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Musical World

Iwan Llewelyn-Jones

  • Pianist


Iwan Llewelyn-Jones Discography / recordings
French Portraits
From the bustling streets of 1880's Montmartre, where artists, musicians and writers rubbed shoulders with the bourgeoisie of Paris and where Emmanuel Chabrier wrote his Bourrée Fantasque in 1891, this collection of French musical 'Portraits' takes the listener on a journey spanning some sixty years arriving eventually at 1944, the year in which Messiaen composed his masterpiece Le Baiser de l'Enfant-Jésus.

Just imagine the witty, articulate Chabrier seated at his piano (above which hung the painting 'Un bar aux Folies-Bergère' by his life long friend, Edouard Manet) exploring a new sound world of vivid colours and textures in his music.

Poulenc wrote of Chabrier's music, "A harmonic universe opened up before me and my music never forgot that first kiss of love."In the dazzling Caprice Italien of 1925, Poulenc demonstrates this with fresh, vibrant, 'jazzy' harmonies and broad expansive melodies.

When Debussy wrote his Estampes in 1903 he was inspired by the Indonesian 'gamelan' orchestras he heard at the World Exposition in Paris in1900, hence the highly evocative Pagodes. He was also lured by the infectious rhythms of the Habeñera and the colour, sensuality and panache of the Flamenco dancers, resulting in La Soirée dans Grenade. In the third, Jardins sous la pluie, one can almost hear the rain falling onto the piano keys.

Two years earlier Ravel had written his exquisite musical evocation of fountains, Jeux d'eau. The sentiment of Henri de Regnier's epigraph, which appears at the head of the score is particularly appropriate; 'The River God laughing at the water as it tickles him'.

Similarly Fauré's Pavane, beautifully poised and elegant takes one back in time to the French courts of the 18th centuary, with its classical sense of balance and delicacy. In marked contrast the robust fiery rhythms of pianist-composer Robert Casadesus' Sardane compel one to get up and dance, while Jean Françaix's highly entertaining and acerbic Portrait of a Modern Girl parodies the young confident Parisian as she flaunts her coquetry in the chic boutiques and cafes of 1930's Paris.

But what about the previous generation of refined young ladies that frequented the fashionable salons of the day? They would surely have enjoyed the sumptious romantic harmonies and the drama of Cécile Chaminade's Automne and revelled in the beautiful simplicity of Germaine Tailleferre's Romance.

The portraits would not be complete without a Grand Finale, and who better to bring down the curtain than the great virtuoso, Camille Saint-Saëns with his Étude Toccata.

This disc (JMP-9902) may be ordered from JazzMouse Ltd.


The 1948 Sonatas
Three wonderful and totally different sonatas,all written in the same year 1948. Myaskovsky's lyrical dialogue, Carter's dynamism and Poulenc's witty and colourful chatter are three compelling conversations.

Sonata no 2. op.81 - Nikolay Myaskovsky (1881-1950)
Allegro moderato
Andante cantabile
Allegro con spirito
Sonata - Elliott Carter (born 1908)
Moderato (tempo giusto)
Vivace, molto leggiero
Sonata - Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Allegro - Tempo di Marcia
Lowri Blake cello, Iwan Llewelyn-Jones piano

This disc (LOWRI2002) may be ordered from Lowri Records


Elgar and Bridge: Sonatas for Cello and Piano
Both sonatas (the Elgar is Lowri Blake's own transcription of the Violin Sonata) were written in the shadow of the first world war and reflect the composers' deeply-felt reactions to world events at that time.

Lowri Blake cello, Iwan Llewelyn-Jones piano

Sonata in E minor op.82 (1919) - Edward Elgar (transcribed by Lowri Blake for cello and piano 1994)
Romance - Andante
Allegro non troppo
Morning Song (1918) - Frank Bridge
Sonata in D minor (1913-1917) - Frank Bridge
Allegro ben moderato
Adagio ma non troppo
This disc (LOWRI2000) may be ordered from Lowri Records