The repertoire of this concert was originally created for the Quintet Instrumental de Paris, a musical ensemble founded in 1922 by Pierre Jamet. This Parisian harpist promoted the knowledge of the double movement harp, which inspired many composers of the time to write for this ensemble. The aim of this recital is to acquaint the public with these works which, unjustly, remain virtually unknown.
First of all, we listen to Gabriel Pierné’s Variations libres et finale, a work premiered by the Quintet Instrumental de Paris at the Salle Gaveau in the French capital on December 15, 1932. The sobriety of the title hides an infinitely seductive and admirably balanced composition.
Secondly, Albert Roussel’s Serenade, composed in 1925 also for the same quintet, shows the composer’s obsession with harmonic research. The work gives a good account of Roussel’s penchant for evocations taken from visual or poetic impressions. For its part, Jean Françaix’s Quintet No. 1, from 1935, was composed by the precocious composer at the age of 20. In this work by the prolific composer, the numerous changes of moods that occur in less than ten minutes throughout the different movements are striking. In particular, the predominant atmosphere is one of extreme luminosity accompanied by a certain taste for irony.
Finally, the Instrumental Quintet by the Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos is the most belated work of this concert, since it was written in 1957, two years before the death of its author. The references to the rhythms and dances of his country are skilfully camouflaged in all the movements of the work, where the contrast and the constant play of sound colours are inspired by the rainforest so typical of the South American country.