Tailleferre Works for two pianos
Milhaud was responsible for introducing the young Germaine Tailleferre, who had been brilliantly carrying off prize after prize at the Conservatoire, to Satie, who on hearing her Jeux de plein air in 1917 declared her his “musical daughter” and brought her into contact with other young musicians who later were to be dubbed “Les Six”. His enthusiasm was understandable, for the two traditional games depicted (the second being “Hunt the slipper”) had drawn from her witty, light-hearted music (though with infinitely greater invention and technique than he had ever shown). Gaminerie also dominates the Poulenc-like Toccata, a perky piece played here with deliciously pointed staccato. At this time Tailleferre was also experimenting with polytonality, as can be heard in the initially meditative Image. Her background of Satie and Ravel (a friend of hers), however, emerges in the Two Waltzes of 1925, the first utterly charming but harmonically spiced, the second sprucely brilliant.
All the pieces on this disc are unpretentious, concise and very brief: even the 1974 so-called Sonata, bubbling with Gallic gaiety, lasts a mere six minutes, and the Suite Burlesque, wonderfully frisky for an 87-year-old, consists of fragmentary chippings. The sparkling Intermezzo and the Larghetto are taken from her quite considerable film music; but her theatrical sense is best illustrated by the only work here of any length – La nouvelle Cythere, written in 1929 for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes but never performed because of his death. It is an attractive work, full of freshness, vitality and variety, and if only it were orchestrated (there’s a chance for someone!) would surely be welcomed by some ballet company today.
No fewer than seven of the present ten works (six of which are still unpublished) here make their first appearance on disc. The Clinton-Narboni duo is absolutely first-rate, with an immensely engaging spirit, delicacy, variety of touch and subtle shadings, and the recording matches it in quality. An irresistibly joyous disc.'