LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Chants du Rhin; Nocturnes
PERFORMER: Jean-Marc Luisada (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 53730 2
As a virtuoso pianist, Bizet made an impact that was quickly and unfortunately overwhelmed by his operatic ambitions. Start this disc and you might be listening to the arching melody and broken chords of early Fauré. By the end of Chants du Rhin, its sensuous singing lines, poetic textures and light rhythms add up to a Jeux d’enfants for grown-ups. It’s wholly French; the title alludes to poetry that asserted the Frenchness of an important part of the Rhineland. When Fauré wrote his first Nocturne ten years later his harmonies were already moving beyond Bizet’s towards the outer classical reaches, but the Nocturnes, in common with Bizet, are harder to play than they sound. Holding the attention persuasively throughout, Luisada produces a glowing tone and spacious, flexible pulse that especially draw out the emotion of the supposedly reticent Fauré. It’s a broad selection that includes some of the less famous and some of the most exploratory Nocturnes as well as two of the finest and best known. Luisada creates an appetite for more of both composers.