Notes & Reviews:
Born into a family of architects, the pianist, piano pedagogue and composer Emmanuel Durlet was only 16 when he obtained his degree in piano studies with the highest honours from the Royal Flemish Conservatoire of Music in Antwerp. Following an esteemed career as a performer, proving himself as a piano virtuoso of the highest level, he entered a new compositional phase in 1933. All of the works on this new recording date from this period, and Durlet prefers to give his pieces evocative titles that often describe the mood or feeling of the music itself. This programmatic element is constant in his entire oeuvre. The rather unusual title of The Refuge of your Eyes, for instance, can be explained by its composition in April 1946, as Durlet was recovering from major surgery on his left eye; and the Miniature for little Aunt was written in memory of ‘Tanteke’ (Auntie), Durlet’s father’s sister. His highly distinctive melodic lines and rich and, at times, surprising harmony make Durlet’s music easily recognisable, and are a common feature of his music. Of particular beauty are the Old-Flemish Melodies and Dances, originally penned for the harpsichord in 1757 by Robert d’Aubat de Saint-Flour, a dancing-master in the city of Ghent. Durlet turned these pieces into a string of fine pearls for the piano, with suggestive titles such as ‘The Shepherds’, ‘The Mouse’ and ‘The Three Kisses’. Three award-winning artists, all of whom have played with the world’s leading orchestras and achieved success in a number of international competitions, perform Durlet’s music for violin, cello and piano. Other information: * Recorded in 2011 and 2012. * Booklet includes liner notes and artist biographies.
American Record Guide, March/April 2015
His sonata for violin and piano, Illuminated Tales, is intelligent and enjoyable; only IV, 'The Temptation of St Anthony', falls short of portraying its subject. Outside of that, there are some elegant themes, satisfying structures, and a substantial piano part. The Refuge of Your Eyes is a 12-minute piece for cello and piano, warmer and more heart-on-sleeve than the violin sonata. I imagine these string pieces aren't well known. That's a shame, because they are both wonderful and would be winning pieces on any program. Robert d'Aubat wrote the Old Flemish Melodies and Dances in 1757 for harpsichord; the notes say that Durlet "turned (them) into a string of fine pearls for the piano." It sounds as if Durlet did some respectful modifications of these 19 short pieces. Lawson and Cohen are good musicians. Izumi has a velvet tone and a great feel for the music. The sound is fine; notes are in English.
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