A pupil of Fauré, Louis Aubert moved in the same circles as Ravel, Debussy, Koechlin and others and was considered in his day to be one of the most original French composers. With its evocatively impressionistic images of seascapes, the night and Spain, Sillages is amongst the most significant French piano works of the early 20th century. The intensely expressive and impassioned Violin Sonata is Aubert’s only large-scale work in abstract Classical form and the distinctive Feuille d’images is a varied collection of educational pieces. The fiery Habanera, Aubert’s most frequently performed orchestral work, is heard in the composer’s own transcription for piano four hands.
A pupil of Dukas and a lifelong friend of Ravel, the composer, pianist and critic Gustave Samazeuilh was a central figure in Parisian musical life over many decades. His skill as a pianist can be heard in the majestic colours and intense virtuosity of Le Chant de la mer (The song of the sea). From the Classical discipline of the Suite en sol (Suite in G) to the later Nocturne (the composer’s transcription of his symphonic poem Nuit), and Quatre Esquisses (Four Sketches), Samazeuilh’s voice emerges as one of remarkable originality and superb musical realisation.
It has been hidden away in a dusty corner of an abandoned theatre, unplayed and almost forgotten - a magnificent instrument allowed to moulder away in a territory whose Islamist rulers banned public performances of music. But now Gaza's only grand concert piano is getting a new lease of life. A small Brussels-based charity is restoring it to its former glory and at the same time is working to bring music back into schools. With Hamas control steadily weakening the charity has begun a unique project to train teachers in Gaza to reintroduce music into the curriculum - not through music classes but through subjects such as mathematics and geography. It is helping disturbed children in this war torn territory to concentrate - and it is exciting teachers. Tim Whewell gets exclusive access to the story of Gaza and its grand piano.
The 24 "books" of the ILIAD were assigned to 12 pianists. Each artist participating to the project had chosen two "books" and composed music inspired by them. The result is, a wonderful concept album, full of brilliant ideas, inspiration and piano virtuosity…