Pièces de Concours

Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot viola/alto

Élise Desjardins piano




Violist Jutta Puchhammer’s album PIÈCES DE CONCOURS POUR is a treasure trove of late romantic French viola music. Originating as exam compositions for students enrolled at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris from 1896-1938, this album demonstrates Puchhammer’s peerless virtuosity as a performer, as well as the expressive range of her instrument, which was largely dismissed by the mainstream of eighteenth and nineteenth century composers.


Indeed, the vast majority of prominent concertos and chamber works featuring viola are relatively recent, as only a handful of lasting works were written for the instrument between Bach’s sixth Brandenburg Concerto (1718) and William Walton’s 1929 Viola Concerto in A minor. PIÈCES DE CONCOURS POUR brings many more thrilling, lyrical, and passionate viola compositions to light, suggesting the viola’s repertoire is much richer than Classical Music’s conventional wisdom may lead one to believe.


In addition to providing Puchhammer with ample opportunities to show off her tremendous abilities, the works on PIÈCES DE CONCOURS POUR represent an interesting snapshot of French and European music history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, although composed in 1910, Henri Büsser’s Appassionato in Cis Dur reflects the aesthetic heart of French Romanticism as established by better-known composers such as Gabriel Fauré and Jules Massenet. Heinrich Sitt’s Concertino Op. 46 (1899) is emblematic of nineteenth century classicism, namely in the way it conveys the hallmarks of the traditional concerto structure as established by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.


Many of the compositions on PIÈCES DE CONCOURS POUR share the Classical form of Sitt’s concerto, such as Henri Marteau’s Chaconne in ut majeur (1905), or the French romantic aesthetic of Büsser’s Appassionato, such as Paul Rougnon’s Concertino Romantique (1897). Romanian-born composer Stan Golestan’s Arioso et Allegro (1933) marks an interesting departure from these other works, as it reflects the new aesthetics of the twentieth century. Arioso et Allegro is dominated by pentatonic scales, which may suggest the influence of indigenous Asian musics – as they do in Debussy’s piano piece Pagodes (1903) – Eastern European folk music, or American jazz, which took France by storm in the 1920s and 30s.




Viennese born violist Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot currently serves as full professor for viola and chamber music at the Université de Montréal


Élise Desjardins, a native of Montreal, Canada, a collaborative pianist, is Puchhammer’s longtime duo partner


Fanfare says of the duo “the viola shines with as much fire as a passionate violin, cries with as much desperation as the soulful cello, entices, seduces, and convinces the listener that no string instrument could be more versatile or beautiful”


This large collection of pieces includes 18 of the original 27 written from 1896-1938 for the “Concours” or final examinations for viola students held at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, and reflects specifically French and broader European trends in Classical music


The existence of these pieces, and Puchhammer’s excellent performance of them, makes toward the strength and depth of the viola’s repertoire





All tracks recorded on November 29, 2015; December 6-7, 2015; January 10 & 17, 2016; and June 6-8, 2016 at Salle Claude Champagne, Faculty of Music at the Université de Montréal in Montréal, Québec, Canada


Session Producer & Recording Engineer Anne-Marie Sylvestre

Editing, Mixing & Mastering Anne-Marie Sylvestre


Cover illustration Étienne Sédillot

Cover painting Jean Béraud


Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Brandon MacNeil

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Production Engineer Lucas Paquette

Art & Production Director Brett Picknell

Graphic Designer Emily Roulo, Ryan Harrison

Marketing Mike Mahn



















Release Date: November 18, 2016

Catalog #: NV6065




Disc 1


Henri Büsser  (1872-1973)

1 Appassionato op. 34 (1910, 1915, 1923)


Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941)

2 Ballade (1938, 1966)


Paul Rougnon (1846-1934)

3 Concertino romantique op. 138 (1897)


Hans Sitt (1850-1922)

4 Concertino op. 46 (1899)


Léon Honnoré  (1868- 1930)

5 Morceau de concert op. 23

(1904, 1911, 1922)


Léon Firket (1874-1934)

6 Concertino (1896, 1903)


Eugène Cools  (1877-1936)

7 Poème op. 74 (1909, 1918, 1948)


George Enescu  (1881-1955)

8 Concertstück (1908, 1913, 1920, 1927)


Gabriel Grovlez (1879-1944)

9 Romance, Scherzo et Finale (1932)


Disc 2


Stan Golestan (1875-1956)

1 Arioso et Allegro de Concert

(1933, 1939, 1969)


Georges  Hüe (1858-1948)

2 Thème varié (1919, 1924)


Paul Rougnon (1846-1934)

3 Fantaisie de concert (1902)


Hélène Fleury-Roy (1876-1957)

4 Fantaisie de concert op. 18 (1906)


Heinrich Arends (1855-1924)

5 Concertino op. 7

(1898, 1901, 1907, 1919, 1926)


Henri  Marteau (1874-1934)

6 Chaconne op. 8 (1905)


Réné Jullien (1878-1970)

7 Concertstück op. 19 (1912, 1921)


Charles-Edouard  LefEbvre (1843-1917)

8 Caprice op. 106 bis (1900, 1914)


Paul Rougnon (1846-1934)

9 Allegro appassionato (1916)


The years following the track titles indicate

the years when used as Pièce de Concours






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