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Anthony Girard

Cercle de la Vie (Le) / Eloge de la folie / Les Noces d'Orphee / L'Effroi de la nuit froide

Naxos 8.572993

An interesting disc from a lessr known French composer whose post-Faure, Debussy & Ravel whose vocabulary tantalises with its comfortable and rather obvious repetitions.

Anthony Girard (b 1959) is unique in contemporary French music. He is an heir to the Fauré and Debussy & Ravel tradition, but he eschews virtuosity, seeking instead "some kind of meaning" in life: L’élan, le rêve, la joie, le mystère, la paix intérieure, la poésie et le mysticisme ont déterminé et accompagné l’évolution de son langage..

Poetry and mysticism are at the heart of his works. Gradually one listens with greater calm to Le Cercle de la vie, his 24 short preludes, which aren't for a large recital hall. His questing spirit is reflected in his vibrant trio, the mythic Marriage of Orpheus, composed in 2004. The Circle of Life is an important set of 24 piano preludes exploring a circular inner journey. We are left uncertain why his name is the Engish Anthony or whether the pianist is his wife...

Gradually one feels calmed and (tiny print allowing) you become aware fom his notes that poetry and mysticism are central for his depiction of life "as a circle passing through the whole range of states of mind". His rather attractive clarinet sonata is a homage to Dervish whirling dances, and the little piece for solo clarinet Fear of the cold night is a on YouTubeveritable gem, which clarinettists could well adopt in their repertoires.

Peter GrahameWoolf

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