Les Sons et les Parfums: Works for Solo Piano

Janina Fialkowska

Les Sons et les Parfums: Works for Solo Piano
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Les Sons et les Parfums: Works for Solo Piano

Janina Fialkowska

Les Sons et les Parfums is a newly-recorded personal anthology of 20th century French music, curated and performed by pianist Janina Fialkowska.

This affectionate musical memoir evokes a vibrant portrait of Paris during Fialkowska’s youth, when ‘Poulenc and Tailleferre were still very much alive, and the souls of Ravel, Debussy, and Fauré were still omnipresent.’

‘This recording is pure nostalgia for me not only for those long ago studies immersed in the “French School” but for the evocative nature of the music. Each composer is unique and quite different one from another and yet all of them magically conjure up a vivid picture of a Paris that has all but disappeared and which I was fortunate enough to experience in my youth,’ says Fialkowska.


‘Sounds and Perfume’ is the perfect name for this enchanting piano album. Originally from Baudelaire’s poem, Debussy borrowed the full title ‘Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir’ for one of his now world-renowned Préludes. Each prelude has a significant title, but Debussy did not want pianists to be influenced by the poetic titles so he wrote them at the end of the movements for the pianists to discover only after they had completed their initial play of the work.

You can feel the warmth of a summer evening in Paris in this hand-picked selection of repertoire, hear the composers’ inspiration in the poetry, and smell on the air the famous French perfumes. French piano music has long been a genre I choose when I need something to wrap me up in a silken shrug of music. Fialkowska’s deft touch on the piano has made this album one of my favourites. Not just Debussy but Ravel, Poulenc and Fauré are all represented. My choice of all the pieces, though, would have to be the Impromptu by Germaine Tailleferre, the only female member of ‘Les Six’. I will be searching for other works by her, preferably performed by Janina Fialkowska herself.

Kate Rockstrom is a friend of Readings.

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