Performer: Germaine Thyssens-Valentin
Composer: Cesar Franck, Gabriel Faure
SPARS Code: A-D
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Size: 225 MB
01. à 3. César Franck – Prélude, choral et fugue en si mineur (1954)
04. à 6. César Franck – Prélude, aria et finale en mi majeur (1954)
07. à 15. Gabriel Fauré – 9 Préludes opus 103 (1959)
Germaine Thyssens-Valentin (piano), 1954 & 1959
Thyssens-Valentin has a reputation of Faure specialist. Here she gives us interpratation of two colossal Franck pieces. My reference to these is Bolet Franck: Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue; Prelude, Aria, and Finale; Symphonic Variations. Thyssens-Valentin is slower by most tempos, her Prelude, choral et fugue 5.48-7.12-8.15 compared to his 5.05-7.18-7.25. In Prelude, aria et final she has swifter tempo at finale: 10.28-7.06-6.38, his being 10.05-6.35-7.40. In both works Thyssens-Valentin starts with veiled tone and build wonderful climaxes in the end of choral and fugue. She plays in long lines and understands structures perfectly inside the machine itself. Playing is absolutely not short of power, when it is needed and she seems to have edge over old Bolet by having been born to play this music. When I usually tend to think Franck and Reger sort of relatives as composers, this time I coupled Franck with Faure. It really opened some insights to Franck and these big-boned virtuoso works to listen them through Gabriel’s ears, in some sense. Prelude (of aria et final) is played wonderfully, there is an enormous authority and naturalness in her playing. Listening almost 50 minutes of these works one feels it has been much shorter time. Blessed Richter very highly appreciated Franck: try this and you will understand something about it. Bolet has an advantage in better recording, but Thyssens-Valentin is special, her faith to these works remains unchallenged whereas Bolet hesitates. To compare final, Bolet is virtuoso playing thunderously, but Thyssens-Valentin is the tempest itself. It is elementary and fills listener with awe.
What a strange feeling to enter world of Faure after Franck. Composers are yet so different. One cannot but wonder how insider Thyssens-Valentin is. When I read the score of preludes, I note surficically that these are variations of Chopin idiom and a lot of repetitive structures. Yet, this lady turns everything personal, beautifully lit and completely meaningful, one gets feeling she has lived her live through this music. Warmly recommended experience, but I cannot quarantee easy bliss. There are no hits in op 109, no big stories involved but masterful pianistic texture (revealed by Thyssens-Valentin) and a strange collection of emotions suddenly brought to daylight. One should feel uneasy before the real art. I felt it here. Thanks, Germaine Thyssens-Valentin and Cesar and Gabriel – thank you as well!