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Déodat de SÉVERAC (1873-1921) Works for Piano Baigneuses au soleil (1908) [7:45] Cerdaña (En tartane [7:15]; Les Fêtes [8:00]; Ménétriers et Glaneuses [6:39]; Les Muletiers devant le Christ de Llivia [9:15]; Le Retour des muletiers [5:15]) (1908/11) [36:15] Sous les Lauriers Roses (1919) [17:02] Les Naïades et le Faune indiscret (1908) [8:42]
Billy Eidi (piano)
rec. Paris, IRCAM, 2000 TIMPANI 1C1080 [69:53]
There has been no dearth of recordings of the piano music of French composer Déodat de Séverac:
his orchestral music has been more difficult to come by but there is an orchestral CD from Forlane (Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Roberto Benzi). His mélodies are on Hyperion from François Le Roux and Graham Johnson (Hyperion CDA66983 released in 1998) and his opera Coeur du Moulin is on Timpani. As for piano recordings they are now close to a crowd: Máso on Naxos, Tateno on Warner Apex (and also here), Aldo Ciccolini on EMI-Warner and Rignol (a pianist recently resurfaced bearing high the complete piano music of Marcel Dupré) on Solstice.
Baigneuses au soleil lightly lisps, hops and skips in trilling lambency. The writing is lively and Eidi captures Séverac's lost and vulnerably fragile world. There's something of the music-box in these works but its pages are yielding rather than mechanical. You feel much the same in Les Naïades et le Faune indiscret. Both these 1908 works also have a romantically liquid quality. Cerdaña is less prone to the still and the static while cut from essentially the same cloth as Baigneuses and Les Naïades. There are Ravel-like echoes (Ma Mère l'Oye) in Les Fêtes but as in En tartane and Ménétriers et Glaneuses vigorous music cavorts in display. In Les Muletiers devant le Christ de Llivia one feels ushered into a mystery. This is in contrast to the exoticism of Le Retour des muletiers which shares echoes with the contemporary work of Granville Bantock in Omar Khayyam and with the gazetteer suites of Gustave Charpentier. I wonder if Séverac was ever tempted to orchestrate Cerdaña; it seems to invite that treatment. Sous les Lauriers Roses is the latest item here. Its contrasted lightly shaded episodes are in the nature of a suite the flavour of which is conveyed by the work's subtitle: "An Evening during Carnival, along the Catalan Coast". It is a sophisticated entertainment without the idyllic dimension of Baigneuses and Les Naïades. The whole is most warmly recorded and projected.
The skilled and sensitive Eidi has recorded as accompanist for Timpani the mélodies of Chausson, Fauré, Delage, Honegger, Roussel, Sacre (1C1168 and 1C1233) Satie and Sauguet. He also has the solo piano music of Reynaldo Hahn and Guy Sacre to his credit.
The liner essay is in French under the title In the Streets and Byways. It is by the distinguished Guy Sacre, composer and music writer. There is a translation of Sacre's essay into English by John Tyler Tuttle.