Louis THIRION

 

Louis THIRION (1879-1966)

Trio pour piano, violon et violoncelle opus 11

Laurent Wagschal (piano) Solènne Païdissi (violon) Sébastien van Kuijk (violoncelle)

Quatuor à cordes opus 10

Quatuor Stanislas 

Timpani 1C1237

parution mars 2016

 

Il faut redécouvrir Louis Thirion (1879-1966). Natif de Baccarat, élève de Ropartz à Nancy, il devient au début du XXe siècle un compositeur joué, et joué par les grands, comme Enesco ou Pierné. Il enchaîne Sonates et Symphonies. La guerre survient qui l’éloignera de la scène musicale, mais surtout qui voit la destruction de sa maison et de ses manuscrits : un choc qui lui fait renoncer à la création... dès lors il se consacrera à l’enseignement. Dommage ! Car il suffit d’écouter les extraits du Trio et du Quatuor pour être convaincu de la valeur de ce musicien attachant, inspiré et savant.
C’est dans la salle Poirel qu’il a bien connue, à Nancy, que se sont déroulées les séances d’enregistrement, avec le Quatuor Stanislas, qui a initié le projet, et un trio constitué de Laurent Wagschal, Solenne Païdassi et un nouveau venu chez Timpani, le violoncelliste Sébastien van Kuijk. 

 

 

 

Revue de presse: 

CLASSICA mai 2016  ****

"Le quatuor est interprété par le Quatuor Stanislas, auquel nous devons déjà une belle intégrale des quatuors de Ropartz...."

Lire l'article complet

 

RESMUSICA 17 juin 2016

Il semble qu’il s’agisse ici d’une double première : premier enregistrement en cd consacré à  et évidemment premières versions du Trio et du Quatuor. La renommée justifiée et bien établie de ses interprètes ne permet pas de douter un instant du bien-fondé d’une telle entreprise et de sa qualité interprétative.

Lire l'article complet

 

 

 

MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL JUNE 2016

"...Les interprètes sont tous excellents. Le pianiste Laurent Wagschal est un spécialiste de la musique française de cette époque, et a réalisé de nombreux enregistrements pour Timpani, parmi lesquels l'oeuvre pour piano de Maurice Emmanuel, de Pierné et la musique de chambre de Magnard. Le Quatuor Stanislas est un ensemble établi de longue date à Nancy. La sonorité est très naturelle,  et le livret est très documenté, historiquement et musicalement...."

David Barker

(voir article complet en anglais ci-dessous)

FANFARE (USA/ Août 2016)   Hautement recommandé 

Louis Thirion (1879-1966) est un compositeur français qui a passé la plus grande partie de sa longue existence à Nancy ou dans les environs. Le livret très documenté nous informe que, après avoir composé entre 1906 et 1913des oeuvres  accueillies avec le plus grand intérêt, il renonça à composer et se consacra à l’enseignement jusqu’à la fin de sa vie. C’est désolant, parce ce disque prouve qu’il s’agit dun compositeur de grand talent, qui avait beaucoup à exprimer à travers sa musique. Autant que je sache, il s’agit d’une première discographique, et je suis extrêmement reconnaissant à Timpani et aux interprètes pour avoir découvert et enregistré sa musique. Thirion était un élève de Ropartz, qui est le compositeur dont l’influence est la plus évidente dans ces oeuvres de musique de chamber. Je caractériserais cette musique comme ayant une base germanique, épicée de  beaucoup de saveurs françaises. Si vous appréciez Ropartz, vous aimerez sûrement Thirion.

Le trio avec piano en la mineur en quatre mouvements ne repousse aucunement les limites musicales, mais s’exprime pleinement dans le style de  son époque (….) Il y a une réelle beauté dans cette musique, et les interprètes réunis ici la servent superbement (….) Pour résumer, une oeuvre splendide à laquelle je retournerai avec plaisir.

Le quatuor à cordes en mi majeur precéde le trio de deux années et présente  un air certain de parenté avec Ravel et Debussy. Dans le premier movement, les deux parties intermédiaires (violon2 et alto) sont à l’honneur. Dans le second movement, le début en pizzicato évoque à l’évidence le scherzo du quatuor de Ravel. Il est suivi d’un adagio  dont le caractère intensément mélodique  déborde de nostalgie et de mélancolie. Merveilleuse musique.  Un finale plein de vie conclut l’oeuvre dans une splendeur chromatique. Si vous aimez les quatuors de Debussy et de Ravel, vous pouvez être certain  d’aimer celui-ci. Le Quatuor Stanislas rend pleinement justice à cette musique avec un ensemble impressionnant et une solide justesse. On ne peut espérer mieux pour une première discographique d’un répertoire peu familier. Bravo!

Le seul regret porte sur la durée relativement courte de cet enregistrement. Thirion laisse quelques autres oeuvres de musique de chambre, dont des  sonates pour violon et pour violoncelle avec piano, et l’une d’entre elles aurait bien completé ce disque. Peut-être que Timpani prévoit de les enregistrer aussi. Si c’est le cas, j’applaudis!

De plus, Thirion a écrit deux symphonies qui supplient d’être enregistrées. Faites-les nous entendre!

Pour ne rien gâcher, la prise de son est excellente, qui rend avec finesse chaque nuance.

Hautement recommandé

Mark Novak 

MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL JUNE 2016

Unsung composers don’t come much more unsung than Louis Thirion. Googling his name finds a French Wikipedia page, but also many more references to a recently deceased science-fiction writer of the same name. I can find no reference to other recordings of his music. This certainly bears out the opening remarks in the booklet, which describes the isolation of French composers not working in Paris, whose works would not gain their just recognition.

Thirion was born in the Lorraine region, and educated in Nancy, where he would spend much of his life. His most important teacher was Guy Ropartz, who recognising the talents of his pupil, appointed Thirion as professor of organ and piano at the Conservatory. Thirion’s hometown of Baccarat was seriously damaged during the war, and all his manuscripts were destroyed. His wife died in 1920, leaving him to raise two young children. He stopped composing entirely, restricting himself to teaching. Thus, his creative output is sadly limited to the decade before the outbreak of war.

I have remarked a number of times in my survey of piano trios how a lack of concision detracted from the works of many lesser composers: drawing musical material out too far, so that what qualities there may have been, are diluted. Thirion didn’t fall into this trap: the longest of the eight movements across the two works is a little over nine minutes. The trio is beautifully balanced with all movements between five and seven minutes in length.

Both works are very much of their time and place, but don’t have the sophisticated air of contemporaries such as Ravel and the older Fauré. Nor do they exhibit the cyclic structure popularised by César Franck. This is graceful and elegant music, restrained in a French pastoral style.

The trio is quite a delight, and the best “new” trio I have encountered since that of René de Castéra last year (review). The scherzo (Pas trop vite) is witty and stylish, and the slow movement brings to mind the opening of the Ravel trio. It approaches that degree of beauty, without having the sublime level of passion and intensity.

The quartet, written two years prior to the trio, sounds more modern, especially the outer movements. Their melodies are sharper, more bittersweet with hints of dissonance. Overall, it doesn’t have the immediate appeal of the trio, at least to my trio-leaning ears, but there is no question that it is a very fine work. The Assef vif (scherzo) is wonderfully spicy, with its pizzicato elements.

The playing is uniformly excellent; surely neither group can have seen this music before. Pianist Laurent Wagschal specialises in French music of this period and has made a number of recordings for Timpani, among them the piano works of Emmanuel and Pierné and the chamber music of Magnard; all have been well-regarded. Quatuor Stanislas is a long-established group, based in Nancy. The sound quality is very natural and clean, and the booklet notes are very informative, historically and musically.

Do I have any reservations? Only one: the playing time. Sonatas for piano, cello and violin exist – you can find them at IMSLP. Surely one of these could have been squeezed into the nearly half an hour of “empty space” on the disc. I hope that this means the three of them will be appearing on another disc. In the meantime, I will savour the fifty-two minutes of Thirion that we do have.

David Barker

 

FANFARE (USA / August 2016)  Highly recommended

Louis Thirion (1879-1966) was a French composer who spent most of his long life in and around Nancy. The informative booklet notes tell us that, after a handful of highly regarded compositions dating from 1906 to 1913, Thirion gave up composition and devoted the rest of his life to teaching. That’s a shame because the evidence on offer here is of a highly skilled composer who had interesting things to say through his music. As far as I can tell, this is his first appearance in recordings and I am grateful to Timpani and these performers for searching out and recording this music. Thirion was a student of Guy Ropartz and it is that composer who is most evident in these two chamber works. I would characterize the music as having a German foundation with plenty of French spice added. If you appreciate Ropartz, you will certainly like Thirion.

The four-movement, 25-minute Piano Trio in A minor doesn’t push any musical boundaries but establishes itself firmly in the idiom of its time. An impetuous unison theme on the strings opens the trio which soon settles into a section of calm that the composer develops. This serene music is interrupted by that opening theme as if the say, “Hey – don’t get too settled, I’m still here!” This playful back-and-forth continues until the movement closes with a final, agitated flourish. For the scherzo that follows, the piano takes center stage with a lively theme that is accompanied by the strings. The slow movement is especially moving with its somber, unison strings treading out a plaintive melody before the violin and cello begin to answer each other over the flowing piano accompaniment. There is real beauty in this music and this ad hoc trio of players conveys it superbly. The animated finale closes thing out in a very French-sounding manner bringing to mind Debussy in an upbeat mood. Altogether, a splendid piece of music to which I will return.

The four-movement (26-minute) string quartet in E major preceded the piano trio by two years and has a most definite air of Ravel and Debussy about it. The writing is chromatic with plenty of harmonic spice and key shifting. The two inner string parts – second violin and viola – get a workout in the first movement. The pizzicato playing that launches the scherzo movement is most certainly reminiscent of the comparable movement in Ravel’s quartet. It is followed by a heart-felt and melodic adagio filled with melancholy and longing. The movement builds to a climax and then returns for a coda based on the initial violin melody. Gorgeous stuff. A lively finale brings the music to a close in chromatic splendor. If you enjoy the quartets of Debussy and Ravel, you are sure to like this one. The Quatour Stanislas do full justice to this performance with terrific ensemble work and solid intonation. One can’t ask for more in a recorded debut of unfamiliar repertoire. Bravo!

The single debit for this release is its relatively short measure for a CD. Thirion did leave a few other chamber works including sonatas for violin and cello and it would have been great to have one of those pieces added. Perhaps Timpani plant to record those as well.  If so, I am in! Furthermore, Thirion composed two symphonies that beg to be recorded. Let’s hear ‘em! Add to this an excellent recording that captures every nuance in very fine sound and this one is a real winner.

Highly recommended.

Mark Novak