Born into a family of architects, the pianist, piano pedagogue and composer Emmanuel Durlet was only 16 when he obtained his degree in piano studies with the highest honours from the Royal Flemish Conservatoire of Music in Antwerp. Following an esteemed career as a performer, proving himself as a piano virtuoso of the highest level, he entered a new compositional phase in 1933.
All of the works on this new recording date from this period, and Durlet prefers to give his pieces evocative titles that often describe the mood or feeling of the music itself. This programmatic element is constant in his entire oeuvre. The rather unusual title of The Refuge of your Eyes, for instance, can be explained by its composition in April 1946, as Durlet was recovering from major surgery on his left eye; and the Miniature for little Aunt was written in memory of ‘Tanteke’ (Auntie), Durlet’s father’s sister. His highly distinctive melodic lines and rich and, at times, surprising harmony make Durlet’s music easily recognisable, and are a common feature of his music. Of particular beauty are the Old-Flemish Melodies and Dances, originally penned for the harpsichord in 1757 by Robert d’Aubat de Saint-Flour, a dancing-master in the city of Ghent. Durlet turned these pieces into a string of fine pearls for the piano, with suggestive titles such as ‘The Shepherds’, ‘The Mouse’ and ‘The Three Kisses’.
Three award-winning artists, all of whom have played with the world’s leading orchestras and achieved success in a number of international competitions, perform Durlet’s music for violin, cello and piano.
- Recorded in 2011 and 2012.
- Emmanuel Durlet was on of the most significant composers of the first half of the 20th century in Belgium. His style is eclectic, and draws inspiration from French impressionism, ‘modernist’ tendencies of his time, and Flemish folklore, creating a highly distinctive language, instantly recognisable.
- Durlet’s skills as a pianist (he was a highly regarded virtuoso performer) show in his works for piano solo and the substantial Violin Sonata, a very personal work, called ‘Illuminated Tales’.
- Excellent and dedicated performances by Kiyotaka Izumi (piano), Eliot Lawson (piano) and David Cohen (cello).
- The extensive booklet includes a wealth of information and photographic material on the composer and the works, as well as artist biographies.