Sunday, December 8, 2013

Daniel Clarke Bouchard, 13-year-old pianist in Montrèal, Records Classical CD 'Scènes d'Enfants' on ATMA Classique; Recording Excerpt on YouTube

Daniel Clarke Bouchard: Scènes d'Enfants
With Oliver Jones; 
ATMA Classique ACD2 2698 (2013)

YouTube: Pianists Daniel Clarke Bouchard and Oliver Jones during the recording session of Daniel's first album, Scènes d'enfants. (5:04)

Scènes d'enfants: Repertoire from Liner Notes 

The liner notes of Scènes d'Enfants (Children's Scenes) offer this introduction to the CD:

"At just 13 years old, the Québécois pianist Daniel Clarke Bouchard is already a sensation on the Montréal music scene. In 2011, he won first prize in his age category at the Concours de musique du Canada, and also won scholarships from Yamaha, Canimex and Gilles Chatel. As the first prize winner of the Bradshaw and Buono International Competition, he was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Last February, he appeared as soloist with l’Orchestre Métropolitain, and joins the orchestra again on November 27, 2013 under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Théâtre Outremont."

The Canadian label ATMA Classique, distributed in the U.S. by Naxos USA, has just issued this fascinating disc which is the first solo recording of 13-year-old Daniel Clarke Bouchard of Montrèal, Québec.  The first and last tracks are works for two pianos, with accompaniment by the well-known Montrèal jazz pianist Oliver Jones, who has also served as a mentor to Daniel Clarke Bouchard. 

Commenting on the new release, Bill Brownstein wrote on November 15, 2013 in The Gazette of Montrèal, "Daniel Clarke Bouchard is heavy on talent, light on attitude.  Young pianist Daniel Clarke Bouchard is probably the only person who isn’t impressed by his chops."

Later in his piece, Bill Brownstein writes: "On Tuesday, Clarke Bouchard launches his first disc, Scènes d’Enfants, in which he demonstrates panache beyond his years in performing works by Beethoven, Debussy, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert and Schumann. His mentor Jones joins him on two tracks, by Mozart and by the late/great Québécois composer/pianist/singer Claude Léveillée."

The two-piano works stand out from the rest, with expert jazz playing by Oliver Jones.  The blend of the two genres in the two works of Mozart and Léveillée is both impressive and enjoyable.  The 10 tracks for solo piano include Franz Schubert's Impromptu No. 2 in E flat major, D. 899 Op. 90; Ludwig van Beethioven's Rondo and capriccio in G Major, "Rage over a Lost Penny, Op.129; and Robert Schumann's Scènes d'enfants, Op. 15, No. 1.

The liner notes explain that all of the works on the recording were selected by Daniel Clarke Bouchard from his performance repertoire.  The sound of the solo piano tracks is completely professional, not at all amateurish.  The first piece is  Faintaisie à deux pianos sur les Variations « Ah! vous dirai-je, maman » K. 265.  It may be more familiar to listeners than the other works.  The 10 solo works form a pleasingly cohesive program.  We have listened to the disc numerous times, and expect to continue to do so.  Daniel Clarke Bouchard's first recording is a tantalizing introduction to a talent which will now be known well beyond his home province of Québec.

Disclosure:  A review copy of this recording was provided by the record label.       

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