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Lucas Debargue
To the Artist Lucas Debargue

Zal - The Music of Miłosz Magin


After acclaimed recordings of music by the great masters, Lucas Debargue shines much-needed light on a composer he is determined must be heard: Miłosz Magin (1929 –1999). "Magin’s style is capable of both enchanting and surprising us," the French pianist says. "Few composers of his time were so open to cultivating the art of writing beautiful melodies." Born in Poland in 1929, Magin settled in Paris in 1960. After a car accident in 1963 he traded a career as one of Poland’s greatest pianists for that of an imaginative composer who would never forget the traditions of his homeland.

The Polish word Żal forms the album’s title. It refers to an emotion –particularly a complex and multifaceted one and is neigh-untranslatable.This single word, a single emotion with worlds of meaning, conveys for Debargue, the scent, complexity, depth, and emotion of Magin’s music. Magin’s greatest inspiration was Chopin, another Pole who made Paris his home and whose piano works Magin recorded for Decca. The two composers are buried next to one another in Paris. Magin’s music shares much of the same lucid, distilled quality as that of his forbear, as well as a pianistic elegance that speaks of France and Poland in equal measure.  "His music has been resonating in my mind’s ear for the last twenty years," says Debargue, whose first piano teacher was a student of Magin and "admired him not only as an inspired composer but also as a pianist and as a teacher whose advice on interpretative matters had often proved invaluable to her. His music has played a crucial role in my life. I grew up with it," continues the French pianist.

The pieces written for children, especially Magin’s Miniature Polonaises of which he presents Nostalgie du pays, was one of the first works he learnt with his first piano teacher. When Debargue included Magin’s Nostalgie du pays at a recital in Paris, the composer’s granddaughter Alexandra contacted him. A correspondence began and a world of unpublished music saw the light of day.

Debargue’s new album, with Kremerata Baltica and Gidon Kremer, presents the composer’s rhapsodic piano concerto, combining puckish agility with magical luminosity. Kremer himself plays the Violin Concerto that frolics with Polish dances, while pianist and violinist are united for exquisite chamber works and Debargue presents gems for solo piano. This album includes world premiere recordings of the Violin Concerto, Vocalises, and Andante for Violin and Piano. It also presents the composer’s intense, prayerful Stabat mater for strings and timpani. "I already knew the sound of the Kremerata Baltica and was convinced that it would be ideal for Magin’s Stabat mater and his concertos," says Debargue.


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