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Igor Stravinsky

The firebird
The song of the nightingale

Piano solo transcriptions by Stravinsky

Lydia Jardon, piano


Igor Stravinsky

The firebird
The Song of the Nightingale

Total time : 75 minutes.
Commentary : Nicolas Southon
Piano: Shigeru Kawai
Maître technicien : Stéphane Boussuge
Réalisateur, Direction artistique : Jean-Marc Laisné
Recorded at La Batterie - Guyancourt on 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th march 2012
Official release : 7th november 2012

AR RE-SE 2012-1

The press covers it !

« Leader in the ascent of the Himalaya of the piano (Scriabin Etudes, Miaskovsky Sonatas), Lydia Jardon also climbed to the roof of the orchestral world with the transcription of Debussy's La Mer, and here are two Stravinskys of the same kind. Interest first focuses on her version of The Firebird, a 'mix' of the transcriptions by the composer and his son, Soulima. The result is spectacular. And Lydia Jardon dazzles. The sleight-of-hand of her luminous fingers counts less than the enchanting playing that transforms a score of choreographic origin into a support for a tale embellished with images or the accompaniment of a silent film. The world premiere recording of the Nightingale also flies very high. »

Le Monde, 27th november 2012, Pierre Gervasoni

« Living in fire, or the seven lives of pianist Lydia Jardon
Between the release of her latest CD, featuring Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird, and her recent recital (11 December 2012) at the Goethe-Institut in Paris, pianist Lydia Jardon gave us the pleasure of receiving us. Portrait of an exceptional pianist and an unforgettable woman. »
[Read more...], December 2012, Christine Ducq

« It's a direct relation after Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Miaskovsky, whom I've recorded, but at the outset, The Firebird was not my choice - it was a commission from Jean-Claude Casadesus for the 'Lille Piano(s)' festival.' Pianist Lydia Jardon spent many long months working to achieve 'her' score of the piano transcription of Igor Stravinsky's Firebird. A demanding text but she who has played the complete Scriabin sonatas several times denies seeking to practice an 'extravagant pianism with guaranteed tendonitis': 'The piano rodeo does not interest me! People have to understand the work - it's not a settling of scores [no pun intended]!' A label and two festivals The disc has just been released and includes, for the second half, The Song of the Nightingale, another transcription that also demanded a great deal of her. The label deserves our pausing for a moment since it is the cornerstone of Lydia Jardon's grand garden. This musician of Catalan origin is proud of having founded, in 2002, the 'first female label'', Ar Ré-Sé (Breton for 'those women'). The majority of the artists who have recorded are women, concentrating on 'repertoires that are not often frequented' (catalogue on Given that she likes accomplishing 'things a bit titanic', in 2001 Lydia founded the "Musiciennes à Ouessant' festival, featuring women musicians on the Breton 'island of women', of which she is hopelessly in love. Another challenge: last May, the first edition of the Musiciennes en Guadelope took place, its mission being to 'exhume little-known women composers in the world's musical heritage'. In May 2013, homage will be paid to the Mexican Consuelo Velasquez, composer of the internationally famous 'Besame mucho'. Something of a... rite of spring. »

L'Est républicain, 13th december 2012, Frédéric Menu

« Interview with Lydia Jardon, pianist
Tutti-magazine: You have just returned today from Guadeloupe where you created a festival in 2012. What can you tell us about it? Lydia Jardon: Musiciennes en Guadeloupe1 is an initiative similar to the Musiciennes à Ouessant festival, which will be observing its 13th edition in 2013. It is a matter of exhuming the world heritage of little-known or even forgotten women composers who have real artistic value. Of course, for me there was no question of tacking the Ouessant concept onto Guadeloupe without taking into account the specificities inherent in the site and its culture. »
[Read more...]

Tutti Magazine, 29th december 2012, Philippe Banel

«  Interview with Lydia Jardon
Director of festivals in Ouessant [a Breton island] and Guadeloupe featuring women musicians, Lydia Jardon is also the founder of the Ar Ré-Sé label. Fascinated by transcriptions, she has just recorded Stravinsky's Firebird and Song of the Nightingale.
[Read more...]
What charms in listening to The Firebird is first of all the perfect comprehension of the orchestra's polyphony and its transposition to the piano. The instrument is, by definition, reductive. Yet, in this piece, it can also help us go deeper into the work's original structure. Lydia Jardon bases her interpretation on markers, sometimes even details that make the musical message explicit. This minimalist approach necessitates intimate knowledge of the orchestral work. It is a sort of 'composed commentary', as for a literary work, and surpasses the musical value of the notes. The result is more than surprising: it renders the piece in all its magnificence and complexity, without 'tricks', pianistic effects or an invasive pedal hiding things. Such an approach calls for an effort of concentration from the listener. The Song of the Nightingale, in its syntactical nudity, belongs more to sound experimentation, the piano announcing the harmonic language of Messiaen. A titanic amount of work for a fascinating result. »

Pianiste Magazine, January 2013, Stéphane Friédérich

education musicale
« Aside from the Three Movements from Petrushka and a few short pieces, Stravinsky wrote little for solo piano although he did make transcriptions of orchestral works, including The Firebird. In fact, the work was first written in a piano version, in 1910, doubtless to help the dancers in their preparatory work; his son Soulima would also transcribe three movements from the ballet, in 1973. Lydia Jardon drew on these two sources, combining them into her own version for concert performance. Emboldened by the interest this stirred, she then recorded it, and the result is, beyond the tour de force, downright revealing. 'Solar, regenerative music,' she calls it. Granted. And it is a quasi-orchestra that we hear in the course of incandescent runs or deep-felt lyricism. Resorting to the broadest possible spectrum of the piano translates, with a rare appropriateness of tone, the diverse atmospheres of the piece, the fluidity of the discourse, like the abrupt changes of sequences or the near-'fusional' transitions. The very dense polyphony of the orchestral version is reproduced, not by using the technique of re-recording, but by the two hands alone, after work on compressing the material and an extremely modulated use of the pedal. This leads to an inevitable discrepancy, slightly reducing the work's playing time. In this 'solar, regenerative music', there is always place for spellbinding magic. The 'Danse infernale', in Soulima's version, preferred to that of Igor Stravinsky, is incandescent, with fantastic work of the left hand (as was demonstrated in a concert recently given at the Goethe Institute in Paris). And the final chords of 'Allégresse générale', with her judicious rocking of bells pealing, turn out to be unusually powerful. Lydia Jardon chose to add the transcription, again by Stravinsky, of the orchestral version of The Song of the Nightingale. The experience is just as fascinating, if not even more astonishing, so much is the mastery of the constantly shifting rhythmic mechanics subservient to extreme rigour of tempo. There again, the sound is no less gleaming than in the orchestra, and the poetry of the bird's melancholic theme takes on a troubling colouration. The 'Jeu du rossignol mécanique' provides arduous gymnastics, and the peroration, so melodious, is wreathed in mystery. This was a near-ideal complement! One is subjugated by what Lydia Jardon humbly calls 'serene virtuosity', eminently illuminated by the instrument played, a Japanese Shigeru Kawai, clear in the mid-range and devoid of thickness in the low register, far from the flashy sound of the keyboard of the Hamburg firm. A rare disc! »

L'Éducation musicale, February 2013, Jean-Pierre Robert

« Stravinsky's rare birds by Lydia Jardon
The fact is rare enough to merit mention: for lack of having produced essential, original scores for the piano, we are forced to admit that Igor Stravinsky's most noteworthy works for keyboard are his own arrangements of those masterpieces of orchestration that are Petrushka, The Firebird and The Rite of Spring. We shall not expatiate for long upon the fact that these versions are far from simple de-orchestrated clones of the original versions. They are of considerable interest, allowing us to go to the heart of the structures, harmonies and rhythmic patterns that are so particular and the trademark of the great Russian. In the particular case of The Firebird recorded here, the accompanying booklet informs us that Lydia Jardon chose to merge two existing transcriptions: the one, obviously, by Stravinsky, from 1910, into which very long passages from the version for three pieces by his son, dated 1973, were incorporated. The 'Danse infernale' is thus essentially due to the latter. By her own admission, Lydia Jardon, on her initiative, rewrote or completed certain passages based on the orchestral score. But don't let this 'fiddling about' frighten you: the result is thoroughly successful on the level of the text itself since one notices nothing! As concerns the interpretation itself, this version for solo piano of a score that is instrumentally loaded in its orchestral version fully occupies the musical space. Never did we have the impression of a slack moment or a void created by the reduction of physical – only two hands – and instrumental – a single keyboard – performance means. It goes to show that the investment of the artist who had already nurtured her interpretation in a series of concerts prior to recording is total. Yet we discern a constant cerebral effort that tends to restrict and perhaps overly control her playing on the expressive level. But the clarity of the reading, the subtly mastered use of the pedals (including the harmonic) ensure an impeccable organization of the sound levels. Ultimately, the successful interpretation of such a score entails bringing off the whole paradox of a luxuriant music requiring the performers' absolute rigour in the organization, a rigour that must serve as a basis for developing a constantly controlled subjectivity without which the edifice collapses. The pairing with The Song of the Nightingale falls within the same artistic perspective. Technically, one will be able to hear a few noises here and there that are difficult to identify (creaking of the pedal, internal clicking in the instrument?). Would a laxness of intentions or excessive freedom have spoiled this Firebird? It is better not to know and profit from this interesting realization that is barely serious. »

ResMusica, 29th march 2013, Nicolas Mesnier-Nature