Napoleon Coste: Guitar Works, Vol. 5

From Stephen Taylor on Amazon.com

Napoléon Coste was the greatest French guitar virtuoso and composer of the nineteenth century. Influenced by Fernando Sor’s revival of this instrument, Coste was something like the guitar’s Chopin. In fact, we hear traces of Chopin’s music throughout Coste’s work, especially in his many brilliant “Etudes” and the sparkling waltzes of his Opus 41, “Les Feuilles d’automne” (Leaves of Autumn), included on this disc.
While Coste was an oft-seen figure in the salons of Paris through his forties, a fall damaged his left hand in mid-career, leaving him unable to perform the virtuosic pieces that had made him famous. Coste did not stop composing though, and luckily his forced retirement seems not to have made him or his music at all melancholy. The pieces recorded by Marc Teicholz on this spectacular Naxos release date from Coste’s later years. “La Ronde de Mai” is a lively, Chopin-like rondo, whose title incorrectly calls to mind a French country dance. Coste’s Opus 44, “Souvenir du Jura,” is a cheerful “memory” of his childhood in the mountains of east-central France. Finally, the rambling, virtuosic final piece, “Divagation,” reminds one of a young man’s wanderings in the French countryside and a composer still enchanted with it after so many years in Paris. — An unforgettable disc.

1 La Ronde de Mai, Op. 42
2 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 1
3 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 2
4 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 3
5 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 4
6 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 5
7 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 6
8 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 7
9 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 8
10 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 9
11 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 10
12 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 11
13 Feuilles d’automne, Op. 41: Valse 12
14 Marche funebre et rondeau, Op. 43: Marche Funebre: Maestoso
15 Marche funebre et rondeau, Op. 43: Rondeau: Allegretto
16 Souvenir du Jura, Op. 44: Andante et Polonaise

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