Emmanuel Despax‘s new album, Après un rêve, is an ode to the French Belle Époque repertoire, depicting the beauty of dreams and the night.
The album is an opportunity to hear and perhaps discover rarely played / rarely recorded wonderful works (Chaminade Nocturne, Duparc Aux étoiles, Poulenc Les soirées de Nazelles), alongside central pillars of the repertoire, and includes a world premiere of Despax’s arrangement of Après un rêve.
The album is attributed to his grandfather, Jacques Charpentreau, a French poet who adored this repertoire and frequently drew inspiration from the night in his works. Despax has curated some of his poetry, as well as works by other poets he admired to complement this music, taking the listener on an immersive poetic and musical journey through this nocturnal landscape.
On release, the album has received a 4-star review and selected as Album of the Week in The Times (paywall).
“Despax can transform his sound and his outlook with remarkable dexterity; and whatever the spirit of the music – the calm radiance of Duparc’s transciption of ‘Aux étoiles’, the malice-laced sizzle of Horowitz’s sly embellishments of the Saint-Saëns-Liszt Danse macabre, the plush innocence of Chaminade’s Nocturne – he conveys it with confidence and, when necessary, bravura..” International Piano
Après un rêve was featured on BBC Radio 3’s Record Review; on Scala Radio on both the Jack Pepper and Hannah Cox shows; and selected as Album of the Week on Classic FM.