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John France
MusicWeb International, July 2012

Baigneuses au soleil (Souvenir de Banyuls-sur-mer) (1908) has been described as a ‘gem of impressionism.’ The work which was dedicated to the painter Alfred Cortot is a musical evocation of girls ‘lying in the sun and bathing in the sea at Banyuls-sur-mer’. There is colour, warmth and sunshine in every bar.

I love the Les naïades et le faune indiscret (Danse nocturne)…This is a beautifully descriptive work that conjures up a classical scene transposed to the Pyrénées-Orientales landscape. Often languorous, this music reflects a complex, highly perfumed style of pianism. However, it is far removed from the temperament of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midid’unfaune that also evokes the moods of a faun.

Sous les lauriers roses is an important and multi-faceted work. It was composed in 1919 and was dedicated to ‘the memory of the composer’s teachers, Emmanuel Chabrier, Isaac Albéniz and Charles Bordes. The English translation of the title means ‘Under the Oleanders’, however it has an alternative—Soir de Carnaval sur la Côte Catalane (Carnival Evening on the Catalan Coast). The liner-notes detail the complex exposition of this piece and it is well-worth reading before listening to the music. If I am honest, this piece is a confection: there are musical evocations of drums, flutes, paso dobles, valses and even a ‘playful cuckoo Fughetta.’ In fact, all the noises and sounds that one would expect at a carnival. Yet somehow in spite of all this activity, the piece works well. The pianism is excellent and the sound-world is once again sun-drenched. The three dedicatees must have been delighted with the end-product.

The two sets of En Vacances (On Holiday) are described as ‘a set of little romantic pieces of moderate difficulty, each piece dedicated to a friend or relation.’

The music of these short pieces is a concatenation of Schumann, Fauré, Chabrier, Debussy and the salon works of Albéniz. However, this is not pastiche or parody, but synthesis. Sévérac entertains, engages and charms with these holiday-inspired pieces and makes the miniatures his own creation.

I enjoyed all the pieces on this disc. The pianist Jordi Masó has taken these works to his heart. He brings sunlight, blue skies and a tang of the Mediterranean into virtually every bar. His sympathy towards this music is clear to any listener. He does not patronise whilst playing some of the more technically straightforward pieces.

I had to rely heavily on the liner-notes for this CD and typically these are excellent. The CD sound quality is superb. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Jack Sullivan
American Record Guide, July 2012

This is the second volume of a welcome series. Deodat de Severac…wrote music of unassuming lyricism and quiet elegance. Unabashedly “regional”, he based his piano art on French and Catalan songs and locations. This delicate and delightful music is well served by Jordi Maso, who plays with prismatic color and understated musicality.

‘Bathers in the Sun’…is a sparkling evocation of girls enjoying themselves at the shore. ‘Danse Nocturne’…and ‘Under the Oleanders’…have a charm reminiscent of early Debussy. There are evocations of music boxes and minuets, as well as loving tributes to Schumann, Chopin, and Chabrier. The program ends with a witty ‘Canon sans danger dans le style pompier’ just to remind us that this music does not traffic in pretentiousness. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2012

The second volume of piano pieces by the now forgotten French-born composer, Deodat de Sévérac, his music somewhere between the style of Chopin and Debussy. He died in 1921 at young age of forty-nine, and, as this disc shows, he had been extremely gifted, having had Vincent d’Indy and Magnard as his composition teachers; an organ scholar of Guilmant, and a piano student of Isaac Albeniz. Born in the south of France, it was there that he spent much of his mature life, somewhat cut off from mainstream French musical creativity centered on Paris. The two books of works, En vacancies (On holiday), are a reflection of childhood days in a series of cameos each dedicated to a friend or relation, the first book of such modest difficulty it could be enjoyed by an accomplished amateur. Of innocent charm, from the lilting Grandma’s caresses, through the playful Little girls next door, to the fast moving Games in the Park, and finally a lyric Romantic Waltz. It was written in 1911, but he never completed the second book, only three pieces remaining and published posthumously. These require a performer of advanced ability, the first composed in the style of Chopin and the third a short picture of The Two Musketeers. Bathers in the Sun, a gorgeous score dedicated to his friend Alfred Cortot; The Naiades and the Prying Faun, only discovered by Serverac’s daughter in 1952, and the extended Under the Oleanders, are all highly enjoyable in the hands of Jordi Masó. His playing is so perfectly delineated and shaped with that inherent understanding of the era and style of writing. Excellent sound quality and programme notes. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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