Pierné: Paysages franciscains, Op 43; Les Cathédrales; Scherzo-Caprice, Op 25; Poème symphonique, Op 37; Fantaisie-Ballet, Op 6; Nocturne en forme de valse, Op 40 No 2; Étude de concert, Op 13

Reviewed on Thu 24 Sep, 2015

Winner of the Prix de Rome at the age of 19, Pierné was also a gifted pianist and organist, and the three immensely endearing piano concertante works here combine scintillating virtuosity with melodic fecundity (think Delibes, Massenet and Saint-Saëns).

Born in Metz, and a pupil of Franck and Massenet, the composer Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937) was also a much respected conductor, presiding over the world premieres of such key works as Debussy's Jeux and Stravinsky's The Firebird. You can, I think, discern something of the influence of those progressive masterpieces in his Paysages franciscains, a frequently haunting (and ravishingly scored) triptych from 1919. Winner of the Prix de Rome at the age of 19, Pierné was also a gifted pianist and organist, and the three immensely endearing piano concertante works here combine scintillating virtuosity with melodic fecundity (think Delibes, Massenet and Saint-Saëns). Soloist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet does them absolutely proud and rounds off proceedings with two solo items (the Op 13 Etude de concert goes like the wind!). With first-class orchestral playing, strongly sympathetic direction from Juanjo Mena and top-notch Chandos sound throughout, this is indeed a hugely enjoyable anthology.
–Andrew Achenbach