Lalo explores the cello’s impressive range

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Fading. © Charles Thibo

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while are aware that – being a piano apprentice – I have a soft spot for the cello. I had to discover the broad tonal range of the piano to appreciate the smaller but still impressive range of the cello. It translates into a broad choice of moods from sinister, depressive, to cosy, comfortable and even glorious and triumphant.

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Making time for an impressionist pulsation

Port d’attache. © Charles Thibo

Written on the fly, a momentous impression during a short stay at the Atlantic coast. Rain, wind, happiness, a little nocturnal melancholy a few days ago. This unscheduled post does not follow my ordinary logic, my careful planning, my meticulous research, no, it obeys its own laws if any and the outcome is unclear. For a few minutes I felt the urge to write in verses. From a long slumber the poet woke, without pain, bewilderd and exhilarated by the idea to play again with words. I fell asleep again, but I had to think about that moment for the rest of the day.

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The lady likes strange and wild harmonies

The violin rules. © Charles Thibo

It felt a little like meeting an old friend after many years. I sat at my desk on a rainy Saturday afternoon and listened to a piano trio written by Edouard Lalo. I was writing letters and my thoughts drifted. “Lalo, Lalo…”, I wondered. “Have I written about him?” Actually I have, in a post in November 2016. So why had I forgotten about him? The trio is beautiful, and he surely has written other lovely pieces. A quick research yielded a wealth of pieces unknown to me, and my joy over these discoveries was such that I had to insert an unscheduled post about Lalo’s Violin Concerto in F major, Op. 20 in my publishing schedule.

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Composing against all odds

nmzuijdnjk © Charles Thibo
Lalo’s Trio No. 3 – autumn music. © Charles Thibo

Past and present: This composer had the bad luck to play always the second fiddle. Paris choose to ignore him during his lifetime, the 19th century, and glorify Hector Berlioz, Camille de Saint-Saëns, Frédéric Chopin and Maurice Ravel. Today, you will find him mostly as an add-on to a recording of a more famous composer like Felix Mendelssohn. Which isn’t fair. Time to set the record straight then. A piece that you may come to consider as reflecting the composer’s struggle for recognition at the same time as his dexterity at the violin: The Piano Trio No. 3 in A minor, Op. 26, composed by Edouard Lalo.

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