Les Sons et les Parfums byJanina 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.