Pianist Aurèle Marthan pays homage to his splendid hometown Guéthary, on the Basque coast, where he founded the festival Classic à Guéthary.
Ravel and the Basque Country have always been one and the same. His Concerto in G major is the central work of this album and is presented here in an original arrangement for piano and small ensemble. All of the works recorded here illustrate the richness of a region that has been cherished by so many artists: Stravinsky arranged his Petrouchka in Biarritz, Pablo de Sarasate chose to reside there and Isaac Albéniz opted to spend his last days there. Another Basque celebrity, although on the Spanish side, is Alberto Iglesias, director Pedro Almodóvar’s house composer.
The Basque coast is often compared to California because of its excellent beaches for surfing; Aurèle Marthan evokes the Eagles as well as his passion for the American minimalists (Glass) and for cinema, with music from the films Amen and Waltz with Bashir; he also provides a piano version of the Biarritz-based rock band La Femme’s hit Sur la planche. This album covers more than three centuries of music and includes music by Rameau and Couperin — the composer of La Basque!
Guéthary was written especially for this recording by composer David Chalmin, who also produced the recording in his studio in the Basque Country.