Tal & Groethuysen release their new album „Avec Esprit“

Tal & Groethuysen 2 ©Gustav Eckart

On March 17th, 2023 the time has come: The piano duo Tal & Groethuysen will release their new album "Avec Esprit", which will be released by Sony Classical:

After "1915" (Claude Debussy and Reynaldo Hahn) and "Colors" (Debussy and Richard Strauss) there now follows another CD, "Avec esprit" with a selection of works for two pianos from the French Romantic period.

Two of these compositions were penned by Theodore Gouvy (1819 - 1898). We have a special "friendship" with this composer, since we were the first musicians to dedicate an entire CD (at that time with works for piano duet) to this author in the early 1990s. His extensive work in all musical genres is now well documented and enjoys increasing recognition and distribution, which was not granted to him to such an extent during his lifetime. Various reasons may have contributed to this, political as well as music-historical. In order to find one's bearings in his style, one could claim that it is somewhere between that of Mendelssohn and Schumann, but this does not really do justice to its specific sound and appealing gesture. The Sonata in D minor op. 66 (1876) and the Variations on the Irish melody Lilli Bullero op. 62 (1877) are examples of his art on this CD.

Around the same time, Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 - 1921) was composing the Variations on a Theme from Beethoven, Op. 35 (1874). After a short introduction in an improvisational manner, the theme is presented, which comes from the minuet or its trio from the Piano Sonata op. 31 no. 3. This is followed by ten variations, including a fugue in the baroque style. Compared to Gouvy's work, which has a certain sweetness and opulence, Saint-Saens' language here is rather concise and classicistic, but without denying its virtuosic character. There is also a pinch of humor...

When one speaks of Théophile Ysaÿe (1865 - 1918), his more famous brother Eugène, the great violin virtuoso, is almost always mentioned in the same breath. The complete oeuvre of the pianist and composer Ysaÿe is as good as unknown to this day, although he left behind an extensive repertoire. In order to snatch at least something from this oblivion, the CD contains his Variations on a Theme of his own op. 10 (1910). The highly artistically interwoven work, whose lush harmonies are at times reminiscent of those of César Franck, has in many variations the charm of the vague, of the fleetingly suggested, and thus also an impressionistic trait.

Compared to the relative obscurity of Gouvy and Ysaÿe, not even the biographical data of Marguerite Mélan-Guéroult could be ascertained. Her Tourbillon (1896) is a rousing, delightful and extremely charming piece. Curiously enough, along with some piano works and songs that can still be found today, a bust of her is at least a preserved sign of life from a lost existence.

Yaara Tal, Andreas Groethuysen

Further information: https://www.tal-groethuysen.de/projects.html#esprit and https://www.sonyclassical.de/kuenstler/artists-details/yaara-andreas-tal-groethuysen

Back to the news overview