KAROL BEFFA (b.1973): Blow up (Ensemble Initium, Karol Beffa [piano]), Subway (Eric Aubier [trumpet], Laurent Wagschal [piano]), Fireworks (Jean-Yves Fourmeau Saxophone Quartet), Paysages d’ombres (Vincent Lucas [flute], Lisa Berthaud [viola], Marie-Piere Langlamet [harp]), Eloge de l’ombre (Langlamet [harp]), Concerto for Trumpet and Strings (Aubier [trumpet], Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine; Sébastien Billard).
Catalogue Number: 07S078
Description: A delightful cross-section of Beffa's original and highly approachable brand of modern romanticism, beginning with his appealing modally-inflected concerto with its contrasting Shostakovich-like brief central scherzo - a work that is in danger of becoming standard repertoire (which it deserves); this is its fourth recording in one or other of its two versions. Blow Up is energetic and propulsive, based on ostinati - riffs, really; the piece has a mechanistic drive that owes something to pop music and a similar reliance on tonal chord sequences. During a central melodic section, the piano keeps the pulse going in the background until the fast tempo reasserts itself for a breezy, jazzy 'finale'. This miniature concerto has an easy, catchy appeal. Subway depicts the incessant energy of the Manhattan transport system. Based on rapid, repeating jazzy motifs the piece is a busy urban perpetuum mobile. Paysages is atmospheric, with an autumnal, pastoral feel in a rather impressionistic vein with echoes of folksong and early music, while Fireworks returns to Beffa's catchy motoric mode, where minimalistic propulsiveness meets jazzy syncopation.