Utrecht-based record label TRPTK presents the new CD The Boulanger Legacy’, a tribute to the Boulanger sisters.
Violinist Merel Vercammen graduated cum laude from the Royal College of Music in London. She won many prestigious awards and has since performed in many important concert halls worldwide. In March 2019 she released her debut album ‘Symbiosis’ (Gutman Records) with pianist Dina Ivanova, prize winner of the Listzt Competition.
The adventurous TRPTK label released ‘The Zoo’ in September 2019, with classical-based improvisations. An original approach that received rave reviews.
That Vercammen is constantly looking for new challenges is something she proves with her new TRPTK production ‘The Boulanger Legacy’, a thematically composed album in which the music of Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) and her students are the common thread.
“Her influence on the music of the twentieth century has been gigantic,” Vercammen says. The school, of which she would become director in Fontainebleau, attracted many American music students. Various names such as Aaron Copland, Jean Françaix, Philip Glass, Daniel Barenboim, Elliott Carter and Quincy Jones took lessons from her.
Referring to her surname, there was talk of the “boulangerie,” as if she delivered composers like loaves of bread. The album includes works by her sister Lili Boulanger, Gra?yna Bacewicz, Leonard Bernstein and Astor Piazzolla.
Bacewicz and Bernstein
By the Lily Boulanger (1893-1918), who died young, the three pieces she wrote for violin and piano are included, with the expressive “D’un matin de printemps” (1917) particularly notable. The Polish Gra?yna Bacewicz (1909-1969) enjoys great fame in her native country and is represented on the album with her beautiful ‘Sonata no. 3 for violin & piano’ (1948). An early, modernist, work by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) is included: the ‘Sonata for violin and piano’ (1979): a series of variations in which he plays with form.
A trip to Argentina
Additional color to this album is ‘Le Grand Tango’ (1982) by Argentine Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), born 100 years ago, a piece he originally dedicated to the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Composer Sofia Gubaidulina made an arrangement of it for violin and piano. Vercammen and pianist Ivanova seem to step outside themselves for a moment in their special performance: like no other, the duo lets the energy of the tango speak for itself! “We really had to make the rhythm our own”, Vercammen remarks.
Now with violin
The carefully constructed album ends with the first movement, ‘Modéré’, from ‘Trois pièces’ by Nadia Boulanger. Melancholy music that was originally written for piano and cello, but has been given a violin part by Vercammen.
The new CD will be released on April 30, so just a little more patience.