Released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his death, French composer Jacques Ibert is a major composer who won the Prix de Rome in his youth was a pupil of Fauré. He wrote over thirty film scores, including Gene Kelly's Invitation to the Dance in 1954, and, as with many French composers, he composed often for wind instruments, his most intimate music being found in his extensive series of works for instrumental and chamber ensemble, exemplified by those in this collection.
Ibert's largest single chamber music composition and the main work on this CD is his String Quartet, published in 1946. It is in four movements, and it is a beautifully crafted work of great substance. The disc includes the charming two-movement Sonatine composed in Paris in 1923 and the remarkable Ghirlarzana for solo cello written by Ibert in 1950 in response to a commission from the Koussevitsky Foundation. Another work for a solo instrument also written in 1950, this time the violin, is the playful Caprilena.
The Trio for Violin, Cello and Harp was written in 1944 and is one of Ibert's finest compositions, displaying outstanding craftsmanship and wideranging expression and lyricism. The least known but perhaps the most enjoyable is Souvenir, for Quartet and Double Bass, which is a premiere recording. It was only recently published and a copy was rushed over to us from Paris, just in time for this recording!
The Bridge Quartet's first recording for SOMM (Frank Bridge Piano Quintet with Michael Dussek Piano, Novelletten, Rhapsody Triio, Cherry Ripe, Sir Roger de Coverley, etc) in 2009 was extremely well received.
“Suave Gallic chamber music, beautifully played. The wartime String Quartet apart, Ibert seldom touches seriousness, but pieces like the Trio for violin cello and harp are delightful.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 ****