The music of Gabriel Pierné this week. I initially came to know of Pierné by way of his recordings as conductor of works by his contemporaries with the prestigious Colonne Orchestra by way of those blue wax 78s on Columbia. This was during a time when lps were taking over record libraries and 78s were heading to Thrift shops. As a 9 year old with a voracious musical appetite and parents who weren’t about to spring for costly lps, buying a set of 78s at a Salvation Army was perfectly okay for me – and 25 cents went a long way.
But it wasn’t until a few years later that I came to realize Pierné was also a very gifted composer. And some of those 78s that wound up in my collection were performances of his own works he recorded for the French Odeon label.
And although Pierné’s compositional output wasn’t great, what he did composer was highly engaging and evocative, and that probably explains why so much of his work is performed today, particularly his Chamber pieces.
This performance comes by way of the ORTF (French Public radio), circa 1955. It’s a broadcast studio performance by the Pierre Jamet Chamber Ensemble performing the charming, but short, Variations Fibres et Finale, a piece which hasn’t been performed much in recent decades.
Although you would be hard-pressed to consider the work of Gabriel Pierné revelatory or innovative, it is nonetheless well constructed and thought out work which captures the rich texture of French music of the early 20th century.
No doubt, this particular performance hasn’t been issued commercially, and aside from this posting, most likely not finding the light of day until today, after what most likely has been unheard since it was first broadcast.
In any event enjoy, and hopefully your interest with be sparked to hear what else this fascinating figure in French music did.