ANTOINE MARIOTTE (1875-1944): Impressions urbaines for Piano, Kakémonos for Piano, 3 Intimités and Le Vieux Chemin for Soprano and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 01R050
Description: Haters of the human voice note: only 13 of the 67 minutes on this disc are taken up by songs. An interesting and original French composer-pianist of the first half of the twentieth century. Although his piano music is very obviously influenced by Debussy, a more modernist trend is also clearly audible, a move away from nature and organic forms toward images of the machine age. The large piano suite Urban Impressions (1914-1919) is the main work here, and a most impressive one. This is a cityscape for gritty modern times, which owes as much to Mosolov or Prokofiev as to any French influences, in its driven, motoric depictions of factory machines and railways, opening with a dissonant, flamboyant gesture that suggests Messiaen. Depressing grey suburbs, a joyless dormitory town for workers condemned to the factories; a war requiem -“'rubble”, the emotional heart of the cycle in memory of the composer's godson, a victim of the war - all depicted with an artist's sensibilities, yet devoid of sentimentality. The only relief is a kind of frantic circus scherzo, “open-air dance halls”, the workers' desperate attempt at gaiety on a Friday night. The piano writing displays a masterly touch, with layering of voices, rich harmony and ample virtuosity. Kakemonos, a series of impressions of Japanese drawings, are closer to the world of the impressionists, with their fascination with orientalism, while the songs, simpler in texture and expression, display a gentle depth of feeling and a gift for melodic clarity. French texts. Sabine Revault d’Allonnes (soprano), Daniel Blumenthal (piano).