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Equally new to me, I confess, is the piano music Jean Roger-Ducasse (1873-1954), like Bonnal a pupil of Fauré. All the pieces chosen by Hemmerlé date from between 1901 and 1921 and somehow are perfect reflections of their time; something of the yearning of Fauré but also the complexity and chromatic wanderings of Alkan. The music is sometimes unnecessarily difficult – rather like Tippett he seems to use 10 notes when three will do – but it does grow in stature with repeated listening. The delicious Etude en sixtes has the marking ‘with an excessive fantasy of rhythm’, which somehow sums his style up nicely. It seems that his score instructions became longer and more forceful as he got older. Très becomes a favourite word: very clear, very supple, very tranquil, very slow – all of that with much in between. Hemmerlé’s sympathetic playing is a joy and, in an album that is plainly a labour of love, has completely won me over.

Simon Mundy Read the full review on Agora Classica


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