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Emotion and Rhythm

Concertos for
string instruments by
Laurent Petitgirard,
reviewed by

Naxos    8.557602

Laurent Petitgirard: Concertos for String Instruments. © 2007 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Born in 1950, Laurent Petitgirard is described as a eclectic composer with an impressive melodic gift and one who writes just what he hears 'without trying to define any criteria other than emotion and rhythm'. Although on paper such claims can be attractive, they do sometimes translate as lacking in academic rigour and lead to rather undisciplined and sprawling structures.

But there is much to please in Petitgirard's music, its orchestral textures neatly managed and expressive, and on this CD the emphasis on the concerto format interestingly delivered -- not least in the employment of a choir singing Esperanto texts in Le Légendaire, a 21-minute single movement violin concerto completed in 1984 in which the set of twenty words have been selected to link with the concept of 'legend'. For all that, the overall sound is intriguing.

Listen -- Le Légendaire (track 5, 10:02-11:32)
© 2007 Naxos Rights International Ltd

The Cello Concerto was first performed by the soloist on this CD, Gary Hoffman, and he gives a strong performance, as in the agitated opening to the third (final) movement.

Listen -- Cello Concerto, third movement (track 4, 0:00-1:35)
© 2007 Naxos Rights International Ltd

The most recent work is Dialogue for viola and orchestra, another single movement concertante piece, though about the same length as the cello piece. After an adventurous series of inventive episodes, the discussions between soloist and orchestra come to a contemplative close.

Listen -- Dialogue for Viola and Orchestra (track 1, 21:51-23:07)
© 2007 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Petitgirard is a composer well worth the time spent listening to these fine performances.

Copyright © 22 March 2008 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Petitgirard: Concertos for String Instruments

8.557602 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 68'47" 2007 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Gérard Caussé, viola; Gary Hoffmann, cello; Augustin Dumay, violin; Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine; Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra; Polish Radio Choir, Kraków; Classical Polish Philharmonia; Laurent Petitgirard, conductor

Laurent Petitgirard (born 1950): Dialogue for Viola and Orchestra; Cello Concerto; Le Légendaire


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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews