ALBUM TITLE: Pierné Orchestral Works: Volume 2
WORKS: Orchestral works, Vol. 2
PERFORMER: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano); BBC Philarmonic/Juanjo Mena
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10871
Half a decade separates the first and second volumes of Pierné’s orchestral works from Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic, but it is worth the wait. Once again, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet plays a leading role, this time in a trio of concertante piano works from relatively early in Pierné’s career, with a couple of charming solo pieces as encores. The spirit of his teachers Saint-Saëns and Franck is to the fore, with a healthy dose of Liszt also in the mix. Bavouzet is a convincing and enthusiastic advocate, sparkling in the Scherzo-Caprice, calmly noble at the opening of the Poème symphonique and negotiating the abrupt turns of mood in the Fantaisie-Ballet with ease.
Of the purely orchestral works, Les cathédrales is an impassioned outpouring from relatively early in the First World War. The highlight and revelation of the disc, though, is the suite Paysages franciscains from 1919. With atmospheric use of colour and light, as well a freer harmonic approach, this masterpiece could easily be mistaken for Debussy or Ravel and is worth the price of the disc alone. The solo Nocturne is sublime in Bavouzet’s hands and the Etude de concert makes an enjoyably virtuosic conclusion. Christopher Dingle