MARIE JAËLL (1846-1925): Piano Concertos No. 1 in D Minor (Romain Descharmes [piano]) and No. 2 in C Minor (David Violi [piano], Orchestre National de Lille; Joseph Swensen), Cello Concerto in F (Xavier Phillips [cello]), La Légende des ours for Soprano and Orchestra [French-English texts, Chantal Santon-Jeffery [soprano], Brussels Philharmonic; Hervé Niquet), 12 Valses et Finale for Piano Four Hands (Lidija and Sanja Bizjak [1902 Érard piano]), Solo Piano: Les Beaux Jours (Dana Ciocarlie), Les Jours pluvieux (Nicolas Stavy), from Ce qu’on entend dans l’Enfer: Appel and Blasphèmes, from Ce qu’on entend dans le Purgatoire: Pressentiments and Maintenant et Jadis, from Ce qu’on entend dans le Paradis: Apaisement and Quiétude (David Bismuth).
Catalogue Number: 04R006
Label: Ediciones Singulares
Description: For the first time we get orchestral music by this Alsatian composer who has been increasingly well-represented as to her piano music. And boy, was it worth waiting for! We find in one of the notes in the lavish book that Jaëll was considered a “manly” composer and her 1877 first piano concerto is as swaggering, bold and broad-shouldered a work as any man could have written (if one had, you could also call it testosterone-fueled). The second (1884) is different, a Lisztian four-movements-in-one where the orchestra is a series of paint brushes used by a consummate artist rather than a blunt instrument. The cello concerto of 1882 is in the latter style. Yet the most striking and colorful orchestration is probably in the 25-minute song-cycle setting Jaëll’s own verses. There’s almost no space left to comment on the solo piano works like the vividly representational “Nice” and “Rainy” day sets or the truly forward-looking excerpts from the Dante-inspired pictures from Hell, Purgatory and Paradise (1894) which make obsessive use of four notes, their sole musical material, from the Dies irae; if Jaëll’s friend and supporter Liszt had still been alive, he probably would have been transfixed. 3 CDs.