Beau Soir

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Boulanger,Debussy,Dubugnon,Faure,Messiaen,Ravel
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Violin Sonatas by Debussy & Ravel; plus Dubugnon, Boulanger, Messiaen, Fauré and Debussy
PERFORMER: Janine Jansen (violin), Itamar Golan (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 478 2256

Advertisement

French and nocturnal in flavour, this exquisite recital finds Janine Jansen at her most seductive. The main pillars are the sonatas by Debussy and Ravel, and what impresses is the beauty of Jansen’s hushed playing.

The last movements of both fizz and crackle, but these performances are about so much more than dazzling pyrotechnics. In the first movement of the Debussy Sonata, Jansen nimbly flits from shade, through dappled light to full sunshine and back again.

Such transformations are also evident in Messiaen’s Thème et Variations. Others may equal the blazing intensity of the transcendent final variation, but not the way that Jansen and Itamar Golan manage the dying embers to such devastating effect.

It is also hard to think of a more heartfelt account of Lili Boulanger’s sublime Nocturne, matched by the beauty in Jansen’s hands of Fauré’s ‘Après un rêve’. This, like the arrangements of Debussy’s ‘Beau soir’ and ‘Clair de lune’, is no mere lollipop, but an integral part of this recital.

Advertisement

Nestling amid these favourites are three new works written for this disc by Richard Dubugnon, whose Violin Concerto was also written for Jansen. The Verlaine-inspired La minute exquise and dream-like Hypnos are adapted from earlier songs by Dubugnon, the latter with ‘Après un rêve’ in mind. Retour à Montfort-l’Amaury was inspired by composing at Ravel’s house. Jansen and Golan are compelling advocates. Christopher Dingle