A0198-CD: Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche plays the Music of Marcel Tournier

Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche plays the Music of Marcel Tournier

CD CoverThe acclaimed harpist Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche began her harp studies at the age of six with harpist and composer Marcel Tournier. As winner of numerous competitions she went on to become Professor of harp at the Boulogne and Lyon Conservatories as well as the National Conservatory of Nice. She brings to life many of Tournier's most innovative pieces for harp demonstrating the beauty of his impressionistic style of his compositions on this recording. Included on this CD are 'Au Matin' - Etude de Concert, Sonatine op. 30, Berceuse Russe and Jazz Band op. 33

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Audio Samples & Track Listing

Track Listing

1.   Feerie (Prelude et Danse)
2.   Lolita la Danseuse (Images Op.291re Suite)
3.   Les Anesses Grises sur la Route d'El-Azib (Images Op.353me Suite)
4.   La Voliere Magigue (Image Op.394e Suite)
Sonatine Op.30:
5.   Allegrement
6.   Calme et expressif
7.   Fieveusement
8.   Vers la Source dans les bois
Pastels du Vieux Japon Op.47
9.   Berceuse du Vent dans les Cerisiers
10.  Le Koto chance pour l'Absent
11.  Le Danseur au Sabre
12.  Au Matin Etude de Concert
13.  Berceuse Russe Op.40
14.  Jass-Band Op.33

CD Notes & Credits

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Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche plays the music of Marcel Tournier

Marcel Lucien Tournier(1879-1951) was the fourth of seven children born to Joseph and Martin from the Besacon region of France. Joseph Tournier, a famous Luthier, encouraged each of his sons to play a different musical instrument. His hope was that through their studies, they would gain insight into the construction of the instrument making business. To Joseph Tournier's dismay, his sons chose not to follow their father's career path. But instead all of them became accomplished musicians.

Marcel Tournier especially excelled, mastering the harp as a performer, composer and teacher. The young harpist began his musical career at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris where he had the opportunity to study with Martenot and Hasselmans while his studies of compositions, fugue and counterpoint were instructed by Caussade and Lennepvue. In 1899, he won the Premier Prix de Harp at the National Superior Conservatory of Paris and later was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome in 1909 for his cantata Laure et Patrarque. These successes led him to a performance career with the Paris Opera from 1908 to 1915.

Marcel Tournier succeeded his own teacher Alphonse Hasselmans, as Professor of Harp at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique Paris, teaching there from 1912 to 1948. His wife, Madam Lenars-Tournier also taught at the Paris Conservatory and from 1912 to 1933 she instructed students in the Pleyel Chromatic Harp. A devoted teacher, Professor Marcel Tournier attracted many students from all over France and abroad. Often, he asked his students to bring samples of music from their respective countries. Many times he dedicated his own compositions, inspired by these works, to the contributing student, colleagues or friend. It is evident in such work as "Images Suite" and the piece "Au Hasard des Ondes" that Tournier is describing through the music, his own ideas of what he imagined his students' countries to be like.

Tournier was also greatly influenced by the Impressionists of the time and developed a close friendship with Ravel. Other colleagues who influenced his work included such great composers as Claud Debbusy, Nadia Boulanger, Gabriel Faure, and acclaimed harpists Marcel Grandjany, Lily Laskine, Carlos Salzedo, Micheline Kahn, Pierre Jamet and Henriette Renie.

The development of the double-action Erard pedal harp opened up a new world for Tournier, who was devoted to the challenging task of composing for the new instrument. He was very innovative in his composition as he explored many new techniques for the harp. Considerable time and energy was spent experimenting with its total possibilities. He is especially noted for his technical explorations of pedal glisses, sliding chords, simplified glissandi, synonymous note combination and enharmonics.

In studying Tournier, we are conscious of an abiding legacy not merely of great music, but of pioneering work in exploring the capabilities of the harp. We must consider this man's lifelong devotion to teaching as a means of passing on to budding musicians a love of the artistry and technique of this unique instrument. While virtuosity is in short supply in the world of music, genius in expanding the artistic possibilities of a given instrument is even less common. As we listen to the music of Marcel Tournier, we hear not simply the result of a composer's work, but also the celebration of a beautiful musical instrument brought lovingly to its full potential by a master harpist.

Julia Cunningham

Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche

The study of music, especially music for the harp, has played an integral role in the life of Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche. Her studies of the harp began illustriously at the age of six with acclaimed composer Marcel Tournier. At just 13, she joined her teacher at the internationally renown Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique Paris(CNSM), where she continued her studies with other great artists such as Jacquelin Borot and Norbert Dufourcq. Later, this winner of the Israel International Prize, made her own contributions to the further development of the study of the harp by introducing harp curricula at seven conservatories from the Paris region to the maritime Alps. She has held the distinguished positions of assistant at the CNSM and Professor of Harp at the Boulogne and Lyon Conservatories, and is now the Professor of Harp at theNational Conservatory of Nice while also instructing at the Antibes and Cagnes-sur-Mer Conservatories. As one of France's most gifted performers, Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche has enchanted audiences world-wide earning critical acclaim for her talent and musicality. Her musical accomplishments are a wonderful homage to her master teacher, Marcel Tournier.

Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche performs on a Lyon & Healy harp.


Album & Artist Information

Instruments: Harp
Genre: Classical
Format: Audio CD
Our Ref: A0198
MCPS: LV-012
Label: Egan Records
Origin: EU

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