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The Classical Explorer

A Light Touch

AS&V 965

Cécile Chaminade

Trio #1 in G minor, Op. 11 (1881)
Trio #2 in A minor, Op. 34 (1887)
Ritournelle (arr. Marcus)
Sérénade, Op. 29 (arr. Cottin/Marcus)
Pastorale Enfante, Op. 12 (arr. Marcus)
Serenade Espagñole (arr. Kreisler)

Tzigane Piano Trio
Academy Sound & Vision CDDCA965 57:28

Chaminade, as a young girl, was called "a little Mozart" by George Bizet. She was most known for her popular "salon and parlor" pieces which she performed and published. She wrote over 400 compositions, among them a ballet, an opera, songs, concerti, and chamber music, but she was forgotten in her own lifetime, and belittled by contemporary critics because she was a woman, and because she didn't take part in the French musical revolution of the times. A complete catalog of her works was not made until 1988! At last we can enjoy her charming music on CD and much of it is accessible to amateur music-makers.

This CD has a little sampling of her songs (Pastorale Enfantine) and piano pieces, both presented here in arrangements, but the chamber music is the real meat of the recording. Chaminade, in her trios, wrote deceptively simple melodies and close harmonies for the strings while her piano parts sparkle with light scale passages and arpeggios and overall rhythmic interest. The third movement of the first Piano Trio has captured me! I can listen to it over and over. It is reminiscent of the Arensky First Piano Trio, second movement, another ear-worm with amazing sense of movement in the piano part! Chaminade's overall compositional style also evokes another elegant and charming work: the first Piano Trio of Camille Saint-Saëns.

If you enjoy these works, you will no doubt enjoy the numerous recordings of Chaminade's piano works, and I can also highly recommend the Deutsche Grammophon release of Anne Sofie von Otter and Bengt Forsberg presenting Chaminade's songs, three pieces for violin and piano and three two-piano works (DGG 471331-2)

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - ]