The great names of French music leap out, and we are also tantalised by the inclusion of the famous name of Boulanger. In this case, Lili, sister of famous teacher and musicologist Nadia. Lili’s contribution is a limpid three-minute Nocturne with a passionate central section. Less well known is the Swiss composer, Richard Dubugnon, who Jansen tells us is heir to the French sound.And it is true; Dubugnon’s pieces are safely at home with his famous colleagues Debussy, Ravel and Fauré – so much so that it is not always easy to tell where some of their music stops and his begins.
He has three works on the CD: La Minute Exquise, Hynos and Retour à Montfort-l’Amaury. This last was written for the CD and is the most vigorous of the three. Messiaen’s splendid Thème et Variations is from the same oeuvre as Quatuor pour la fin du temps. The composer ranges widely from intimate delicacy to an energetic, passionate vigour that forms the core of the work. Fauré’s Après un rêve, which follows, sounds as if it could be an extra variation.
One of the larger works on the CD is Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, a fine piece that was his last gift to us. Ravel’s delicious sonata contains a cheeky blues section, full of humour and perky rhythms. It finishes with a fast, skittish allegro. This is an intelligent collection in which the elegance and clarity of French composition is well handled by Jansen and her accompanist, Itamar Golan. However, the thematic unity between the different pieces actually leads to a loss of interest if heard at one sitting.