s masterpiece the Piano Concerto No.9 “Jeunehomme”, widely regarded as one counting among his greatest works. The piano works are cleverly weaved together through the cadenzas. While he performs Mozart’s cadenzas in the Piano Concerto No.9, Tharaud has written his own cadenza for the Rondo in A – employing themes from “Jeunehomme” – as well as for the Haydn Piano Concerto – in which he uses motifs from Mozart’s famous Rondo “alla Turca”, which with the final movement being a Rondo “all'Ungherese”, gives the piece a truly Eastern European flavour.