Photo: Lionel Andrey / Flore Merlin PR
Pianist Flore Merlin and clarinetist Lionel Andrey are moving effortlessly between different styles and worlds. Old and New World, France and America, Jazz and Classic: between these poles, the two musicians perform their exciting re-pertoire and take their listeners on a unique discovery tour.
At first sight, the two parts of this recording don’t seem to have much in common: French composers meet their American colleagues, the European academic tradition meets American coolness, and classical forms are contrasted with jazzy expres-sions. This promises to be an exciting encounter put together by the young Duo Arto, because both worlds actually have more in common than is commonly thought. Take Charles-Marie Widor, for example. As a delegate of the academic French tradition and well-known for his Romantic organ symphonies, he is presented here with his brilliant “Introduction et Rondo“ in direct contrast to Claude Debussy’s “Première Rhapsodie“ with its impressionistic, classical themes and rhythms. A bridge between the Old World and the New is the sonata by Francis Poulenc, where academic tradition and provocative innovations are connected through Poulenc’s tongue-in-cheek humor. This work had its premiere performance with no other than Leonard Bernstein and Benny Goodman in New York. Classical form, but modern content can be found in Bernstein’s sonata. Here, musical craftsmanship is combined with a good dose of humor, virtuosity and jazzy rhythms. New York-based com-poser Daniel Schnyder is originally from Switzerland. He was inspired equally by European and American traditions. Of the latter, the rapturing pieces by Alec Templeton are exemplary. This CD concludes with a work by Frenchman Fabien Touchard. It is “a piece which brings together all pieces,“ says Flore Merlin. Touchard has composed “something very airy, a subtle and light poem of a piece, with many French colors“ and jazzy rhythms.
Pianist Flore Merlin and clarinetist Lionely Andrey have been making music together for several years. During the recording process and related decisions, they were supported by Frerik de Jong, producer and label owner at 7MNTN. Lionely Andrey began his studies at the Zurich Hochschule der Künste in the class of Fabio di Càsola, and is continuing his edu-cation at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with Harri Mäki. He also studies with François Benda at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel. He is a thought-after clarinetist, especially in the field of chamber music. He regularly performs at various festivals and concert series, among others at Lucerne Festival, Davos Festival, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, at the Schuberiade d’Espace 2, the Swiss Chamber Music Festival in Adelboden, Festival Label Suisse and abroad. With his trio Eclipse, he has won awards at renown competitions like the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2017 and the Migros Chamber Music Competitions in Zurich in 2019. He regulalry performs with famous orchestras in Switzerland like the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Camerata Bern, symphony orchestra Basel, and Gstaad Festival Orchestra. Lionely Andrey has received stipends from the Friedl Wald Stiftung (2014) and from Migros Kulturproduzent (2015 and 2016).
As a passionate chamber musician, Flore Merlin is a member of Nuori Trio, the Duo Arto with clarinetist Lionel Andrey, and a cello-piano-duo with Raphaël Jouan. She is also the pianist of the Damask vocal quartet and is a regular collaborator of various ensembles and renown musicians. Her lively interest in questions of notation and musical interpretation has let her to also study fortepiano and cembalo, especially with Tuija Hakkila, Bart van Oort, Malcolm
Bilson and Françoise Marmin. She has graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (Diplôme de Formation Supérieure de piano, 2010; Master d’accompagne-ment vocal, 2015; Master de direction de chant, 2016), from the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel (Bachelor de pianoforte, 2013) and the Sibelius-Akademie in Helsinki (Master de piano, 2014). Among her most significant teachers are Tuija Hakkila, Anne Le Bozec, Emmanuel Olivier, Erika Guiomar, Hortense Cartier-Bresson, Theodor Paraskivesco, Jean-Claude Pennetier, Alain Planès and Raphaël Wallfisch. She has worked with conductors such as David Reiland, Philippe Herreweghe, Michel Piquemal, Christoph Eschenbach, Yutaka Sado, Julien Chauvin, and Emmanuel Olivier. Flore Merlin also had an eight-year long singing career with the vocal ensemble Berga-masque, played bassoon for ten years, and violin and bugle for four years.