Claude Debussy

Lili Boulanger

Nicolas Bacri

francis Poulenc


Véronique Mathieu violin

Jasmin Arakawa piano


Violinist Véronique Mathieu and pianist Jasmin Arakawa present Navona Records’ CORTÈGE. The name cortège, or “solemn procession,” covers a vast expanse of meaning — while it most often describes a funeral procession, the term also refers to a joyful wedding procession, or a group that follows a person of importance in their honor. Mathieu and Arakawa balance the solemn and the celebratory in this sensitive, dynamic performance. Exploring the works of four French composers — Claude Debussy, Lili Boulanger, Nicolas Bacri, Francis Poulenc — the album is emotional, refined, and triumphant all at the same time.


The album begins with a trip back to 1917 with Claude Debussy’s Sonata for violin and piano in G minor. Written when the composer was suffering from terminal cancer, a year before his death, he wrote to a friend that  “this sonata will be interesting from a documentary point of view and as an example of what may be produced by a sick man in time of war.” Mathieu and Arakawa handle this introspective work with technical precision and grace.


The moving album finds its title track in composer Lili Boulanger’s 3 Pieces for violin and piano. The second movement, Cortège, presents the other side of the word’s meaning — it depicts a victorious procession through sweeping gestures, a brisk tempo, and a bright, sunny energy. Mathieu and Arakawa pay homage to the young composer, whose life was cut short by illness, and demonstrate the triumph that can be created even in a grave situation. The Bacri Sonata breve for solo violin, op. 45 and Poulenc Sonata for violin and piano, FP 119 wrap up the album with passion and a demonstration of the duo’s virtuosity and compatibility as a musical unit.


CORTÈGE honors the 20th-century output of French composers, the relationship of solemnity and celebration, and the refined skills of two of today’s top performers and interpreters of music for violin and piano.



Release Date: August 28, 2020

Catalog #: NV6305

Format: Physical & Digital



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Navona Records offers listeners a fresh taste of today's leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and experimental music as well as prime pieces of classic repertoire. Our music is meticulously performed by the finest musicians and handpicked to ensure the most rewarding listening experience.

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