WESTERN CAPRICES (and other stories)

On Tuesday, May 12, 2015, CENTRETRACKS (the newest sub-label from Centrediscs) released WESTERN CAPRICES, a digital pairing of two works by legendary Canadian composers: Jean Coulthard and Sophie Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté .

 

In 1931, Sophie Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté offered this Caprice as an expression of gratitude to the man who would become her second husband: Ferdinand Eckhardt (F.E.). Tender, light-hearted and even amorous, this music hints at an ardent relationship to come between composer and dedicatee. Based on earlier sketches from her childhood, the composer chooses a simple ABA form to depict this portrait: always lyrical and buoyant in mood; leisurely and poised. The opening tempo making, Aisé, offers the perfect place to start in this charming caprice that hints at the Imperial salons of a bygone era.

 

Jean Coulthard’s dazzling set of piano etudes date from the mid-1940’s, subsequently revised in 1954. The third – a Toccata – is a bravura study in rhythm and syncopated coordination. This masterfully structured piece slices straight down the middle to mirror-like effect. Where the pianist’s right hand first takes lead, in turn it follows the left. This is both etude and toccata in the truest sense: un unwavering pulse and quickening harmony drive the music to an exciting (and inevitable!) finish.

 

Western Caprices CMCCT 10615 Cover (2)

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