Strings Retuned

Dreamy French Composers

Episode Summary

Imagine: you’re lazily savoring a pastry while sitting on the Rue de Vaugirard, staring into Le Jardin du Luxembourg. The piano begins … and you enjoy four dreamy recordings of Debussy, Fauré, Franck, and Saint-Saëns.

Episode Notes

Since we cannot travel anywhere right now, naturally, all we can think about is … travel. When our music director decided to send everyone on a journey to France, he compiled the most beautiful French pieces ever recorded at Strings Pavilion. So, pour yourself a glass of Provence rosé for this episode, and imagine lavender fields. Music Director Michael Sachs hosts the program, and is joined by commentator Jamey Lamar, concertmaster of the LA Phil Martin Chalifour, and principal keyboardist of the LA Phil Joanne Pearce Martin.

Meet your host, Music Director Michael Sachs. Michael Sachs talks about the connections between the four French composers. “When you think of French music with its intimate colors and lush fragrant elegance, all of these men were at the forefront of that golden age of French romanticism.”

@ 03:18 Jump to the Debussy performed by Joyce Yang

@ 06:13
Joanne Pearce Martin explains just why Fauré wrote such beautiful music. “I’m issuing a spoiler alert here: but really, it’s one of the most dream-like and gorgeous 24 bars…”

@ 08:29 Jump to the Fauré

@ 24:30
Jamey Lamar tells us about César Franck’s compositions that rekindled the public’s passion for “that rocketship of an instrument,” the organ. Lamar guides the listener through Franck’s early years, and Broberg’s “a real poet’s sensitivity and balance.”

@ 28:22 Jump to the Franck, performed by Kenny Broberg 

@ 38:38
Saint-Saëns was an accomplished pianist, but also loved the trumpet, Martin Chalifour says. Focusing on the “luscious” piece of music, Chalifour also shares how each player is highlighted in a special way in Saint-Saëns’ music.  “A good composer will make use of players sporadically and just engage them in the flow of the conversation but … like a zoom call, you know? Not everyone can speak at once!”

@ 40:57Jump to the Saint-Saëns

Pieces Performed

DEBUSSY Préludes - Book 1, No. 12, Minstrels
Joyce Yang, Piano
Performed at Strings Music Festival in 2016

FAURÉ Piano Quartet No.1 in C minor, Op. 15 III. Adagio IV. Allegro molto 
Martin Chalifour, Violin
Robert Vernon, Viola
Mark Kosower, Cello
Joanne Pearce Martin, Piano
Performed at Strings Music Festival in 2015

FRANCK Prélude, Fugue et Variation, Op. 18 
Kenny Broberg, Piano
Performed at Strings Music Festival in 2018

SAINT-SAËNS Septet in E-flat Major for Trumpet, Piano, and Strings, Op. 65 IV. Gavotte et Final 
Martin Chalifour, Violin
Jun-Ching Lin, Violin
Robert Vernon, Viola
Mark Kosower, Cello
Timothy Pitts, Bass
Joanne Pearce Martin, Piano
Michael Sachs, Trumpet
Performed at Strings Music Festival in 2015

About Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado: Strings Music Festival presents music of the highest quality in an intimate mountain setting. Our summer festival includes a genre-spanning lineup featuring classical musicians from the nation’s top orchestras and chart-topping popular contemporary artists, all of whom perform in an intimate, 569-seat Pavilion nestled at the base of Steamboat’s mountains. Outside of our venue, we serve the community with a variety of free programming and an in-school education program called Strings School Days. This offering cultivates music appreciation and ability in Northwest Colorado’s K-12 students.

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