Alain Lefèvre / JoAnn Falletta / BPO – André Mathieu: Concerto no.3

September 08, 2017

Analekta is proud to announce the release of André Mathieu: Concerto No. 3, the 21st album by the great pianist and composer Alain Lefèvre to be released by the label. Alain Lefèvre unveils the results of three years of hard work by Jacques Marchand, George Nicholson and himself aimed at restoring, in its original form, André Mathieu’s famous Concerto No. 3.

In 2008, the author, host and lecturer George Nicholson discovered the original score for two pianos of André Mathieu’s Concerto No. 3 written in the Québec composer’s own hand. The differences, which were noteworthy, between this original score and the Concerto de Québec, the well-known, modified, version of the work, were the starting point for an enormous undertaking aimed at restoring this masterwork of Mathieu’s. Jacques Marchand, composer and conductor of the Orchestre symphonique régional d’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, was entrusted with the demanding work of reconstructing the score, a task that stretched over a period of close to three years, with Alain Lefèvre and Georges Nicholson more than ably assisting.

Presented as a world premiere in February 2017 in Buffalo, where it was performed by Alain Lefèvre (who has been responsible for Mathieu’s rehabilitation in cultural memory both here and elsewhere) and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of the renowned JoAnn Falletta, the reconstituted Concerto No. 3 was enthusiastically received by the audience. Recorded at those performances, the album André Mathieu: Concerto No. 3 accurately conveys the brilliance of Alain Lefèvre and the enthusiasm of the musicians, aware as they were of sharing a highly emotional and one-of-a-kind moment. JoAnn Falletta had previously collaborated with Alain Lefèvre in presenting works by Mathieu – in New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2013, among other settings.

It was in the autumn of 1942, 75 years ago, that young Québec prodigy André Mathieu, just 13 years old and at the peak of his glory, began writing his Concerto No. 3, which he would finish the following summer. A few years later the producer Paul L’Anglais acquired the rights to it and had arranger Giuseppe Agostini adapt the work for the movie La Forteresse (Whispering City in an English-language version). Rechristened Concerto de Québec, it was this version that André Mathieu recorded for Radio-Canada on his return from Paris in 1947. Revisited 30 years later by Marc Bélanger as the basis for a recording by pianist Philippe Entremont and the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, the version made by Giuseppe Agostini for the film would be revised in 2003 by pianist Alain Lefèvre, who went on to use it for the recording of the work with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec. (2018 will therefore mark the 15th anniversary of that album.)

The new album also contains George Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and premiered in 1928, the work translates into music the vivid impressions of an American visiting Paris, strolling the city streets and soaking up the exuberant atmosphere of the French capital.