Here's your disc of the week for Jan. 20, 2013. Each week CBC Radio 2's In Concert looks at new classical music releases and selects one recording that you'll want to know about.
Artists: Alain Lefèvre, piano.
Repertoire: François Dompierre: 24 Préludes.
The pianist Alain Lefèvre may not be all that well-known to Canadians outside Québec, but on concerts stages abroad and at home in Montreal he's a very big deal. He's got a trophy case full of awards (a Juno, eight Félixes, an Order of Canada) and hosts a popular weekly radio show on Espace musique.
Composer François Dompierre enjoys similar renown. He's written a string of hit songs, created the soundtracks for more than 60 films and has composed classically inspired concertos for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He, too, hosts his own radio show on Espace musique.
These two "grands figures" in Québec have recently collaborated on a fascinating new CD that features Lefèvre performing Dompierre's 24 Préludes for solo piano. These preludes – one for each of the major and minor keys – reflect a huge range of musical influences, including a big dose of boogie-woogie. Says the composer, "I do believe that this music, composed in earnest, is contemporary. In some respects, it draws inspiration from jazz, pop music, and the broad repertoire of French piano music."
Says Lefèvre, "We have very deep influences of jazz, blues, rock and all these rhythms. It is therefore quite normal that a great composer appropriates major lineages of these currents, then seeps into classical music. Gershwin did and it is in this spirit that Dompierre wrote a superb work."
The result is a thoroughly appealing collection of miniatures with engagingly descriptive titles (for instance Frenetique, Tranquille, Excentrique). It's like listening to a collection of short musical stories full of rhythmic verve, harmonic ingenuity and expressive range.
Lefèvre clearly adores this music. And with this new recording on the Analekta label, both performer and composer are poised to become better known in every corner of the country.
Here's one of the tracks, this is Déterminé (determined):
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