Label: The Electric Recording Co. - ERC 047 ( Les Discophiles Francais DF 525.122)
True Mono 10 inch LP - Catalogue Number. ERC047
Only 99 copies of each will be sold.
ERC will not undertake a repress of any release at any future point.
Out of Print! Last Chance!
A must-have for collectors of sublime historical recordings, this reissue of Auclair's 1960 recording is equally appropriate for listeners seeking their first recording of the works of both Ravel and Debussy for violin and piano.
On this disc originally released by Les Discophiles Français (525.122) in 1960 Michèle Auclair is partnered by Jacqueline Bonneau (1917-2007). Their musical collaborations began in 1956. Bonneau had studied with Lazare Levy and, whilst at the Paris Conservatoire, had been a contemporary of Paul Tortelier and Henri Dutilleux in the harmony class. Her concert career was launched in 1945, the same year that she formed a two-piano partnership with Geneviève Joy (1919-2009), who incidentally married Dutilleux in 1946.
French violinist Michèle Auclair (born on November 16, 1924) studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Jules Boucherit and Jacques Thibaud from France, and with Russian Boris Kamensky. They all influenced the development of her talent and explains her style of playing with a beautiful technique and above all with a natural passion. In 1943 she won the "Prix Jacques Thibaud Marguerite Long" and in 1945 she was a laureate of the "Concours International de Genève", the Geneva International Competition. In the annals of performing history, it is amazing to learn that Michèle Auclair’s introduction to the violin came via listening to a performance of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata at the age of only six. This led her to ask her parents for lessons. Born in Paris in 1924, she hailed from a very cultured family. Her father and grandfather were not only amateur musicians but painters also. It was in this artistically nurturing environment that her prodigious talent was cultivated.
Debussy’s violin sonata is the manifestation of his experiences from the later, darker years of his life. Originally proposed as part of his grand plan for a group of six sonatas for various instruments, he managed to complete just three of them before his death on 1918 from colorectal cancer. It is quite remarkable that during such a dark period for Debussy this third and final sonata radiates themes of free flowing promise and light that predominate over the darker phrases contained within. Even in his last days Debussy affords us his genius, a personal document, free in form and incredibly expressive, improvised yet controlled.
Ravel’s violin sonata, in contrast takes its inspiration from other sources. Between 1923 and 1927 Ravel was exposed to the sounds of American jazz and blues through a trip to America, the influence of which can be felt throughout the expressive phrases of this unique work. The sonata was premiered in 1927 at the Salle Érard, with the legendary George Enescu playing the violin and Ravel himself at the piano. A sonata of highly contrasting movements, both linear and precise yet with the spirit of the blues running through its veins.
Auclair’s Ravel is much more spontaneous with an innate sense of freedom and fantasy. Auclair, eschewing this strait-jacketed and hemmed-in approach, makes the blues movement more jazzy and improvisatory, yet without sounding mannered. She throws all caution to the wind in a performance of vitality and élan. Watching some film of Auclair, I was struck by the strength and force of her right arm, bowing near to the bridge to obtain maximum power and sonority. This enables her to project a certain amount of tonal opulence. - Stephen Greenbank
Michèle Auclair, Violin
Jacqueline Bonneau, Piano
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Violin Sonata in G minor, L148
1. Allegro vivo
2. Intermède: Fantastique et léger
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Sonata for violin and piano in G major
2. "Blues" - Moderato
3. "Perpetuum Mobile" - Allegro
Original copies of this important recording are incredibly rare and as with many original pressings on Les Discophiles Français label are almost impossible to find in a condition where playback can be enjoyed to the full. This release is cut in true valve mono and limited to 99 copies.