Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G K.216 [28:31] Jean-Féry REBEL (1666-1747)
Sonata in D major (arr. for violin and orchestra) [7:24] Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) O Canto do cisne negro W123 (1948) [3:18] Fantasia de movimentos mixtos W174 (1921): Serenidade [8:14] Yasuji KIYOSE (1900-1981)
Sonata for violin and piano No. 3 (1950) [20:46]
Brigitte Huyghues de Beaufond (violin) Orchestre de Chambre de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française/Pierre Capdevielle (Mozart) Orchestre de Chambre/André Jouve (Rebel) Jacqueline Dussol (piano) (Villa-Lobos) Norihiko Wada (piano) (Kiyose)
rec. live 1957-1962, Paris (Mozart, Rebel, Villa-Lobos) and Tokyo (Kiyose) FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1279 [68:16]
This is the second release from Forgotten Records featuring live performances by the Paris-born violinist Brigitte Huyghues de Beaufond (1922-2008); I had the pleasure of reviewing the first. Information on the Internet about her is scarce, to say the least, and this is probably because she never made any commercial recordings. Fortunately, biographical information has been supplied in the accompanying booklet, courtesy of Alexis Galpérine, but this is in French only. She was one of a clutch of violinists to emerge from the Jules Boucherit’s class at the Paris Conservatoire. Others include Ginette Neveu, Devy Erlih, Henri Temianka, Michèle Auclair and Lola Bobesco. She later sought guidance from Jacques Thibaud. Her concert career brought her into contact with names such as Charles Munch, André Cluytens and Henri Rabaud.
The centrepiece of the disc is the Mozart Third Concerto. Huyghues de Beaufond savours the intensely lyrical character of the work, imbuing her playing with geniality, elegance and refinement. In the slow movement, she is a little over-generous with the portamenti—one can get too much of a good thing. However, the finale exudes generous helpings of high-spirited glee. Pierre Capdevielle provides enthusiastic support, with the orchestra making a characterful contribution. She does not play the more familiar Sam Franko cadenzas but opts for those by Eugène Ysaÿe, which makes a pleasing alternative once in a while.
The French Baroque composer and violinist Jean-Féry Rebel was a violin and composition pupil of Jean-Baptiste Lully. His music combines “Italian genius and fire” with “French wisdom and tenderness”, as one of his contemporaries declared. This five-movement Sonata is here heard in an arrangement for violin and orchestra. I am pleased we have the opportunity to hear the violinist in Baroque repertoire, which she performs with refinement and expressiveness. The double-stops in the fourth movement Grave ring out with vibrancy. Intonation is flawless throughout. Movement five, marked Viste, is crisply articulated. André Jouve and the chamber orchestra are alert to the subtleties and nuances of the music.
Yasuji Kiyose's Third Violin Sonata is a real rarity. In fact, I have never heard of this composer before. The performance was taped on a trip to Tokyo, which the violinist made in 1960. The music incorporates Japanese pentatonic scales and native folk music. The two outer movements are potently dramatic, and frame a central movement which comes as almost balm to the ears. The piano plays a rocking accompaniment to a plaintive melody on the fiddle. The final movement sounds the most Japanese of the three. Huyghues de Beaufond's stylish performance captures the very essence of the work.
The two Villa-Lobos pieces were set down in 1957 and are in exceptionally fine sound. Canto is a sombre lament over a rippling arpeggiated accompaniment, whilst Serenidade has an impressionistic feel to it.
I have no issues at all with the sound quality, which is perfectly acceptable for the age and provenance of the recordings. The violin is ideally balanced in all instances, and emerges with fullness and warmth. It is certainly an added bonus to have the wonderful Yasuji Kiyose Sonata—a real find. I hope some violinist will take it up one day and record it.