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JULY 2014 'Mignone: Piano Music', Lorelt LNT124

JULY 2014 'Mignone: Piano Music', Lorelt LNT124

Clélia Iruzun, piano

By Ray Picot

Francisco Mignone's music runs like a thread through Clélia Iruzun's recordings, and has remained at the heart of her extensive repertoire over the years. Yet we are the ones who are slow to catch up with this undoubtedly great Brazilian composer. For too long he has been overshadowed by his illustrious forebear, Heitor Villa-Lobos, but it seems only now, as we celebrate the 110th Anniversary of his birth, that he is beginning to receive the recognition he deserves. Mignone was an accomplished conductor and pianist but it was as a composer he was to make his mark, recognised at the time by emminent international musicians, including Richard Strauss and Arturo Toscanini.

A series of recordings issued in the USA, Brazil and closer to home from BIS, encompassing piano, guitar, bassoon and orchestral music, offer an indication of Mignone's extraordinary versatility and skill as a musician and composer. But for me it is this Lorelt disc (bravely following on from their Brazilian Mosaic) that really sets the seal on this renaissance. In his heydey Mignone did make some recordings - the most representative were of his piano music (usually made with his wife). These bring you close to the heart of his music, and the realisation that he was an incredibly natural writer for the piano, which makes it all the more surprising that pianists have been slow in taking up his cause. But no matter; with this disc we get absolute authenticity from a pianist whose heart beats in Brazil and who played for the composer, including works he wrote especially for her. Clélia Iruzun has a deep understanding of Mignone's unique and sophisticated Afro-Brazilian style and these interpretations sit perfectly next to the composer's own (except that here you get the wonderful fidelity and clarity of Lorelt's recording).

The disc also gives us for the first time on CD a broad conspectus of the composer's music, in particular the forms and styles that interested him throughout his life. Any ideas that he was a lightweight composer are blown away by the extraordinary Preludes and the fabulous Waltzes. Though the piano music is predominantly written on a smaller scale, the sheer inventiveness of the scores is an absolute joy, and should not blind us to the composer's skills and qualities. There is also a strong melodic thread that runs through this music; it holds our attention as the composer weaves his magic, into which this wonderful pianist is so perfectly in tune.

Click HERE to visit the Lorelt website where you can hear samples and purchase the CD.



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