The Berlin-based pianist Irmela Roelcke explains the origin of her project for the TOCCATA NEXT label, Cloches et Carillons (tocn 0020).

“The heart of this album is the ‘Choral et Carillon nocturne’ by George Enescu. When I got to know it a few years ago, it fascinated me immediately and formed the starting point of my research into piano music that deals with the theme of bells and carillons. The selection on this recording primarily presents works from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and explores various aspects of the sound of bells: bells from specific cities, but also bells in their various functions – evening bells, bells of farewell and joy, funereal bells and bell sounds that reach beyond the earthly present and touch a spiritual dimension. The aim of the present recording is to illuminate this broad spectrum in a specific section of history.”

The beautifully produced and engineered album, accompanied by insightful notes by Jonathan Powell, features music mostly unfamiliar from the Romantic, post-romantic, and contemporary eras: Camille Saint-Saëns’ Les Cloches du soir; Franz Liszt’s Abendglocken, Les Cloches de Genève, and Die Glocken von Rom; Florent Schmitt’s Glas; Louis Vierne’s Les Glas; Felix Blumenfeld’s Cloches; Maurice Ravel’s La Vallée des cloches; Claude Debussy’s Cloches à travers les feuilles; Oliver Messiaen Cloches d’angoisse et larmes d’adieu; Tristan Murail’s Cloches d’adieu, et un sourire; Gilead Mishory’s Cloches de joie et larmes de rire; and George Enescu’s Pièces impromptus.

Irmela Roelcke’s sensitive playing summons a myriad color with her perfect pianistic technique and her unfailing musicality, evoking tintinnabulation large and small, somber and joyful, delicate and solemn throughout this enchanting album’s 16 tracks.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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