Jacques Ibert’s piano music isn’t exactly the most exciting part of his output, amounting to a series of short picturesque pieces written in a bland neo-classical vein, with just a hint of impressionism or humor here and there to liven up the expression. Lack of both imagination and strong features have kept these pieces away from the current concert repertoire, but on CD they make nice if quickly forgotten listening. The collection of Histoires, including the famous Le petit âne blanc (The Little White Donkey), comes off the best, along with Les rencontres, a little suite in the form of a ballet that displays some lively melodic figures underlined by slightly spicy harmonies, as in the softly swinging The Creoles. The other pieces do little else than round off the total timing of the CD. Hae-won Chang plays with charm and delicacy, with a clean and neat technique that is just what these unpretentious pieces require. The recording is well balanced and truthful.
Michael Nyman (born 1944) is one of the most famous and successful film music composers of our time. His music, although inextricably connected with the visual action of a film, has the quality to stand on its own, to evoke and express the visual emotions in sounds only. Nyman’s most famous film score is of the film “The Piano” , becoming an instant hit. Its openness and its deceptively simple musical lines appealed to a mass audience. The music featured on this recording is either originally written for piano or arranged by the composer himself. Minimal Music champion Jeroen van Veen has been fascinated by Nyman’s music his whole life, and the recording of it was a logical step. He is the ideal interpreter of this seductive, mind opening music.