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Benjamin Godard: Barcarolle No. 2, Opus 80 – Barcarolle No. 3, Opus 105 – Des scènes italiennes, Opus 126 – Vingt pieces, Opus 58
Alessandro Deljavan (Piano)
Recording: Westvest Church, Schiedam, The Netherlands (May 22, 2014) – 81’
Piano Classics #PCL0072 (Distributed by Naxos of America) – Booklet in English

Despite dying at age 45 (of tuberculosis), Benjamin Godard surprisingly composed a vast amount of works including eight operas (all general failures), three symphonies (much better received) and various concertos and sonatas. Upon entering the Conservatoire de Paris in 1863, Godard studied violin under Henri Vieuxtemps and composition with Henri Reber. Even though the violin was his core instrument, Benjamin Godard also wrote a plethora of “songs” for piano, an array that is wisely selected on this Piano Classics album.

Consisting of two barcarolles, three Italian scènes and 20 morceaux de souvenirs, the music is a very “easy listen”; hence, appropriately earmarking the pieces as “salon music.” It acts as wonderful background music, nothing forceful or antagonistic. Melodies are lyrical, yet devoid of true memorabilia. Though not necessarily permeating the mind, a thoughtful élan pervades. Upon cursory glance, the opening Barcarolle gives tempered markings of a modernized Chopin (in fact, one of his pieces is entitled À la Chopin.) Deljavan continues through the CD by revealing Godard’s sense of rarified independence. He was kind to deliver impressions with an amiable bend. Types of music depicted here include ballad, canon, scherzetto, waltz, Scottish air and tarantella, to name a few. His pianistic imagery includes the keyboard unveiling of skaters, the sea, a factual album, an improvisational remark and church bells with subtle, tricky Godard note insertions.

A graduate of Milan’s “G. Verdi” Conservatory, Alessandro Deljavan has accomplished a lot since completing schooling at the young age of 16. Having received numerous awards around the world, Mr. Deljavan is currently professor of piano at the “E.R. Duni” Conservatory located in Mantera, Italy. With grateful appreciation, Godard’s music is conjugated with refined and sincere expression alongside a common denominator of respectability.

Christie Grimstad




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