MANHATTAN (recorded on October 4, 1974)
Deeply impressed by the tentacular city of New York, François Glorieux decided to celebrate it in a musical composition. The day after the first performance on March 28, 1974, Jacques Stehman wrote in Le Soir: “ This is a work sparkling with spontaneity and vitality, full of inventions, and, moreover, very brilliantly written with plenty of amusing and picturesque effects. MANHATTAN could easily be entitled as A European in New York, actually being a kind of counterpart to Gershwin’ s An American in Paris. With much ingenuity Glorieux here succeeded in painting a fresco in which the giant city is evoked with wonderful suggestion. But above all, MANHATTAN proves to be totally indifferent to the music of the « avant - garde »: it breathes youth and zest for living in a direct musical language. »
In the Süddeutsche Zeitung Dietmar Polaczek completely agrees with this opinion, concluding as follows: « Glorieux succeeded in captivating and amusing the critic. Is there any contemporaneous composer able to do such a thing? “
1. First impressions – The composer is struck by two contrasting aspects: on the one hand by the sky-scrapers and the bustling life in the crowded streets (Allegro deciso), and on the other
2. Broadway – A theme is first treated in a fugue, and afterwards used to describe, not without plenty of humor, the various nationalities and races met with on Broadway. It is a many-coloured evocation of the world of Blacks, Chinese Arabians, hippies, etc., depicted by the composer making use of very typical instruments, even a mouth-organ and a banjo for the portrait of a Texas boy (Allegro scherzando con umore).
3. By day in Central Park – At night Central Park is one of New York’ s most dangerous quarters, but by day it is a very captivating place. The whole of this jazzed part is built on a theme with variations and “written” improvisations (Allegretto: Tema con variazioni).
4. Adventures in mystery, passion, love and fight – The title of this part is obvious: we plunge into the mysteries of the lowest strata of society, and in the complications of a love-story (Inquieto-Vivo).
DIVERTIMENTO (recorded in May 1994)
As regards DIVERTIMENTO for piano and string-orchestra, which dates from 1980, the author tells us: “Contrary to many composers more concerned with cerebral research, I wanted to create a work whose only aim was to entertain.”
With the exception of the introduction and the brilliant finale, each piece is a dance movement where excitement, melancholy and sentimentality feel at home together – without forgetting the humorous parody of the tango!
Having often played it as a solist, François Glorieux prefers conducting his DIVERTIMENTO, leaving the piano part to the talented Tobias Koch. A version for two pianos also exists for this work.
MOUVEMENTS (recorded on April 16, 1971)
About MOUVEMENTS, Marcel Doisy wrote:
“It was through André Cluytens that I met François Glorieux. This is a high recommendation particularly because he talked about the young pianist and composer in an affectionate manner which left no doubt about his admiration. It was in 1964 on the evening he created the integral version of MOUVEMENTS.”
This work had been commissioned by Maurice Béjart in 1962 for the Ballet of the XXth Century but three parts only had been performed in 1963 on the stage of the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, in the choreography of André Leclair. On November, 1964 at the Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts with the composer at the piano, MOUVEMENTS was created in its full concert version under the warm and precise direction of André Cluytens (to whom the score is dedicated) and aroused an enthusiasm which has since been constantly reaffirmed.
“MOUVEMENTS is not a concerto for piano but a powerful and hard-to-classify work in which the purpose of the composer was to give an equal importance to the brass, percussion and piano in order to create an extreme dramatic tension in which fatality, the frenzy of youth, meditation, nostalgia and war find a forceful expression.”