Les Chants de Nectaire
Charles Koechlin – “Les Chants de Nectaire” Op. 198
Performed by Nicola Woodward (flute)
Catalogue No.: HOXA HS190206 Bar Code: 5060024370553
Single CD/Standard Jewel Case/Full Price
Release Date: 28th August 2020
Physical & Digital Distribution: NAXOS
Préambule; Naissance de la vie; Jeux de la lumière; Clartés de l’Esprit; Jeunesse du monde; Les tranquilles clartés de l’intelligence; ..criblent de flèches l’Erreur et la Bêtise; Le rire vainqueur; Gaîté de la lumière; Les Vaines querelles (« à qui bon? »); la Tendresse; La Plainte humaine; La Nuit; |Souffles de Printemps sur la mer; Lumière-modération-équilibre; L’Amour; La Pitié; Pour les âmes souffrantes; Le Jardin des Muses; Les Vrilles de la Vigne; Les Heures douces; La crainte; Idylle; Clair de lune sur la mer; L’Elan vers la vie; «Le Désir qui créé les Mondes»; L’Effort de l’Homme; Le Vaincu médite; Le Soir; Le Calme du Sage; Gaîté du matin ensoleillé; Méditation sur la douleur humaine
The Chants de Nectaire were inspired by the wise old flute player Nectaire, who appears in “La Révolte des Anges” by Anatole France (1914). La Révolte des Anges is often considered the author’s most profound novel. It tells the story of the angels who rebelled against God and came down to earth, descending upon Paris disguised as people, to prepare a coup d’état which would re-establish Satan (aka the Angel of Light, the symbol of liberating knowledge…) on the throne of heaven. The tribulations of the angels in the Paris of the Third Republic are a fierce social criticism and mock the Catholic Church. Eventually, Lucifer will give up dethroning God, for had he continued, Lucifer would become God, and lose his influence over liberated thought.
“Nectaire raised the flute to his lips. Wielded by dextrous fingers and filled with the breath of creation, the rustic pipe resonated like a silver flute. The music told of Love, Fear, vain Quarrels, triumphant Laughter, the serene clarity of Intelligence and the arrows that pierce the monsters of Ignorance and Hatred. The music also spoke of Joy and Pain bending their twin heads over the Earth and of the desire that creates worlds….” Translated from La Révolte des Anges by Anatole France (1914)
The ninety-six songs , all gems in their own right, are grouped in three books (Op. 198-200) and were composed over four months in 1944. Despite the speed of creation, the quality is incredible, with great attention to detail. Each piece is its own unique sound world, imaginative, sensitive, beautiful and, above all, sincere.
Charles Koechlin (1867 – 1950) studied at the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, but tuberculosis prevented him from following the military career that was expected of him. Fortunately, he turned to music, studying composition with Fauré and Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire. He worked incredibly quickly when inspired, and his output of 219 opus numbers covers all genres: from the vast orchestral work, ‘Le Livre de la Jungle’, inspired by Kipling; to choral, chamber and solo works. He loved the flute and seemed to understand the subtleties as if he played himself.
According to Koechlin, his personality was dominated by characteristics from his Alsatian roots; there is an energy, naivety and an absolute sincerity at the heart of all his music. I see him as a fascinating and eccentric genius with a twinkle in his eye: inquisitive, fiercely intelligent, and obsessive. He was passionate about the sciences, astronomy, literature, film, and film stars, in particular Lilian Harvey and Ginger Rogers, all of which inspired his musical creativity. Recognition of his genius has grown since his death and as an orchestral ‘magician’, he is now seen as on a par with Debussy and Ravel.
Nicola Woodward was awarded exhibition scholarships on both flute and piano at the Royal College of Music. She also won the Eve Kisch flute prize and several prizes for all-round musicianship. She has performed at the Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Rooms, given live broadcasts on Classic FM and BBC Radio 3, worked with the LPO and Bournemouth Orchestras and toured Latin America for the British Council. As part of a flute and marimba duo, she toured extensively with ‘Live Music Now!’ and is now involved with the scheme as a mentor. She frequently performed at Highgrove and Buckingham Palace for HRH the Prince of Wales and has made several recordings of rare and folk-influenced works. Nicola has a deep love of folk music from many cultures, which she regularly performs. She is co-founder of the Rockhampton Festival.
Further Information/Live Performances
This CD contains all 32 pieces from Op.198. It is planned that Op. 199 will be released in October 2020, followed in November 2020 with Op. 200.
At the current time Nicola Woodward is busy planning concert dates (reflecting the requirement for social distancing) which will feature in the programme selections from all three books. When dates are confirmed, these will appear on Nicola’s website.
Nicola has created a short film introducing “Les Chants de Nectaire” and illustrated with performance excerpts. This can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/fZCjy5BOS9o
In addition, Nicola – who is also a flute teacher – is organising an online international competition for flautists of all ages, to run in the spring of 2021. Entrants need to provide a short, filmed recital (about 7-8 minutes), uploaded to the competition website, which must include at least one of the Chants de Nectaire. The publishers (Gerard Billaudot Editeur in Paris) are kindly allowing free use of some of the pieces for competition entrants, as well as hopefully providing finished copies of the complete score (or the composite volumes) for the competition winners.
The judging panel will include Nicola together with a number of internationally renowned flautists. The panel will provide constructive feedback on their performance to all entrants. Full details will be announced later in 2020.
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