Souvenirs of Auguste Descarries is the debut solo album from Quebecois pianist, Isabelle David, set to be released May 27, 2022 through Halifax-based label, Leaf Music. The album includes 14 works from the distinguished Quebec pianist and composer Auguste Descarries. This prominent pianist holds a special place in Ms David’s musical background, as her maternal grandmother was one of the students who benefited from his teaching. This special link and the discovery of the composer’s manuscripts, led Ms David to pursue a doctorate in music performance where she devoted four years of research to Descarries’s piano works.
Eight of the album’s recordings are unreleased works, adding to the original contribution of Quebecois piano literature. Ms David champions Descarries’s compositions through this beautiful collection. After his passing in 1958, journalist Pierre Saucier wrote of Descarries in La Patrie, “Nobody could convey the message of the classic works with such verve. He was a master of phrasing, which is such a trite concept today. With his inspired improvisations, music came alive as if by, with a very personal twist.”
“Nostalgie” was written in Descarries’ last years, featuring sophisticated harmonies and profound romantic expression. Isabelle David holds the honour of having performed the piece for the very first time during a recital at the Salle Claude-Champagne in September 2018. The manuscript for “Étude en sol majeur” was discovered by Ms David during her research in the Université de Montréal archives earlier that year.
The “Rhapsodie canadienne” was originally composed in 1927 as part of a Canadian competition intended to promote folk songs. Though it was not selected, Descarries revisited this work six years later and changed it from a small-orchestral piece to a large-orchestral piece. In December 2017, 60 years after its last performance, Ms David performed this piece with the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil, and again in 2018 with the Orchestre symphonique de Drummondville. Then in 2020, Ms David revived this work by transcribing it for solo piano, with its debut performance as part of her last doctoral recital that year.
This album is the culmination of all the work undertaken in the past few years. It is part of an endeavour shared with other musicians and music lovers who wish to raise the profile of Auguste Descarries’s great piano legacy. I trust you will enjoy the composer’s unreleased pieces, whose opus makes a very original contribution to the piano literature of Quebec. – Isabelle David
Isabelle David is a national award-winning pianist from Quebec, who made her debut as a soloist with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at the age of 17. Her involvement in various international festivals and competitions has led her to perform at Jordan Hall (Boston), Carnegie Hall (New York), Helsingin Musiikkitalo (Helsinki), and Zipper Hall (Los Angeles). She released her first album, The Wild Swans, with violinist Yolanda Bruno in 2019. The prominent pianist and composer Auguste Descarries, from Quebec, holds a special place in her family’s musical background, as her maternal grandmother was one of the students who benefited from his teaching. Throughout Ms David’s childhood, her grandmother shared cherished memories from the time she studied with the master. This special link to Descarries and the discovery of the composer’s manuscripts, now part of the Université de Montréal archives, led her to pursue a doctorate in music performance where she devoted four years of research to Descarries’s piano works. She completed her doctorate in 2020 and has created this album as a culmination of that work.
Souvenirs of Auguste Descarries
Release date: May 27, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Brown | firstname.lastname@example.org
Halifax-based classical label, Leaf Music is excited to release the debut solo album from Quebecois pianist Isabelle David. The album includes 14 works by Quebec composer Auguste Descarries, eight of which have never before been released. The piece, “Rhapsodie canadienne” is filled with well-known French-Canadian folk themes and was transcribed for piano by Ms. David as part of her doctoral studies at the Université de Montréal. This album is a culmination of her doctoral work, and endeavors to honour Descarries’s great piano legacy.