Myriam Barbaux-Cohen Delivers with Mel Bonis

French pianist Myriam Barbaux-Cohen took a different path than many of her colleagues. Most concert pianists begin their recording career with standard repertoire. Depending on their strengths, they record Chopin,  Beethoven,  Schubert, etc.

Not Barbaux-Cohen. She debuted with the music of Enrique Granados. And her sophomore release is even more adventuresome. It’s a collection of works by Mel Bonis. 

Bonis was a French pianist and composer active in the Belle Epoque. She was a classmate of Debussy at the Conservatoire. A forced marriage sidetracked her career, but she returned to music in the 1910s. 

Bonis wrote in an Impressionist style similar to Debussy’s. I say similar. Because Bonis drew inspiration from the same sources as Debussy without mimicking his work. 

If you love Debussy and Ravel, add this release to your collection. Bonis had her own ideas of Impressionism and her creations have a lush, fluid sound to them. 

Barbaux-Cohen is in top form. She understands Bonis’ aesthetic. Her touch is light, and her use of the pedal is sparing but strategic. The music just seems to glow at times.

And Barbaux-Cohen’s performance benefits from her C. Bechstein sponsorship. The iC. Bechstein D282 concert grand piano she plays has a rich, full tone. And it’s impeccably recorded. 

This release is available on SACD. If you prefer digital download to SACD, then get the highest-resolution files available. The beauty of this music — and the performance — is in the details.

Mel Bonis: Memoires d’une Femme
Myriam Barbaux-Cohen, piano
Ars Produktion 
SACD release

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