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COMPOSERS: Tailleferre
LABELS: Timpani
WORKS: Piano Trio; Calme sans lenteur; Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2; Violin Sonatina; Berceuse; Adagio; Pastorale
PERFORMER: Cristina Ariagno (piano), Massimo Marin (violin), Manuel Zigante (cello)
It’s interesting that Germaine Tailleferre still tends to be defined very much by the male company she kept: friend of Stravinsky, Ravel, Picasso; colleague of Cocteau, Ionesco, Valéry. There are still simply too few live performances of her music for us really to get to know Tailleferre in all her wit, tender lyricism and stylistic adventuring. So this disc is welcome in some degree, even though it deals in minor Tailleferre, and in performances not really bold and stylish enough to sell her music up front.


Apart from the early, disarming Berceuse, with Tailleferre the student looking over her shoulder at the guiding spirit of Fauré, and a winsome, bucolic little Sonatine commissioned by the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1973, these are works in progress, or in various stages of metamorphosis. The Sonata No. 2 of 1946, both stronger of sinew and of purpose than the elfin First Sonata, is a transformation of Tailleferre’s Violin Concerto; and Massimo Marin warms to its buoyant song, though Cristina Ariagno’s piano-playing is somewhat heavy-handed.


The Trio of 1916 was revisited in 1978, when two new movements were added to its Chaussonesque heat-haze of late-Romantic expression. And the Adagio, much loved by Alfred Cortot, is a transcription from Tailleferre’s Piano Concerto, its hypnotic, tolling beauty revealed in an affectionate, if unexceptional, performance. Hilary Finch