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“Complete Piano Music”
Gabriel Edouard Xavier Dupont: Les Heures dolentes – La Maison dans les dunes – Deux airs de ballet – Feuillets d’album

Bo Ties (piano)
Recording: University of Iowa Concert Hall, Iowa City, Iowa (December 2017 and January 2018) – 99’10
MSR Classics MS 1699 – Booklet in English

How this story weaving its way into Gabriel Dupont’s music is an interesting one. We turn to Bo Ties, a young bearded gentleman who reconsidered piano as a professional career in his freshman year at Winona State University. His inspirational catalyst? Claude Debussy. This launching pad (that ultimately prompted Ties in completing his D.M.A.) opened a door into a passion for late 19th century and early 20th century French piano music with an eventual stop into the world of Gabriel Dupont.

Well-dispositioned, Gabriel Dupont was one of those composers who didn’t have a chance of grand fortune since he succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 36. Nonetheless, his illness didn’t define the music as prosaïque...rather, it delved into interstices of sincerity. Dupont’s window had wistful glances and carefree joys set inside gracious repose.

In 2011 Gabriel Dupont’s two piano cycles were presented by Stéphane Lemelin (under Atma Classiques); however, this MSR Classics/Bo Ties venture takes it a step further, in this World Premiere Recording, by rounding out the œuvre with two more souvenirs (Deux airs de ballet and Feuillets d’album.) The elementary deliberations of Dupont’s early pieces are well-articulated by M. Ties, particularly inside the “Pavane” and “Aria” with an emphatic tempo. Written two years later, the ensuing Feuillets d’album finds Bo Ties reveling in music breathing forth greater fluidity and less restriction. This petite brochure is freer in output and a tad strengthened. [Note: it’s a puzzlement to find these “early works” situated at the end of the CD for those with a linear mind!]

Bo Ties’ artistry can be better appreciated when venturing through the two piano suites. How this Minnesotan shades and embraces Dupont’s notes gives limpid summation into a grander dramatization. Les Heures dolentes was composed during the “wakeup call” to his disease whereas La Maison dans les dunes was created during his convalescence at Cap-Ferret, Arcachon. Though roughly two years separated these compositions, the “integration of thought” is deliquescent in terms of reflecting on idées simples, and Dupont’s subtitles are very perspicacious as the years began ticking away.

Gabriel Dupont’s style was uniquely his own; however, strong examples of two contemporaries crept into the pieces: Claude Debussy (i.e. Images II, L.111: “Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut” and “Poissons d’or”, L’Isle joyeuse, L.106), Gabriel Fauré (i.e. the “Berceuse” from the Dolly Suite) and more immense structures of César Franck, to name a few. “Paradoxical, whimsical, testy, soothing, pensive, melancholic, broody, frivolous, mindless” are only a few of the adjectives that come to mind when listening to this CD. Gabriel Dupont’s creations pierce the heart with unrivalled propriety. One thing is for certain: throughout Bo Ties has the sensitivity to delicately trim each of these vignettes on a personal level.

Excellent recording, excellent musicianship…excellent on all fronts. A “must” for those interested in early 20th century French piano music.

Bo Ties Website

Christie Grimstad




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