A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

ROGER-DUCASSE, Jean (1873-1954)

PIANO WORKS


  • Joel Hastings, piano

Jean Roger-Ducasse was a close friend of Debussy and a composer of considerable reputation in his day, one critic declaring that “all the best qualities of the French musician are combined in him – an abundantly rich imagination, clear and deep thought… and unerring taste.” These qualities are found in piano works that range from exquisitely colourful wartime pieces such as Sonorités, the playfully virtuosic Rythmes, the alternately dreamy and dramatic Barcarolles, to a final, innovative Romance that seems constantly on the brink of wandering away from tonal harmony.

Tracklist

1
Barcarolle No. 1 (1906) (00:07:01)
2
Rythmes (1917) (00:04:56)
3
Prélude in A Minor (1913) (00:01:44)
4
Chant de l'aube (1921) (00:04:14)
5
Sonorités (1918) (00:05:42)
 
6 Préludes (1907) (00:10:00 )
6
No. 1. Très nonchalant (00:01:08)
7
No. 2. Très calme (00:01:35)
8
No. 3. D'un rythme très précis (00:01:09)
9
No. 4. Très libre (00:02:02)
10
No. 5. D'un rythme capricieux et tendre (00:02:54)
11
No. 6. Très souple (00:04:04)
12
Barcarolle No. 2 (1920) (00:09:15)
13
Impromptu (1921) (00:04:51)
14
Romance (1923) (00:06:05)
 
Petite Suite (arr. J. Charlot for piano 2 hands) (1897) (00:06:29 )
15
I. Souvenance * (00:02:26)
16
II. Berceuse * (00:01:58)
17
III. Claironnerie * (00:02:07)
 
4 Études (1915) (00:15:00 )
18
No. 1. Prélude (00:04:39)
19
No. 2. Fugue (00:03:35)
20
No. 3. Lent (00:02:16)
21
No. 4. Lentement (00:04:47)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:18:28

The Artist

Canadian-born Joel Hastings was the winner of the 8th International Web Concert Hall Competition and the International Bach Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. After his performance at the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, one reporter designated Hastings the “audience favorite” while another declared, “the kinetic fingers of this Canadian reminded me strongly of his late countryman, Glenn Gould.” He was mentioned in Newsweek magazine for having “pulled the audience to their feet after a wild performance of Franz Liszt’s Totentanz.” Critics described his playing as passionate, mesmerising, hypnotic, and transcendental.

A Steinway Artist, Hastings performed solo recitals across Canada, the United States, and Europe, while his orchestral engagements included the Toronto Philharmonic, the Detroit, Ann Arbor, Oakville, Okanagan, Windsor, Kamloops, Niagara, Racine, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie Symphonies, the Kitchener-Waterloo and Michigan Chamber Orchestras, the University of Michigan Symphony Band, the Ann Arbor Concert Band, and the Florida State University Orchestra.

His discography includes live recordings of Franz Liszt’s song and operatic transcriptions and Frederic Chopin’s 24 Etudes. His recordings were selected for Canadian critics’ awards, praised in publications such as American Record Guide and MusicWeb International, and featured on CBC national radio as well as numerous stations throughout the United States. In 2014, the Naxos American Classics label released his recording of solo piano music by American composer Carter Pann [8.559751].

He served as a faculty member of the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Tuscany, Italy, and Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Bavaria, Germany. He had also been a guest professor at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China and had performed and taught in Nałęczów, Poland, as part of the Poland International Piano Festival. He was a co-organizer of the Midsummer Piano Retreat in Prague, Czech Republic, and was an assistant professor of piano at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Tragically, Joel Hastings died suddenly and unexpectedly in May 2016, at the early age of 46 years.

Reviews

Classica

“Among the most striking pieces here is Rythmes, its shimmering, shifting textures most persuasively coloured by Hastings.” – Classica

“Among the most striking pieces here is Rythmes, its shimmering, shifting textures most persuasively coloured by Hastings. The Prelude in A minor is yet another example—and a vivid one too—of French composers’ obsession with all things Spanish, while the second of the Quatre Études is a twinklingly good-natured fugue. Altogether a fascinating snapshot of a composer who was a key figure on the French scene.” – Gramophone