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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Charles Koechlin, Les Heures Persian, for Piano Solo, Ralph van Raat

Charles Koechlin (1867-1950) was a maverick. While the cutting-edge music of France was the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel, Koechlin went beyond into a territory few occupied at the time, and none like he did. His Les heures persannes, in the version for solo piano, was written between 1916-19. The 16 pieces have a modern bite to them, a more complex and pan-tonal harmonic-melodicism than the impressionists, and a broader dynamic from very soft to fire-drill ultra fortissimo.

Pianist Ralph van Raat has recorded the cycle, which is great because it is available on Naxos (8.572473) at their budget price.

Van Raat gives us a sensitive yet turbulent reading, lingering over the hushed mysteries and driving with passion in the edgier sections.

This is first-rate Koechlin and it is first-rate Ralph van Raat.


  1. I'm quite excited to welcome every rare recording of Koechlins music, which for me stands on the same level as Ravel and Debussy in its originality and idiosyncrasy.
    Knowing van Raat as a passionate music performer this recording must be special.
    Hope he will take on more of Koechlins elaborate body of chamber music of which a large part remains unrecorded.

  2. Thanks for your comment Pablo.

    Yes--Koechlin's music is not given its due and I too look forward to every release. Maestro van Raat does give it a great go and the music is all you'd expect.