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Mahler Quatuor avec piano, Symphonie n° 1
Lühl  Quatuor avec piano n ° 1 , Konzertstück


Enguerrand-Friedrich Lühl-Dolgorukiy, piano • Ensemble Monsolo : Samika Honda, Sylvain Favre, violons
; Sylvain Durantel, alto ; Sébastien van Kuijk, violoncelle

POL 550 283

16
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Mahler
Quatuor avec piano
complété en quatre mouvements par Lühl-Dolgorukiy
Nicht zu schnell
Scherzo
Langsam und empfunder
Finale

Lühl-Dolgorukiy
Quatuor avec piano n° 1 LWV 121
Allegro assai
Allegro con spirito
Lento amoroso
Allegro risoluto

Lühl-Dolgorukiy
Konzertstück LWV 19
Presto possibile

Mahler
Symphonie n° 1
transcription pour piano seul
Des jours de la jeunesse
Printemps sans fin
Blumine • Andante
Toutes voiles dehors • Scherzo
La Comédie humaine
Echoué sur le sable De l’Enfer

* premiers enregistrements mondiaux

 

   
 


GUSTAV MAHLER • QUATUOR AVEC PIANO

La première transcription que fit Lühl, à 14 ans, fut celle de la Première Symphonie de Gustav Mahler (LWV 1 dans son catalogue). Il mit six mois, et ce travail l'éveilla aux sciences de l’orchestration et de l’écriture. Grand admirateur de Mahler, il ne cessa par la suite d’entreprendre la transcription d’autres œuvres du maître autrichien, notamment la Cinquième Symphonie.

Premier mouvement du quatuor original de Mahler

Mahler entra au Conservatoire de Vienne en 1875. À cette époque il avait déjà composé plusieurs lieder et pièces de musique de chambre. Citons Henry-Louis de La Grange dans son ouvrage monumental :
« Sans doute, durant sa seconde année au Conservatoire, Mahler partage-t-il pendant deux mois une chambre avec [Hugo] Wolf et Krzyzanowski. Tous trois vivent alors en bonne intelligence et se jouent mutuellement leurs œuvres récentes. Wolf semble même avoir alors considéré ses lieder inférieurs à ceux de ses deux amis. En une nuit, Mahler compose là au piano, un mouvement de quatuor pour un concours du Conservatoire, tandis que les deux autres sont contraints d’aller dormir dehors sur les bancs du Ring . […] Mahler compose néanmoins sans cesse, pour le Conservatoire et aussi pour lui-même. Seuls de courts fragments ont subsisté de cette époque : un mouvement de Quatuor avec piano de 1876, un début de Scherzo pour la même combinaison et deux fragments de Lieder. […] La page de titre de ce mouvement de quatuor porte : Clavier Quartett ; Erster Satz : Gustav Mahler ; 1876. Au-dessous du titre figure l’estampille de l’éditeur de musique Theodor Rättig, ce qui semble indiquer que Mahler lui avait soumis l’ouvrage en 1878, année où Rättig publie l’arrangement à quatre mains de la Troisième Symphonie de Bruckner. Comme pour beaucoup d’autres manuscrits de jeunesse, Mahler a laissé courir sa plume dans les marges et sur la page de titre ; de même que celles des esquisses de Das Klagende Lied, elles sont couvertes de griffonnages et d’arabesques complexes. »
Le premier mouvement et le Scherzo inachevé ont été publiés en 1973 par Peter Ruzicka, aux éditions Sikorski de Hambourg [partition sur laquelle s'est appuyé Lühl pour ses recherches].
Le fait que le premier mouvement et les esquisses du Scherzo aient figuré dans le même classeur semble indiquer qu’il s’agissait de deux parties du même ouvrage. Pourtant, il paraît inhabituel, pour un élève de Conservatoire, de composer un Scherzo en sol mineur pour une œuvre en la mineur. Dans le premier mouvement, la graphie est nette. Seules les trois dernières pages trahissent la hâte du compositeur. Pour les dernières mesures, la main gauche du pianiste exécute un long trémolo sur la tonique, au-dessus duquel le jeune homme a griffonné à la hâte le mot Orgelpunkt (point d’orgue).
Les modèles évidents du musicien, pour cet exercice d’école sont Schumann et Brahms, ce qui n’a rien de bien surprenant puisque Julius Epstein, son maître au Conservatoire, a été l’un des premiers interprètes de la musique de piano et de chambre de Brahms et que Franz Krenn et Robert Fuchs, professeurs de composition et d’écriture, sont bien connus pour leur fidélité à la tradition.

Le Scherzo inachevé

Toutes les pièces de jeunesse de Mahler, lieder ou musique de chambre, ont été perdues ou détruites. Il ne reste que quelques fragments d’œuvres, soigneusement conservés par les archivistes des bibliothèques Mahler à Paris et à Vienne.

En 1991, le jeune Lühl décida de compléter le Scherzo inachevé. Schnittke l'avait déjà fait, dans son propre style. Lühl décida, lui, d’entreprendre un travail musicologique afin de cerner l'écriture du jeune Gustav. Il reprit les esquisses publiées aux éditions Sikorski (caractères d'imprimerie et fac-simile). “Le texte manuscrit était pratiquement illisible. Mahler, écrivant très vite et pour lui en tant qu’interprète de ses propres œuvres, avait l’habitude d’insérer dans ses phrases des raccourcis de tout genre - évidents à ses yeux - pour éviter d'inutiles répétitions. Il lui arrivait parfois d’écrire la voix principale à un instrument pour lequel elle n’était pas destinée. Des notes qui ne sont pas alignées, des accords à peine complets, des mesures vides car contenant d'évidentes formules d’accompagnement, tout cela était monnaie courante dans l’écriture du jeune compositeur. Ce qui rend d'autant plus difficile le travail de l’éditeur.” Lühl consulta à la bibliothèque Gustav Mahler de Paris une reproduction du manuscrit (l'original étant à l’époque conservé à la Pieront Morgan Library de New York). La première page originale fut maintenue dans son intégralité, même si les modulations improbables de la fin - révélatrices de l'art de composer de Mahler - rendirent difficile l’enchaînement de certains passages. La formule de doubles croches du piano était, quant à elle, à l’origine écrite à l’alto, mais très difficile à jouer et ne sonnant pas bien.
Le retour du thème principal est dans l’esprit de Mahler, même si celui-ci l’avait noté, après des mesures de blanc, en la mineur. Lühl reprend, après la progression chromatique et la cadence, le développement de la première période, rappelant les enchaînements harmoniques du premier mouvement. Le piano reste l’instrument d’accompagnement et les cordes se répondent en imitations resserrées.
Une citation du premier mouvement et un bref clin d’œil au thème choral de la fin du deuxième mouvement de la Cinquième Symphonie font culminer cette première partie dans une apothéose de courte durée. Le ‘Halt’ – arrêt – fait référence aux tics de langage de Mahler dans ses partitions orchestrales. Une transition de trois mesures, une sorte d’écho aux différents instruments, rappelle les sons des cors dans la préparation au Trio du Scherzo de la Première Symphonie.
Le Trio, la partie centrale, est exclusivement emprunté au Lied n° 4 des Kindertotenlieder, ce dernier lui aussi composé dans la même tonalité (mi b majeur). L’effet ondulant des formules d’accompagnement du piano rappelle la prédilection de Mahler pour les musiques de foires et de fanfares. Des modulations abruptes dans les tons homonymes sont typiques chez Mahler et fréquemment utilisées dans son œuvre (ici mi b Maj/min après une cadence). Une petite cadence expressive au violon est également tirée du Lied n° 4 des Kindertotenlieder. Une courte transition ramène à la première période (Scherzo) écourtée. Comme dans le premier mouvement, la fin se décline sur trois accords de pizzicato.
Ces deux premiers mouvements du Quatuor de Mahler/Lühl furent créés au CNSM de Paris le 7 Mars 1994, sur une initiative du violoniste Jean Moullière, professeur de musique de chambre. Ils furent redonnés, toujours grâce à Jean Mouillère, deux ans plus tard à la Sorbonne, à l'occasion de la conférence sur Mahler de l'historien et musicologue Serge Gut.
Malgré cela, il fut difficile pour Lühl de faire reconnaître son travail. L'œuvre fut remise à la Société Mahler à Vienne, au pianiste Manfred Wagner, à la Internationale Gustav-Mahler-Gesellschaft de Vienne... sans succès. Les bibliothèques de Paris et de Vienne se disputaient sur la provenance du fragment original, et un travail de reconstruction d’après des esquisses était tout bonnement impensable. Qu'à cela ne tienne, Lühl termina l'œuvre avec deux autres mouvements, en une nuit, à la lumière des bougies.

Le troisième mouvement, le mouvement lent, tire son origine du livre de Henry-Louis de La Grange sur Mahler (tome III), d'un appendice à la fin de l’ouvrage où l’auteur mentionne l’existence identifiée et archivée de fragments d’œuvres inachevées ou perdues : “Le 15 et le 16 mars 1981, l’Orchestre RIAS de Berlin-Ouest a donné, sous la direction de Lawrence Foster, la première audition d’un ‘Prélude Symphonique de Gustav Mahler’, orchestré par le musicologue hambourgeois Albrecht Gürschnig5. Renseignements pris auprès de ce dernier, il s’agissait de l’orchestration d’un manuscrit appartenant à la Nationalbibliothek de Vienne et dont la page-titre porte la mention suivante : “Prélude Symphonique, d’après la copie d’un élève de Bruckner, Rudolf Krzyzanowski, de l’année 1876, censément d’Anton Bruckner. Transcription pour piano d’après la partition [d’orchestre] de Heinrich Tschuppik.” Au bas de la page a été ajoutée la note suivante : “Pourrait-il s’agir d’un travail de Gustav Mahler, réalisé pour un examen ? Krzyzanowski a collaboré avec Mahler à la transcription pour piano à 4 mains de la Troisième Symphonie de Bruckner (deuxième version)”. On perd alors la trace de la partition que Tschuppik a transcrite. Son manuscrit comprend huit feuillets à 16 portées, dont une double-page servant de couverture, et trois pages blanches. Certains passages sont notés sur trois portées, avec quelques indications concernant l’orchestration originale. L’ensemble est composé de 292 mesures et le tempo indiqué est nicht zu rasch [pas trop vif]. Le morceau commence par le thème suivant des basses, accompagné par un ostinato typiquement brucknérien.”
Le thème en progression permanente au violoncelle débute, comme souvent chez Mahler, par une quarte, et est truffé d’appoggiatures ultra-expressives. Dans la deuxième partie plus enjouée en mineur, Lühl a pensé au mouvement lent de la Première Symphonie (sur ‘frère Jacques’). L’immense progression évoque le travail soigné de Mahler pour les traitements en imitation. La désinence amène une période de flottement, également inspirée du même mouvement symphonique, avant de retourner à la réexposition, écourtée et enrichie d’un point culminant juste avant la fin (mi Majeur).

Le Final

Les mouvements 3 et 4 s’enchaînent et sont reliés par une brève introduction au final. De La Grange remonte aux sources : “À la mort d’Alma (l’épouse de Mahler), deux esquisses manuscrites et n’appartenant à aucune œuvre connue de Mahler étaient comprises dans sa collection. Elles se trouvent aujourd’hui, l’une à la Pierpont Morgan Library de New York et l’autre à la Stadtbibliothek de Vienne. Elles ont toutes deux été examinées dans les années 1920 par Alban Berg qui a rédigé à leur sujet une page manuscrite confirmant qu’elles n’appartenaient à aucune œuvre connue. Selon lui, les chiffres au crayon bleu semblaient avoir été écrits à la fin de la vie de Mahler, qui paraissait donc avoir eu l’intention de se resservir de ces esquisses à une date ultérieure. D’après Susan Filler, qui a étudié de près l’écriture, ainsi que le papier utilisé, les deux esquisses dateraient en fait des environs de 1900, et il s’agit de Particelle, chacune comprenant de nombreuses variantes de certains passages. La première esquisse, pour un Presto en Sol majeur (Mahler exprime dans une note l’intention de transposer le tout en Fa) comprend trois feuillets.”
Cependant, pour garder une unité tonale du quatuor, Lühl décida de transposer le thème en la Majeur pour terminer le cycle de quatre mouvements dans une atmosphère allègre et vive, conforme à l’air du temps. Chacun sait que les compositeurs se citent, se recitent et se plagient parfois avec allégresse et sans scrupules : Mahler n’a pas hésité à faire usage de ce processus en notant les prémices de ce qui allait devenir le thème de fanfare d’ouverture de la Cinquième Symphonie dans le premier mouvement de sa Quatrième. Ce thème du rondo a été remanié de manière à garder la fraîcheur juvénile d’un Mahler âgé de 16 ans. Les périodes de couplets sont teintées de son cycle de Lieder Des Knaben Wunderhorn, dont il n’a cessé d’utiliser les thèmes dans ces quatre premières symphonies, notamment pour le présent exemple les Troisième et Quatrième Symphonies. Dans le deuxième couplet, Lühl tire la formule d’accompagnement d’arpèges au piano et les enchaînements harmoniques du premier mouvement, sans toutefois en faire une citation directe. La dernière progression vers la fin rappelle fortement la fin du Scherzo de la Première Symphonie et une succession d’accords scandés en la Majeur rappelle l’académisme avec lequel Mahler devait suivre sa formation au Conservatoire. Lühl voyait ici un message à faire apparaître à travers l’œuvre : ce quatuor devait contenir les germes du Klagende Lied et de la Première Symphonie, qui suivirent quelque temps après.
Le quatrième mouvement fut créé Salle Pleyel le 4 avril 1998, puis l'œuvre entière à Lille en avril 2004.

Note de l’auteur à propos de la création du Quatuor Mahler/Lühl (traduit de l’allemand)

“C’est le souhait de chacun de savoir ce qu’un compositeur aurait pu créer si la mort ne l’avait pas retenu. Des œuvres inachevées sont de grandes frustrations intellectuelles pour l’auditeur ou le musicologue ; d’un autre côté, elles ouvrent une voie étroite qui mène au monde infini de l’hypothèse. On voudrait en savoir plus et on espère trouver une explication, comment le compositeur aurait pu terminer sa pièce… sans jamais pouvoir en recevoir une réponse.
Afin d’atténuer cette frustration, il arrive dans l’histoire de la musique que des élèves, des amis ou de fervents admirateurs du défunt artiste, acceptent le délicat défi de compléter des esquisses et ébauches, en espérant suggérer par ce travail que le compositeur vit toujours parmi nous. Ainsi naquirent la Septième Symphonie de Tchaïkovski (S. Bogatryriev), le troisième concerto de Chopin (J-L. Nicodé), l’opéra de Weber les Trois Pintos (Mahler lui-même), la Dixième Symphonie de Mahler (D. Cooke)… et ce présent quatuor avec piano.
La date de création du premier mouvement (1876) a longtemps été remise en cause, mais elle a été soutenue par une tradition et s’est fixée sur cette date au fil des années. La façon d’écrire rudimentaire et parfois illisible de Mahler au jeune âge nous indique que Mahler écrivait dans le seul but de représenter lui-même ses propres œuvres. Lorsque je me mis à écouter plusieurs interprétations de ce mouvement ‘relique’, je remarquai en comparant toutes les versions qu’elles différaient non seulement par l’interprétation, mais plus techniquement par certains détails d’écriture. Les interprètes se crurent obligés de corriger telle ou telle note [dans le cas de l’interprète non compositeur, il ne pouvait que se limiter à une correction minime – note de l’auteur aujourd’hui] pour plus de logique dans le sens des phrases musicales. Donc je décidai, alors âgé de 16 ans, comme Mahler à son époque, de mettre ma connaissance musicale de compositeur à l’épreuve et commençai à ‘nettoyer’ la partition de manière plus approfondie.
Mais cela ne me suffisait pas et je découvris les pages à 24 systèmes d’un deuxième mouvement, d’un Scherzo ! J’acceptai également ce nouveau défi, mais je disposai de bien moins de matériel que dans le premier mouvement et de nombreuses mesures étaient illisibles ou incompréhensibles harmoniquement.
C’est ainsi que je pus jouir pendant quelques jours du privilège exceptionnel de travailler avec Mahler et je me jetai avec un énorme engagement dans ce projet du jeune et prometteur compositeur autrichien. Après quelques représentations je sentis que quelque chose manquait à l’ensemble. Je voulais entendre plus, je voulais faire des deux mouvements un quatuor complet, un ‘quatuor de Gustav Mahler’, qui sonnerait ‘comme du Mahler’ jusqu’à la dernière note. C’est ainsi que naquirent d’un trait et en une nuit le troisième mouvement et le final et j’espère avoir été à la hauteur de cette tâche – l’agrandissement et élargissement de la plus jeune source créative de son évolution musicale – en hommage à un homme que j’admire et respecte énormément.
Enguerrand-Friedrich Lühl, Paris, printemps 1999

ENGUERRAND-FRIEDRICH LÜHL • QUATUOR AVEC PIANO LWV 121

Composé en quelques jours en 2008, le Quatuor avec piano LWV 121 précède de peu le Quatuor à cordes n° 5. Lühl a eu l’idée d’une nouvelle forme musicale. Le deuxième mouvement est inséré au troisième ; jusque là rien d’exceptionnel, si ce n’est qu’en fait, d’un point de vue structurel, les deux mouvements ne font qu’un et que le mouvement lent n’est en réalité que la partie centrale du scherzo. Les deux mouvements créent une longue fresque et les deux thèmes, d’apparence radicalement opposée de par leur vitesse et atmosphère, sont en fait étroitement liés par leur construction. Le final, en forme de rondo, reprend dans ses couplets les rappels des autres mouvements dans l’ordre chronologique. L’impression donnée à l’écoute de ce quatuor est celle d’un voyage sans escales, malgré les quelques interruptions (ou ‘fausses’ interruptions !) entre et pendant les mouvements.

KONZERTSTÜCK LWV 19

Cette pièce folle et brillante est un arrangement d’une étude pour piano (LWV 15 – printemps 1994). Son style rappelle celui d’un ‘bis’ de concert, idéal pour terminer une soirée de musique foncièrement romantique. Son auteur a également arrangé cette étude pour deux pianos (Konzertetüde LWV 145), un arrangement non moins virtuose et éclatant.

CD 2

GUSTAV MAHLER
SYMPHONIE n° 1 “Titan” pour piano seul

En 1889, la presse austro-hongroise eut un regard dévastateur face à la Première Symphonie de Gustav Mahler, jeune compositeur morave, certes prometteur, mais peut-être trop audacieux pour les oreilles et attentes de ces messieurs les critiques. L’œuvre fut à l’origine du style proprement mahlérien, une sorte d’introduction aux autres symphonies qui allaient suivre. Les harcèlements des critiques ne firent en rien reculer le compositeur dans sa recherche esthétique.
Achevée en 1888 et créée dans sa première version à Budapest le 20 novembre 1889, la Première Symphonie connaîtra cinq versions dont quatre musicalement déterminantes. De nombreuses annotations figurent également sur les bons à tirer de son éditeur Universal Edition à Vienne en 1906. Dans son cycle de jeunesse, les Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, antérieurs à Titan (1883-85), figure l’essentiel du matériau thématique que Mahler utilisera jusqu’à sa Quatrième Symphonie. Le second mouvement se réfère à un lied encore antérieur au Fahrender Geselle, Hans und Gretel. Mahler, sous le choc de l’échec de Budapest, inclut dans le programme d’un concert à Hambourg en 1993, une explication narrative de la symphonie. L’œuvre comporte cinq mouvements, une division centrale en deux parties marque une pause. Elle s’intitule Poème musical en forme de symphonie.

Première partie : “Des jours de la jeunesse”
I. Printemps sans fin ; la partition porte l’indication “des bruits de la nature”
II. Blumine - Andante
III. Toutes voiles dehors - Scherzo

Deuxième partie : La Comédie humaine
IV. Echoué sur le sable – marche funèbre à la manière de Callot
V. De l’Enfer (à Weimar, pour la représentation de 1904, le titre fut complété par De l’Enfer au Paradis

Blumine fut supprimé de l’œuvre, perdu puis retrouvé, et s’inspire d’une source littéraire différente de celles citées par Mahler dans les descriptions programmatiques des autres mouvements. Le thème caractéristique à la trompette dès les premières mesures est tiré d’un opéra inachevé : Der Trompeter von Säkkingen, d’après l’œuvre littéraire de J.V. von Scheffel. Le but de ce mouvement était d’illustrer les pensées ‘fleuries’ et amoureuses du héros de la symphonie, encore nourri par l’élan passionnel de la jeunesse.
Mahler parle de son œuvre comme suit : “Mes symphonies expriment ma vie tout entière. J’y ai versé tout ce que j’ai vécu et souffert, elles sont vérité et poésie devenues musique. Pour quiconque sait bien écouter, ma vie entière s’éclaire”.

À l’âge de dix ans et demi, Lühl était déjà passionné par l’héritage du maître viennois, alors qu’il venait de débuter le piano avec sa mère, fine pédagogue et pianiste amateur. Le professeur Michel Carcassonne, chirurgien en Chirurgie pédiatrique à Marseille, avait montré en 1987/88 au tout jeune musicien sa collection impressionnante de partitions. Bien que n’étant pas musicien, il avait glané un répertoire précieux d’ouvrages en partie épuisés ; parmi eux figuraient les neuf Symphonies de Mahler pour piano à quatre mains. Lühl était fasciné par la qualité du travail de réduction et il projeta la transcription pour piano seul de l’intégrale des Symphonies de Mahler… Finalement, le projet s’arrêta à la première.
Suite au projet d’enregistrement chez Polymnie de l’intégrale de ses œuvres, Lühl a décidé de transcrire également Blumine, de manière à présenter au public la version la plus complète de la symphonie. Ce mouvement, transcrit en 2010 (inscrit dans son catalogue avec le numéro… 172 !), fut rajouté à l’ensemble en première audition dans cet enregistrement.

Enguerrand-Friedrich Lühl-Dolgorukiy, pianiste, compositeur, chef d'orchestre

Après avoir terminé brillamment ses études de piano à la Schola Cantorum, Lühl complète sa formation en entrant à 15 ans au CNSM de Paris. Trois ans après, il obtient un Premier Prix de piano à l’unanimité. Parallèlement à son cursus de piano, il suit des cours d’analyse musicale, de jazz, de musique de chambre, de direction d’orchestre, d’harmonie et de contrepoint. Après ses études, il entre dans le monde charismatique du Concours International et s’y consacre pleinement. Dès 1998, il devient lauréat de plusieurs Concours Internationaux, notamment Rome, Pontoise et le Tournoi International de musique. Depuis, il fréquente les grandes scènes d’Europe (récitals, musique de chambre, avec orchestre). Il travaille depuis 2005 pour le compositeur américain John Williams, pour lequel il transcrit les partitions de ses plus grands thèmes de musique de films pour piano seul et deux pianos. Il a enregistré en 2003 le CD John Williams au piano vol. I avec ses propres arrangements des plus grands thèmes d’Hollywood pour piano seul. Un deuxième volume vient d’être enregistré avec les plus grands thèmes de Star Wars pour deux pianos. Son catalogue de compositeur est conséquent : six symphonies, deux concertos pour piano, de la musique de chambre, diverses pièces pour soliste et orchestre, environ 120 pièces pour piano seul, des orchestrations et réductions, une musique de film...
L’Ensemble Monsolo a débuté sa carrière en 2005, alors que ses membres étaient encore étudiants au CNSM de Paris. Il a ainsi bénéficié de l’enseignement de Jens McManama, Jean Mouillère, Michel Strauss, Claire Désert, du Maggini Quartet et du Quatuor Ysaÿe. Au sein du programme ProQuartet, Monsolo a également étudié avec Walter Levin et Paul Katz.
L’Ensemble a depuis donné de nombreux concerts en France, Espagne, Italie, Angleterre, États-Unis et au Japon, et a eu ainsi le plaisir de partager l’affiche avec des musiciens tels que la violoniste Marina Chiche, les violoncellistes Agnès Vesterman et Alain Meunier, le saxophoniste Julien Petit, les pianistes Daria Hovora, Dana Ciocarlie, Delphine Bardin, Kotaro Fukuma, et François-Joël Thiollier. C’est en compagnie de ce dernier qu’il eut le privilège d’enregistrer pour Polymnie le Quintette op. 70 de George Onslow (POL 550 162), récompensé par un 5 de Diapason. Monsolo a également gravé les Concertos pour deux pianos de Jean-Sébastien Bach, avec Hervé et Désiré N’Kaoua, ainsi que la bande originale du film L’Empreinte de l’Ange de Safy Nebbou.
L’Ensemble Monsolo a reçu le Prix d’interprétation du Concours international de musique de chambre d’Illzach en 2007, le Premier Prix du Forum Musical de Normandie également en 2007, le Premier Prix du Torneo Internazionale di Musica de Vérone en 2008, et a été sélectionné par le programme Déclic de Cultures France et de Radio France. C’est sur cette antenne qu’il s’est produit Dans la Cour des Grands, de Gaëlle le Gallic, ainsi que dans le Cabaret classique de Jean-François Zygel.
Aujourd’hui Monsolo, réunissant sur scène deux à dix musiciens, offre à chacun de ces concerts une thématique originale propre à rapprocher le public de la musique. Sa collaboration avec les compositeurs actuels est un axe important de son activité. Déjà dédicataire d’œuvres de Pierre Agut, Alain Weber, Maxime Tortelier, et Dominique Preschez, il a créé en novembre 2009 le Quintette à deux altos de Jacques Boisgallais.

 

Polymnie

 

Enguerrand-FriedrichLühl-Dolgorukiy, pianist, composer, conductor
Enguerrand-Friedrich Lühl-Dolgorukiy was born in Paris in 1975. He started his studies as a pianist at the Schola Cantorum then completed his training by entering the CNSM in Paris aged 15. Three years later he obtained first Prize for piano. Parallel to his piano cursus he studied music analysis, chamber music, orchestral conducting, harmony and contrapoint. Since 1998 he has won several international competitions and plays at prestigious venues throughout Europe. The press is unanimous in considering him as an international concert pianist. Since 2002 he has been working with the production company Musique & Toile specialized in the organisation of musical and film events for which he plays his own arrangements for piano solo and duo of Hollywood’s great film scores composed by John Williams. His 1300 pages of musical arrangements will be edited at a future date. He also recorded a CD entitled “John Williams’ music vol. 1” A second has just been recorded with more great themes from Star Wars for two pianos. His composer’s catalogue is impressive: six symphonies, two piano concertos, chamber music, various pieces for soloist and orchestra, around 120 original pieces for piano, orchestrations and arrangements, film music.

The Ensemble Monsolo began life in 2005 as a string quintet with double bass, while its members were still studying at the Paris Conservatory. Monsolo has had the opportunity to study under eminent musicians such as Jens McManama, Jean Mouillère, Michel Strauss, Alain Meunier, Claire Désert, the Maggini Quartet, and recently has been receiving advice from the Ysäye Quartet, as well as within the ProQuartet program with Walter Levin and Paul Katz.
The Ensemble Monsolo has performed naturally in France, but also in Spain, Italy, England, the United Sates and in Japan, having the great honour to play with renowned musicians such as Marina Chiche (violonist), Alain Meunier, Agnès Vesterman (cellists), Julien Petit (saxophonist), and Daria Hovora, Kotaro Fukuma, Delphine Bardin, Dana Ciocarlie and François-Joël Thiollier (pianists). It is with François-Joël Thiollier that Monsolo recorded for the Polymnie label two Quintets by Georges Onslow, with big pleasure. Monsolo has also collaborated in the recording of Bach Concertos for two pianos with Hervé and Désiré N’Kaoua. Monsolo also recorded the original soundtrack of Safy Nebbou’s movie Mark of an Angel.
Monsolo received the interpretation prize at the International Chamber Music Competition in Illzach 2007 (France), as well as the First Prize at the Forum Musical de Normandie 2007 (France), and the First Prize of the Torneo Internazionale di Musica 2008 in Verona (Italy). Following these awards, Monsolo was selected for the Declic programme of Cultures France and Radio France. Monsolo’s performances for Radio France include the Cabaret Classique with Jean-François Zygel, and Dans la Cour des grands with Gaëlle le Gallic.Now, Monsolo has become an ensemble with a varied combination of instruments, grouping from two to ten musicians on stage. Collaboration with composers of the present day is an important part of Monsolo’s activity. Composers such as Pierre Agut, Alain Weber, Maxime Tortelier and Dominique Preschez have dedicated their works to Monsolo, and in November 2009 Ensemble Monsolo will give the world premier of Jacques Boisgallais’s Quintet for two violas.
CD 1

GUSTAV MAHLER • PIANO QUARTET

The first major work by Lühl regarding adapting works by other composers was the transcription of Gustav Mahler’s First symphony when Lühl was only fourteen years of age. Entitled “LWV 1”, it was reworked and corrected several years later. He spent six months at least transcribing it. This work gave him the necessary basis for his future studies in orchestration and writing. A great admirer of the composer from a young age, he never stopped working on transcription projects of Mahler’s other symphonies, especially the Fifth one.

Genesis of the original piano quartet by Mahler (first movement)
For this chapter, let us cite Henry-Louis de La Grange in his masterwork on Mahler’s life1. Mahler entered the Vienna conservatory in 1875 and had already composed a certain number of pieces for chamber music and Lieder : “Without a doubt, during his second year at the conservatory, Mahler shared during two months a student room with [Hugo] Wolf and Krzyzanowski2. All three lived in harmony and played each other’s most recent works. It seems Wolf considered his Lieder inferior to his two friend’s works3. In one night, Mahler composed on the piano a quartet movement for a competition at the conservatory, while the other two were obliged to go and sleep on the banks of the Ring4. […] Mahler composed continuously for the conservatory and also for himself. Only small fragments have survived this period, a movement for piano quartet from 1876, the beginnings of a Scherzo for the same instrumentation and two Lieder-fragments. […] The title page from this quartet movement carries the mention ‘Clavier Quartett : Erster Satz: Gustav Mahler ; 1876.’ Above the title was Theodor Rättig’s seal, which suggests Mahler submitted the work to him in 1878, the year when Rättig published Mahler’s arrangement for piano duet of Bruckner’s Third symphony.
As with many other manuscripts from his youth Mahler wrote complicated arabesques and scribblings on the margins and on the title page, as well as on sketches of the Klagende Lied.
The first movement and the unfinished Scherzo were published in 1973 by Peter Ruzicka at Sikorski publishers, Hamburg, Germany [the score which Lühl worked on for his research].
The fact that the sketches of the Scherzo were in the same file seems to indicate they consisted of two parts of the same work. However, it is most unusual for a conservatory student to compose a Scherzo in g minor for a work normally written in a minor.
In the first movement, the score is clear and ordered. Only the last three pages betray the composer’s haste. For the last bars, the pianist’s left hand plays a long tremolo, upon which the young man wrote hastily the word Orgelpunkt (fermata). The musician’s obvious models for this school exercise were Schumann and Brahms, which is not surprising, as Julius Epstein, his master at the conservatory, was one of the first to interpret Brahms’s music for piano and chamber music, and Franz Krenn and Robert Fuchs were composition teachers well known for their observance of tradition.

The unfinished Scherzo
All the pieces from Mahler’s youth, Lieder and chamber music, were lost or destroyed. Only a few fragments of unfinished pieces survived which are kept preciously at the Mahler Library, in Paris and Vienna.
In 1991, when Lühl was the same age as the master, he decided to undertake a task which he pursued for several years: to complete the second unfinished movement, to discover and make known what it could have been. His musical knowledge was already confirmed, thanks to extended and intensive studies in writing at major French music academies. But he felt the need to compose a sequel to the original in the young Mahler style. He listened to a trial version by the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, which disappointed him a lot; not because of the work’s quality, but by the esthetic direction taken by the latter. Schnittke didn’t consider trying to find the original style of the Viennese master: he took the few existing sketches from the beginning of the work and continued it in his own style.
Determined to remedy this, Lühl decided to begin a thorough musical reworking of the sketches. He took those published by Sikorski in the printed version and the manuscript fac-simile of the original first movement. The manuscript text was almost unreadable. Mahler, writing very quickly and interpreting his own pieces, inserted shortcuts of all sorts to avoid useless repetition. He sometimes wrote the main voice for an instrument for which it had not been destined originally. Notes which didn’t match correctly, incomplete chords, empty bars, all this was fairly usual in the young composer’s writing style and made the editor’s work in the transcription very difficult. For more authenticity Lühl went to the Gustav Mahler library in Paris to consult the original manuscript in a reproduction, kept at that time in the Pieront Morgan Library in New York, which was better reproduced than Sikorski’s. In this work, Lühl found mistakes in the retranscription by the editor. He recopied the sketches himself to study more closely later.
The first original page was maintained in its entirety, even if the impossible tonal jumps at the end of the page made the transition to certain passages very difficult. The formula with double quavers at the piano was originally written for the viola, which is difficult to play and didn’t sound right. Every composer knows there exists moments in his life as a young creator that he has ideas without really knowing how to give them form as he lacks the technical means for writing. With maturity he later acquired this. However, to avoid losing precious material he wrote them down in case he could use them later. These unusual tonal jumps reflect the type of thinking in the creative process of Mahler ; Lühl reused this passage in ostinato (played by the viola) for an instrument better adapted to this type of accompaniment – the piano. The imposing return of the main theme is in the spirit of Mahler, even if this was written after blank bars on the manuscript in a minor. Lühl repeats, after the chromatic progression and the cadenza, the development of the first period in the same kind of harmonic evolutions heard previously in the first movement. The piano remains the instrument of accompaniment and the chords echo in the edited imitations.
Lühl purposely avoided employing double quavers for strings, because the first movement is not a virtuoso piece. However, in order to create a link with the original first part of the movement, where the sixteenth note plays an important part in the accompaniment, he adapted them for piano by developing additionally the sequence in imitations.
An insert from the first movement and a small wink at the choral theme from the end of the second movement of the Fifth symphony culminates the first part in a brief moment of apotheosis. The ‘Halt’ – stop – is in reference to Mahler’s musical tics. A transition of three bars, a sort of echo between the different instruments, recalls the sounds of horns in the preparation of the Trio in the Scherzo of the First symphony. The Trio, the central piece, is exclusively borrowed from the Lied n° 4, also composed in the same tonality (e flat major). The sinuous effect of the accompanying formulas at the piano reminds one of Mahler’s preferences for music at fairs and fanfares. Abrupt changes in the homonymous tones are typical of Mahler and used frequently in his works (here e flat Major/minor after a cadenza). A little expressive, freely performed passage at the violin is also taken from the Lied n° 4 (from the Kindertotenlieder). Youthful works are often considered by composers as a canvas for the more elaborate works of his mature years. A short transition takes one back to the shortened Scherzo. As in the first movement, it ends on three pizzicato chords.
Two years later, in 1994, while Lühl was studying chamber music with the violinist Jean Moullière at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, he presented his work to his professor. Interested in the original creative process, Moullière suggested premiering the second movement in the context of an obligatory performance for his students. Equally, Lühl made contact in a letter dated February 1995 with the International Mahler society in Vienna to show them his work.
The premiere of this second movement, and the performance of the first obligatory movement, took place at the Conservatory’s amphitheatre on March 7th 1994 at 5 p.m. – along with two other chamber music groups playing Strauss and Brahms – with the composer at the piano accompanied by other students. The cellist arrived late and had not practiced his piece sufficiently, which upset the young composer, who was going to present his first chamber music work. From memory, his mother said : “a lot of music professors came especially to listen to Lühl.”
Despite his efforts to validate his work, its reputation was limited to some comments in student magazines and certain specialized reviews in Vienna and the work remains forgotten somewhere in the drawers of the Mahler Society.
In 1996, Serge Gut, a well known French historian and musicologist, presented Mahler’s youthful works at the Sorbonne within a student syllabus. Again it was Jean Moullière who took the initiative of proposing the second movement of the piano quartet to Gut. This time other students played the two works. To Lühl’s great disappointment he wasn’t invited to the rehearsals which could have proved important in interpreting the second movement; nor was he invited at the end of the performance to come on stage. “I really must be very talented to have so many problems to be recognized while alive !” he thought ironically, thinking of all his famous predecessors, who also were not acknowledged.
In 1997, the Mahler Society in Vienna published an article, which featured the re-edition of the original first movement by the publishers Universal Edition, Mahler’s editor, with an appendix of his complete works with a preface by the pianist Manfred Wagner. Despite Lühl’s efforts to contact the pianist, his endeavors were in vain. He finished his music studies and started a career as a pianist around a series of international competitions. However, the desire to listen to his own music continued and he tried to have his work performed. Lühl reached the conclusion : “It’s easier to have your music played post mortem“, but he stayed tenacious and inquired with other French and Austrian musicians about the possibility of playing his music.
His membership of the International Gustav-Mahler-Society in Vienna, dating from 1998, didn’t help in promoting his work. He came up against closed doors between the Mahler libraries in Paris and Vienna, each of them giving different versions of the origin of the original fragment written by Mahler and for purists, a reconstruction work by Lühl was considered unthinkable.
In 1998, Lühl understood a work could not be finished if it weren’t complete. The saying goes – redundant from the beginning: it becomes clear if you consider a quartet with piano includes in general four movements, which at present contains only two. He decided to furnish his reconstruction work by adding two other movements, not only in Mahler’s style, but using several sketches from remaining fragments of other works and adapting them in Mahler’s youthful style and arranging them for piano quartet. He composed the two movements in one night, almost dying from carbon intoxication, because he worked by candle light in emulation of the way Mahler composed.
The third movement, the slow one, takes its origin from sources in Henry-Louis de la Grange’s book on Mahler (vol.3), in an appendix at the end of the work where the author mentions the existence of fragments of unfinished or “lost” works : “March 15th and 16th 1991, the RIAS orchestra of West-Berlin, Lawrence Foster conducting, played the first performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphonic Prelude orchestrated by the Hamburg musicologist Albrecht Gürschnig. According to the latter, it concerned the orchestration of a manuscript belonging to the National Library of Vienna whose first page title included the following mention : Symphonic prelude, from a copy by a student of Bruckner’s, Rudolf Krzyzanowski, dated 1876. The transcription for piano is from an [orchestral] score by Heinrich Tschuppik. At the bottom of the page, written later in pencil : possibly a work by Mahler, written for an exam ? Krzyzanowski worked with Mahler on the transcription for the piano duet of Bruckner’s Third (second version). Since then, no trace has been found of the orchestral score which Tschuppik transcribed for piano. His manuscript includes eight pages with a double cover page for the six others, 16 music lines and three blank pages. Certain passages were written down on three lines with no indication concerning the original orchestration. The whole thing is composed of 292 bars and the tempo indicated is nicht zu rasch [not too quickly]. The piece begins by the theme following the basses, accompanied by an ostinato, typically Brucknerian5.”
The theme in permanent progression, starts with the cello, like many examples in Mahler’s music, with a fourth interval which is full of very expressive appoggiaturas. In the second part, more lively in d minor, Lühl thought of the slow movement of the First Symphony (the ‘frère Jacques’ refrain). The immense progression recalls the detailed work by Mahler in the similarity of the writing process. The ending brings a certain instability, equally inspired by the first symphonic movement before returning to the reprise, shortened and enriched in the culminating moment just before the end.

The Finale
The third and fourth movements merge and are connected by a brief introduction in the last movement. Lühl’s choice for the main theme comes from de la Grange’s source : “At the death of Alma (Mahler’s wife), two manuscript sketches not belonging to any known work by Mahler, were included in his collection. Today they are at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York and the other is at the Stadtbibliothek in Vienna. The two pieces were examined in the 1920’s by Alban Berg, who wrote a manuscript page on the subject, confirming they belonged to no known work. According to him, the blue pencil marks seemed to be written at the end of Mahler’s life, which suggests he had the intention of reusing the sketches at a later date. According to Susan Filler, who studied the writing closely, as well as the paper used, the two sketches date in fact from around 1900 and are only canvases, each one including numerous variations of certain passages. The first sketch, for a Presto in G Major (Mahler expresses in a note his intention of transcribing the whole music in F) comprises three pages. However, to preserve the tonal unity of the quartet, Lühl decided to transpose this theme in A Major to complete the cycle of four movements in a lively atmosphere conforming to the styles of the time.
Everybody knows that composers quote and requote each other and then complain sometimes with a certain frivolity and lack of scruples. Mahler did not hesitate to use the same process by noting the first lines which were going to become the theme of the opening fanfare of the Fifth Symphony in the first movement of his Fourth. This Rondo theme was reworked in a way to preserve the juvenile freshness of Mahler aged 16. The other parts are influenced by his Lieder cycle the Knaben Wunderhorn; he never stopped using the themes in his first four symphonies, especially for the present examples, the Third and Fourth symphonies. In the second part, Lühl uses the accompaniment formula of arpeggios at the piano and the harmonic evolution of the first movement, without however quoting it directly. The last progression towards the end reminds one strongly of the end of the Scherzo from the first symphony and the succession of punctuated chords in A Major recall the academic approach Mahler had to follow in his Conservatoire training. Lühl saw in his own work a future message to express through the work : this quartet should contain the genesis of the Klagende Lied and the First Symphony which followed some time later.
In December 1998 he presented his work on Mahler including his transcriptions of the symphonies to Universal Edition. They told him that since the appearance of the gramophone, such arrangements were no longer fashionable and lacked public demand! There followed several letters to different editors because he had learnt the 25 years of Sikorski’s copyright had ended and it was possible now to present a complete reedition of the four movements. Only the Peters/Frankfurt edition showed any interest in the project and from February 1999 a correspondence began between the editor and the composer. This is when Lühl embarked on an important work of research and analysis on his composition procedure. He chose to write the missing movements and to complete the unfinished Scherzo (in part rewritten from the structure and stylistic borrowings and translated from German), by justifying his choice and naming his sources, so that an editor as well known as Peters would have no unpleasant surprises.
Some months later he received a presigned contract from Peters. Weary, he submitted the contract to a lawyer to understand the language which was unclear to the young artist. Peters only wanted to publish the first and the second movement which would have had as a consequence that the other two movements would remain unpublished or in the best scenario another editor would someday put it in his catalogue and so separate the work for which he had been trying so hard to assemble in its entirety. Some months later he received a letter from Peters publishers who withdrew the offer. Really disappointed by this decision, Lühl continued his tireless quest to find another editor and to validate this cursed work, even if the fourth movement was performed as a fringe programme at the Salle Pleyel in 1998.
In 2000-2001, Lühl followed a teaching course in the CefedeM, a state academy for training future music teachers, during which students had to present an original teaching project. He proposed the performance of an entire quartet by Mahler which he finished himself with some colleagues who were not used to this kind of challenge. The pedagogical benefit was obvious for him and his team and it allowed him to hear the four movements played in 2001 in a concert, ten years after he had completed it.
This premiere on which the group spent more time than necessary decoding the manuscript with the objective of producing a meticulous work, was very enriching for Lühl from a point of view of teaching, because the group never had the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a composer with so many biographical elements.
This entire quartet was later performed in Lille in 2004 with Marc Lys, also a teacher at the CefedeM, playing the piano and accompanied by three other musicians.
Since then this work is just languishing in Lühl’s archives. All other attempts of playing the piece failed. It was only thanks to Polymnie, Sylvain Durantel and his ensemble (beautifully rehearsed) that the quartet finally was played as an example. This recording allowed its author to thoroughly revise his quartet, taking out slips of pen from the four movements, not only for his own work but also Mahler’s, especially slips in transpositions and symmetry between the beginning and the end. His familiarity with composing sixteen years later allowed him to have a more objective view of the piece and he did not hesitate to change obvious mistakes which had crept into the work.
Lühl’s felt he could not leave a spelling mistake in a poem “or not point out a strange rhyme on the pretext that the composer finds it interesting. There are only rare exceptions where I allowed this. Tonal music is still more flawless, because everything has to be justified. It’s not because something pleases me that it is necessarily good. Music is an art which functions without exception to strict laws. And it’s in fact the absolute control of these laws and their rigorous application which allows one to produce a masterpiece or not. Otherwise one stays an amateur all one’s life. Writing is an indispensable tool which is very difficult to integrate intellectually, because to obtain perfect understanding one needs Time which unfortunately today is lacking in our life. Man constantly confuses quality and intuition ; he includes his own personal style into the music. That is why he prefers to create a discourse on art than art per se.”

Note by the author regarding the Mahler-Lühl Quartet (translated from German)
It is the wish of everybody to know what a composer would have created if Death had not taken him away. Unfinished works create great intellectual frustration for the listener and for musicologists. Besides it opens the narrow way which leads to the world of infinite hypothesis. We would like to know more and hope to find an explanation how the composer would have finished the piece without ever being able to know the reply.
To appease this frustration it happens in the history of music that students, friends or avid admirers of the dead artist accept the delicate challenge of completing sketches and drafts, hoping to suggest by this work that the composer is still living among us. So was born Tchaikovsky’s Seven Symphony (S. Bogatryrieff), Chopin’s Third concerto (J-L. Nicodé), Weber’s opera The Three Pintos (by Mahler himself), Mahler’s Tenth Symphony (D. Cooke)… and this piano quartet.
The premiere of the first movement (1876) was for a long time doubted, but it was supported by a tradition which decided on this date. The rudimentary way of writing and the sometimes unreadable Mahler while young indicates that he wrote with the purpose of performing his own works. When I listened to several interpretations of this relic movement I noticed when comparing all the versions that they differ not only in the interpretation, but more technically by certain details in the writing. The interpreters believed themselves obliged to correct such and such a note [in the case of the interpreter who is not a composer, he can only limit himself to a minimum of corrections – the author’s note today] for more logic in the sense of musical phrases. So I decided at age 16, like Mahler in his time, to put my musical knowledge as a composer to the test and started cleaning the score in a more thorough way. But this was not enough and I discovered large pages of a second movement, of a Scherzo ! I equally accepted this new challenge and had at my means less material than the first movement ; the numerous notes were unreadable or harmonically incomprehensible.
This is how I had the exceptional privilege to work with Mahler himself through his work and I threw myself into the enormous challenge of this young and promising Austrian composer.
In less than a week the Scherzo was finished and it had great success at the Conservatoire National de Paris.
After some performances, I sensed something was missing. I wanted to hear more ; I wanted to make a complete quartet from the two movements, a quartet ‘à la Gustav Mahler’ which sounds like Mahler to the very last note. And so were born very quickly the third and final movement and I hope that I lived up to the expectations of this task: to develop and increase the young creative source of Mahler’s musical evolution in homage to a man I admire and respect enormously.
Enguerrand-Friedrich Lühl, Paris, Spring 1999

ENGUERRAND-FRIEDRICH LÜHL • PIANO QUARTET LWV 121
This work has a disappointing background story; normally, the amateur music lover imagines ultra-romantic scenarios as the source of inspiration for a musical work. In this case we have to disappoint readers and listeners of this CD because the quartet was composed practically with the single intention of being a filler for this CD with the Mahler-quartet. Lühl didn’t leave any other chamber music work with piano and this standard instrumentation went very well with what he had planned to complete his catalogue of works. Composed in nine days, including the instrument material, in 2008, the quartet precedes his string quartet n°5.
Lühl is a traditional composer: he avoids composing for occasions and certain ensembles: “I’ve always thought that works which will last for centuries were those of classical form and structure. In musical literature we remember masses, symphonies and concertos, sonatas and string quartets. Duos for flute and bass clarinet, accordion trios and other curiosities are reserved for a certain public. I don’t have the time for this sort of experimentation ; I gave a work to finish before leaving this earth and it has to be connected, noble and personal, and not something that is a passing or ephemerical commissions.”
The advantage of composing quickly results in one’s desire for connectivity is better achieved, because it remains permanently in the creative flux and does not disappear until the project has been finished. And so he had the idea of inserting a new musical form; the second movement is inserted in the third one; until now this is nothing exceptional, if only from a point of view of structure, the two movements are in fact one and the slow movement is in reality the central part of the Scherzo. The two movements create a long fresco and the two themes, apparently radically opposed by speed and atmosphere are in fact closely linked by the construction.
The finale, a rondo, takes up in the couplets quotations from the other movements in chronological order. The impression given when listening to this quartet is that of a voyage without halts, despite the few interruptions (or ‘false’ interruptions) between and during the movements.

KONZERTSTÜCK LWV 19
This crazy and brilliant piece for all the instruments is an arrangement of a study for piano. Its style reminds one of an encore, ideal to finish a serious and fundamentally romantic musical soirée. Its author has equally arranged this study for two pianos (“Konzertetüde LWV 145”), a not less virtuoso and startling piece.
This CD presents for the time being the only pieces which Lühl wrote for piano quartets. Others may follow, according to inspiration.
CD 2

GUSTAV MAHLER
SYMPHONY n° 1 “Titan” for piano solo

“Transcription of Mahler’s First symphony for piano LWV 1” is the text appearing on the manuscripts front page, Lühl’s first opus. Six months of relentless work for the young musician, thanks to which he learnt the essentials of orchestration and instrumentation techniques, well before he started his harmony lessons with Bernard de Crépy, a professor at CNSM/Paris. It was an enriching undertaking from many points of view, because he worked in the old fashioned way, using an indelible pen and writing on a magnificent copy book for composition, especially created by a book-binder for this occasion. It was obvious, knowing the graphic attention that he brought to the editing of his works that this score was thought of as a synthetic and intellectual work, not particularly destined for stage performances: crossed out bars of music, sloppy handwriting and overlapping of passages to be played “by choice”, according to the size of the hand, was left to the discretion of the performer. In the last movement, the figure 52 at the spectacular repeat of the final fanfare, Lühl notes for example in the page’s margin : “In the first movement, during four bars, one can play trumpets (the melody above or below the octave) and get rid of the tremolos.” Such remarks are frequent and show the worry of being as exact as possible when playing with the full orchestra.
Lühl was already passionate about the inheritance of the Viennese master at the age of ten, when he had started playing piano with his mother one year previously. She was a fine teacher and an amateur pianist. The professor Michal Carcassone, a surgeon in the pediatric hospital in Marseille, had shown in 1987/88 to the young musician his impressive collection of scores. Although not a musician he had collected a precious catalogue of works in part out of print. Among those figured the nine symphonies of Mahler for piano duet. Lühl was fascinated by the quality of the editing work and he planned the transcription of the whole collection of Mahler’s symphonies. Decided to start this titanic work, which could honor its original composer, he was persuaded that even today some of Mahler’s work were unappreciated by the greater public, because of continuously programming the last symphonies in public and ignoring the earlier ones, infused with a very sharp and dissonant tonal language which was difficult to listen to. Therefore, he planned to transcribe the ten symphonies for piano solo on his own. He was convinced that no arranger had taken the trouble to do this before. Everybody wasn’t Liszt, who transcribed for piano solo all Beethoven symphonies. Finally the project stopped after the first symphony, judged too great in relation to his own compostions. He bought a pocket score and set to work straight away. He composed at the piano, noticing very quickly that a faithful adaption needed more than just a plain transcription of all the orchestral voices: he had to give the piano its orchestral mass, which one could only obtain by changing certain aspects of the original text: heights, dynamics, superimposition of different voices, by order of acoustic priority… The symphony is full of very long passages where the basses have prolonged notes. Lühl discovered the use of the “tonal” pedal, which allowed him to resonate certain blocked keys and to cleanse the music with repeated changes in the forte pedal. We see for example on the manuscript the frequent mention in French: “Keep central pedal down, but repeat the C key” (fourth movement, number 41). The end of the first movement is illustrated by a photocopy of a known photo of Mahler taken in 1888, a date around in which he composed his colossal work. The last page finishing the transcription is dated : “August 20th 1990”. Contrary to his previous habit, the date is written in French.
It’s only eight years later, in November 1988 that he decided that the transcription would have a better future than that of a simple writing exercise which would finish in a drawer. Under catalogue number 49 he rewrote all the score with his more advanced knowledge and added the orchestral effects sought after in vain at the time before, lacking piano and composition techniques. Lühl considers today that his work begins really with his second opus, the unfinished Mahler-quartet, and that the first one was just a warm up. His real version, presented here, is from 1988. One finds the usual graphic care with which he writes his scores.

 

 

Polymnie

En écoute : Mahler, Quatuor avec piano, Scherzo



Polymnie



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