Reviews

GMCD 7336 – Music by Émile Jaques-Dalcroze

Rodion Zamuruev – violin,
Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Anissimov – conductor

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CLOFO Classic Lost and Found June 2010

Swiss composer Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) is new to these pages, and not any too soon! Educated in Geneva, Paris and Vienna, he could count Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), Léo Delibes (1836-1891), Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) and Robert Fuchs (1847-1927) among his mentors, and would become a much sought after, highly respected teacher himself.

He also wrote a considerable amount of music, which in keeping with his training shows French as well as German neoromantic influence. Most of his symphonic works date from before 1914, and were written while he was living near Dresden, Germany. Consequently many of his manuscripts were stored there, and lost to Allied bombings during World War II (1939-45, see the newsletter of 29 September 2009). Fortunately that was not the case with the two violin concertante works appearing on this new Guild release.

A good friend of several legendary late-romantic violin virtuosos, including Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931), the composer fully exploits the solo instrument in both works. The first of these, completed in 1901, is in the usual three movements, beginning with an allegro that for the most part adheres to sonata form. The two thematic ideas in the opening statement are reservedly regal (RR) and cheerfully lyrical (CL) respectively. The sophisticated development that follows is notable for a clever central fugato in the orchestra, which the soloist transits in stately fashion, playing RR as if it were a chorale. The thrilling recapitulation which soon follows features some fancy fiddling in addition to remembrances of past themes.

The delicate largo is a melodic gem with cyclic references to RR and CL that make the work all the more coherent. It’s the lull before the boisterous finale quasi fantasia, which is brilliantly orchestrated with harp and wind embellishments. Additional memorable melodic material is introduced at the outset, and then this masterfully constructed concerto ends with the main thematic protagonists taking final bows.

The Poem for Violin and Orchestra came eight years later in 1909. When it first appeared in print it was misleadingly subtitled his second concerto, probably at the insistence of the publisher in hopes of selling more copies. A considerably more serious and advanced work than the previous one, it’s in two extended free-form rhapsodic sections lasting about twenty-minutes each. The first is sad, and may bring to mind Ernest Chausson’s (1855-1899) Poem… of 1896. With spun-out melodies and a late romantic chromatic angst, it’s extremely moving.

The last section is noteworthy for a recurring sinister martial ostinato pessimistically proclaimed by the orchestra. But the violin eventually refuses to have any part of it, rallying everyone into a triumphant outpouring of hope for the future. Again cyclic thematic flashbacks endow this music with a satisfying sense of continuity.

The winner of many violin competitions, Rodion Zamuruev distinguishes himself in dramatic, yet meticulous renditions of these little known selections. Many readers will remember conductor Alexander Anissimov for his memorable accounts of Alexander Galzunov’s (1865-1936) symphonic music. And it would seem he’s equally at home with Jaques-Dalcroze’s, judging from the ideal support rendered by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.

Recorded in the Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, the sound is superb, and presented across a wide soundstage with just the right amount of reverberation. Zamuruev’s violin tone is extremely rich, and he’s perfectly balanced against the orchestra. The instrumental timbre is lifelike with only occasional high end hot spots in the brass. Some might argue the bass end could be a bit cleaner in places, but most audiophiles will probably pronounce this disc demonstration quality.
Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (CLOFO.com, Y100627)


Musik & Theater Juli / Aug. 2010

Gärungsprozesse
Bruckner und Fuchs, Delibes und Faure waren seine Lehrer, Claudel, Nijinsky, Reinhardt und Shaw seine Bewunderer: Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) erwarb sich auf dem Gebiet der rhythmischen Erziehung hohes Ansehen. Doch während sein 1910 in Hellerau gegründetes Institut für rhythmische Gymnastik grossen Einfluss ausübte und viele seiner Kinderlieder populär wurden, hinterliess sein instrumentales Schaffen keinerlei Spuren. Das erste Violinkonzert (1901) und das als zweites Konzert bezeichnete «Poeme» in zwei Sätzen (1909) verdienen zweifellos ihre späte Ausgrabung, vorab als Dokumente eines schöpferischen Gärungsprozesses. Zwischen wenig inspirierten Durststrecken enthalten sie grossartige Musik von einer Heftigkeit, wie sie von dem in Wien geborenen und dort und in Paris ausgebildeten Komponisten nicht unbedingt zu erwarten gewesen wäre. Was Jaques-Dalcroze im Konzerterstling in die Sonatenform packte, ist erstaunlich. Mit einer Fanfare beginnend, wartet er mit einem ausgedehnten Fugato und mit einem Cantus firmus auf, um die Schwere der Grundtonart c-Moll mit Es-Dur-Kantilenen voll Charme zu überwinden. Die im Poeme vorherrschenden schmerzlichen Klänge wechseln mit lockeren Walzer-Einlagen ab. Beide Werke spielt der Geiger Rollion Zamuruew mit verführerischer Eleganz und einem warmen Espressivo von packender Ausdruckskraft.
Walter Labhart

CLOFO Classical Lost and Found

Jaques-Dalcroze: Vn Conc 1, Poem (“Vn Conc 2”); Zamuruev/Anissimov/Mos SO [Guild]
AUDIOPHILE (1 CD)
Swiss composer Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) is new to these pages, and not any too soon! Educated in Geneva, Paris and Vienna, he could count Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), Léo Delibes (1836-1891), Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) and Robert Fuchs (1847-1927) among his mentors, and would become a much sought after, highly respected teacher himself.

He also wrote a considerable amount of music, which in keeping with his training shows French as well as German neoromantic influence. Most of his symphonic works date from before 1914, and were written while he was living near Dresden, Germany. Consequently many of his manuscripts were stored there, and lost to Allied bombings during World War II (1939-45, see the newsletter of 29 September 2009). Fortunately that was not the case with the two violin concertante works appearing on this new Guild release.

A good friend of several legendary late-romantic violin virtuosos, including Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931), the composer fully exploits the solo instrument in both works. The first of these, completed in 1901, is in the usual three movements, beginning with an allegro that for the most part adheres to sonata form. The two thematic ideas in the opening statement are reservedly regal (RR) and cheerfully lyrical (CL) respectively. The sophisticated development that follows is notable for a clever central fugato in the orchestra, which the soloist transits in stately fashion, playing RR as if it were a chorale. The thrilling recapitulation which soon follows features some fancy fiddling in addition to remembrances of past themes.

The delicate largo is a melodic gem with cyclic references to RR and CL that make the work all the more coherent. It’s the lull before the boisterous finale quasi fantasia, which is brilliantly orchestrated with harp and wind embellishments. Additional memorable melodic material is introduced at the outset, and then this masterfully constructed concerto ends with the main thematic protagonists taking final bows.

The Poem for Violin and Orchestra came eight years later in 1909. When it first appeared in print it was misleadingly subtitled his second concerto, probably at the insistence of the publisher in hopes of selling more copies. A considerably more serious and advanced work than the previous one, it’s in two extended free-form rhapsodic sections lasting about twenty-minutes each. The first is sad, and may bring to mind Ernest Chausson’s (1855-1899) Poem… of 1896. With spun-out melodies and a late romantic chromatic angst, it’s extremely moving.

The last section is noteworthy for a recurring sinister martial ostinato pessimistically proclaimed by the orchestra. But the violin eventually refuses to have any part of it, rallying everyone into a triumphant outpouring of hope for the future. Again cyclic thematic flashbacks endow this music with a satisfying sense of continuity.

The winner of many violin competitions, Rodion Zamuruev distinguishes himself in dramatic, yet meticulous renditions of these little known selections. Many readers will remember conductor Alexander Anissimov for his memorable accounts of Alexander Galzunov’s (1865-1936) symphonic music. And it would seem he’s equally at home with Jaques-Dalcroze’s, judging from the ideal support rendered by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.

Recorded in the Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, the sound is superb, and presented across a wide soundstage with just the right amount of reverberation. Zamuruev’s violin tone is extremely rich, and he’s perfectly balanced against the orchestra. The instrumental timbre is lifelike with only occasional high end hot spots in the brass. Some might argue the bass end could be a bit cleaner in places, but most audiophiles will probably pronounce this disc demonstration quality.
Bob McQuiston


New Classics Monday January 25 2010

Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865 – 1950), was a Swiss musician and an inspiring music educator. He studied composition with Anton Bruckner, Gabriel Fauré and Léo Delibes, and in 1892 he became professor of harmony at the Geneva Conservatory. In the early twentieth century he invented eurhythmics, an experimental and highly successful method of learning that involves teaching musical concepts through movement to develop an integrated and natural feel for musical expression. Turning the body into a well-tuned musical instrument, Dalcroze thought, was the best way to provide a solid musical foundation. As well as being an outstanding teacher – eventually founding his own Institut in Geneva in 1915 – Jaques-Dalcroze was an accomplished composer, writing operas such as Le Violon maudit, Sancho Panza and Les Jumeaux de Bergame, as well as songs, choral and chamber works, and music for orchestra. This outstanding CD features his two beautiful Violin Concertos, which show him to be a master of his craft. These committed, vibrant performances were recorded recently in Moscow by the gifted young Russian violinist Rodion Zamuruev with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Anissimov. Highly recommended.