Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Henri Sauguet: Piano Concerto No. 1

Henri Sauguet
Henri-Pierre Poupard, better known as Henri Sauguet (he took his mother's maiden name for his professional career), was born in Bordeaux 116 years ago tomorrow (May 18, 1901). He is one of those composers on the periphery of 20th-century European music who, like Vittorio Rieti, first came to my attention through Sylvia Marlowe's championing his work - in Sauguet's case, a Suite Royale for solo harpsichord, a skillful modern evocation of Couperin and Rameau which Marlowe recorded for American Decca in the early 1960s (tacked on at the end of an LP whose main attraction was Falla's Harpsichord Concerto). Sauguet's essentially conservative style made him one of the few Western composers acceptable to the Soviet musical establishment; he wrote a cello concerto for Rostropovich, and Vasso Devetzi had a success there with this piano concerto, the first of three, of which this is the first recording:

Henri Sauguet: Piano Concerto No. 1 in A Minor (1934)
Arnaud de Gontaut-Biron (Gaveau piano) with the
Paris Conservatory Orchestra conducted by Roger Désormière
Recorded June 29, 1943
French Columbia LFX 911 and 912, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 40.57 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 28.29 MB)

The pianist on this recording, Arnaud de Gontaut-Biron (1897-1985), was a French nobleman, a member of a family that in earlier generations had produced several famous soldiers; one of these served in the American Revolutionary War. This appears to be Arnaud's only recording.


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  2. Thank you for this very interesting rarity!
    Herbert Pauls

  3. How intriguing - thanks, Bryan!

  4. Thanks a lot Bryan for that rare and captivating recording. A real discovery !

  5. Bryan, many thanks for this rarity, and all good wishes, Peter