Guy Ropartz: Piano Music

Catalogue No: TOCC0326
EAN/UPC: 5060113443267
Release Date: 2015-12-04
Composer: Guy Ropartz
Artists: Stephanie McCallum

Guy Ropartz (1864–1955) was one of the unsung heroes of French music, often conducting the music of his contemporaries with his orchestra in Nancy. But Ropartz was a Breton, and his own music is impregnated with echoes of Breton folksong, which combines with the dignified manner inherited from his teacher, César Franck, and the delicate shades of Debussyan Impressionism, to create an atmospheric and attractive style, instantly recognisable as French.

Stephanie McCallum, piano
First recordings

7 reviews for Guy Ropartz: Piano Music

  1. :

    ‘Opening the disc is the suite Dans l’ombre de la montagne, the most substantial work here. The sombre narrative extends across all seven movements, with recurring motives throughout, providing an idée fixe. … Stephanie McCallum’s performance of intensity and rhetorical eloquence has exceptional appeal. … Un Prélude Dominical et six pièces à danser pour chaque jour de la semaine is cast in a more joyous and optimistic vein than the previous work. … The score showcases Ropartz’s more impressionistic style, and the music is awash in colour which McCallum imaginatively conveys in this piano arrangement which the composer made in 1930. I particularly like the reflective contrasts in Jeudi, the fifth movement. … The Choral varié of 1904 clearly shows a Franckian influence, almost taking its lead from Franck’s organ chorales. … The final two pieces La chanson de Marguerite: Caprice Valse and First-Love: Bluette of 1886, predate the composer’s contact with Franck. These seductively lyrical pieces have an endearing intimacy. McCallum’s performances encapsulate the affability, genteel charm and captivating essence of these beguiling miniatures. … These are winning performances, warmly recorded, and make a strong case for both the attractiveness and quality of this composer’s music. Stephanie McCallum’s enthusiastic advocacy adds to the success of the mix. Peter McCallum’s detailed annotations, in English only, provide fascinating and informative background. Will there be any more of Ropartz’s piano music to come? Let’s keep our fingers crossed.’

    —Stephen Greenbank, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘He was a student of César Franck and his music reflects a confluence of influences from Franck, d’Indy, and Alkan as well as, to my ears, Debussy and even Liszt. … I’ve played this CD many times over a period of several weeks and the more I play it the more I’m drawn into the sound world of Guy Ropartz. … the music contained herein is a very good thing. Stephanie McCallum performs all of it as if to the manner born on a Steinway D concert grand piano, and the recording captures it to perfection. The rich midrange timbres of the Steinway perfectly suit this music, and the sound is full and dynamic with excellent clarity. … If you are game to explore previously unrecorded piano repertoire in the early 20th-century French mold, I cannot urge you strongly enough to acquire this wonderful Ropartz disc.’

    —Mark Novak, Fanfare Magazine, May/June 2016

  3. :

    ‘Unearthing genuinely first-rate music within an idiom of which the canonical, standard-repertoire works are an indelible part of our musical vocabulary broadens our understanding of the idiom. … Without benefit of comparison, it nonetheless seems to me that Stephanie McCallum has given us a close-to-ideal first hearing of these works. She has an extraordinary dynamic range, a keen awareness of harmonic tension and resolution, an expansive approach to rubato, and a sophisticated understanding of Ropartz’s large-scale structural organization. … What we have in Ropartz is a completely unique musical personality expressed via the full scope of musical materials in circulation at the time, using those materials solely for the purposes of his own agenda rather than in imitation or emulation of anyone else. … there is every reason to reclaim Ropartz as a major figure in the practice and development of 20th-century composition. Highest recommendation.’

    —Myron Silberstein, Fanfare, May/June 2016

  4. :

    ‘Pianist Stephanie McCallum impressed me back in Fanfare 36:6 with a disc of Alkan (Toccata 0157). Her pianism is no less sensitive here, as she presents in impeccable recorded sound a sequence of world premiere recordings of the music of Guy Ropartz… Fascinating fare.’

    —Colin Clarke, Fanfare, May/June 2016

  5. :

    ‘FANFARE WANT LIST: Each of the composers on my Want List this year is identifiable by a wholly personal musical vision that makes him stand out from the prevailing aesthetic of his place and time. This is a source of fascination for listeners who admire these composers. … So it is a particular thrill to have come across five recordings this year of top-quality repertoire urgently in need of wider attention, performed with first rate sensitivity and finesse. … these superb pieces—every bit as skillful and heartfelt as those of his teachers—have waited a full century on average to become commercially available to listeners. Ropartz’s music stands at a transition point between Romanticism and Impressionism but makes thoroughly unique use of those harmonic materials. The two large-scale cycles on the disc, Dans l’ombre de la montagne and Un Prélude Dominical et Six Pièces à danser pour chaque jour de la semaine, deserve serious consideration as major 20th-century works.’

    —Myron Silberstein, Fanfare, November/December 2016

  6. :

    ‘Although the composer’s music continued to attest to Franck’s influence up to the very end, his harmonic style shows a mixture of Wagnerian chromaticism and disciplined voice-leading combined with some of the newer chordal discoveries and techniques of Impressionism, particularly those of Debussy and Ravel. … Stephanie McCallum simply floats her way through this music with subtlety and panache that fit Ropartz’s harmonic language to perfection, and in her hands, the pieces display all the song-like textures with vivid elegance. Generous playing time and superb annotations complete a disc that should certainly bolster the Ropartz cause no end.’

    —Gerald Fenech, Daily Classical Music

  7. :

    ‘Here [McCallum] shows herself very adroit at fine-tuning Ropartz’s cultivated gentility and discreet charm. […] this CD offers real enjoyment. These are all premiere recordings.’

    —Huntley Dent, Fanfare Magazine, May/June 2016

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