Henri Barraud – Sonatine for Violin and Piano – Angel Reyes, Violin – Jacques de Menasce, Piano – Concert Hall Society E-17 (circa 1951-1952) –
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The music of Henri Barraud this weekend, in this commercial release from Concert Hall Records, recorded somewhere between 1951 and 1952 by the Cuban-born violinist Angel Reyes and Jacques de Menasce, piano.
Henri (or Henry) Barraud was born in Bordeaux. He was a student of Louis Aubert at the Conservatoire de Paris, but in 1927 failed to graduate, apparently because of his refusal to follow orthodox methods. Along with Pierre-Octave Ferroud and Jean Rivier, he helped to form the society Triton for the wider distribution of contemporary music.
After the Liberation of Paris in 1944, Henri Barraud was named the Director of Paris Radio, and later, in 1948, of what later became ORTF, a position he held until his retirement in 1965. He encouraged the broadcasting of contemporary music, whatever the style, and gave his support to the beginnings of musique concrète.
Avoiding the vagaries of fashion, Henri Barraud made use of skilful polyphony and complex rhythms. His output includes music for solo instrument (Six impromptus for piano, 1941), for orchestra (Quatre préludes for string orchestra, 1935; Rapsodie cartésienne, 1961; Une saison en enfer, 1968) and operas (La Farce de Maître Pathelin, 1938; Numance, 1952; Lavinia, 1959; Le roi Gordogane, 1974; Tête d’or, 1980). Finding a ready inspiration in modern or classical writers, he accorded a predominant role to the voice, focussing his investigations on expressivity.
About the soloists:
Ángel Reyes (February 14, 1919 – November 17, 1988),originally from Cuba, was an American violinist.
Son of Ángel Reyes Camejo [de], he was conductor of the Thirteenth Sound Group of Havana, music director of the Cuban Military Police Band and a composer of Cuban traditional instrumental and vocal works. Camejo recorded Julian Carrillo’s Preludio a Colón (Prelude to Christopher Columbus) on the Columbia Records label.
Ángel Reyes was a Premier Prix graduate from the Paris Conservatory at the age of sixteen, and a prize-winner of the Ysaye International Violin Competition in Brussels.
As a concert soloist, he appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and Latin America.
A Professor of Music at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, he performed with the Northwestern Piano Trio (formed in 1959) with pianist Gui Mombaerts and cellist Dudley Powers.
He was married to Jill Bailiff, former harpist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Professor of harp at Northwestern University and Eastern Michigan University.
At one time he owned the famous Lipinski Stradivarius violin, on which he played Glazunov’s Violin Concerto in November 1942 with the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Massimo Freccia, as well as with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy. He also owned a violin by Carlo Bergonzi, known as the “Kreisler Bergonzi”, previously owned by Fritz Kreisler and later by Itzhak Perlman.
Ángel Reyes presented many master classes and adjudicated string and chamber music competitions in the U.S., Canada and France. From 1968-1983 he spent summers on the faculty of the University Division of the National Music Camp at Interlochen. Retiring as Professor Emeritus from the University of Michigan School of Music in June 1985, Mr. Reyes then established residency in Sarasota, FL.
Jacques de Menasce (August 19, 1905 – January 28, 1960) was a composer, pianist, and critic of Austrian, and later American, nationality.
Jacques de Menasce was born in Bad Ischl into a Jewish family with roots in Egypt where they had amassed considerable wealth as merchants and bankers and played prominent roles in the Jewish community that centered in Alexandria. This was also the family from which sprang the Catholic writer Jean de Menasce, who was a first cousin of the composer’s father, Henri de Menasce. As a boy Jacques de Menasce’s portrait was painted by Oskar Kokoschka. He studied at the Vienna Music Academy as a young man under teachers who included Joseph Marx, Paul Pisk, and Emil von Sauer, and he was also much encouraged by Alban Berg, at whose instigation he composed his first piano concerto. His compositions include two piano concertos, the Sonata for Viola and Piano (championed by Lillian Fuchs), Hebrew Melodies for Violin and Piano, and the song cycles Quatre Chansons, Outrenuit, and Pour une Princesse.
There exist a few recordings of his works. The first, on Vanguard Classics, contains performances of the second piano concerto along with his Divertimento on a Children’s Song and the Petite Suite pour le Piano. The conductor is the composer’s friend Edmond Appia and the pianist is the composer himself. There is also a recording issued by Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI) that contains performances of the viola sonata, the second sonatina for piano, the first violin sonata, and Instantanés, a collection of short piano pieces. His Deux Lettres d’Enfants appears on a Nimbus recording of Hugues Cuénod singing French song cycles. There also exists a recording of Jacques de Menasce participating (together with the violinist Ángel Reyes) in a performance of the Sonatine for violin and piano of Henry Barraud. The composer and Lillian Fuchs performed his Viola Sonata in One Movement for broadcast on WQXR new York on 12 May 1957 (with sonatas by Brahms and Milhaud. While this was not commercially released, a recording was made by Studio 70 New York on two 45-rpm lacquer discs, copies of which are held by Northern Vintage Recordings Archive.
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