operatic paraphrase after Offenbach and Chopin

In 2009 I performed Chopin’s Preludes at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. A composer resident there at the time suggested that I might enjoy exploring Seven Preludes Revisited, a piece based on Chopin by an American composer friend of his, Mark Saya (born 1954). He was quite right, I did enjoy it, as have the audiences I’ve since performed it for—it is clever, serious, lyrical, touching and boppy by turns. I was therefore delighted when the composer sent me a copy of his Barcarolles, which I also took up immediately and played in various places including the ever-inquisitive Husum Festival of Piano Rarities in northern Germany. Barcarolles, subtitled ‘operatic paraphrase’, transcribes Jacques Offenbach’s famous operatic barcarolle Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour (‘Beautiful night, oh night of love’), from Les contes d’Hoffmann. Interlaced with the Offenbach are several elements from Chopin’s Barcarolle in F sharp major Op 60.

Mark Saya studied piano and composition at Indiana University South Bend and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Since 1992 he has taught theory and composition at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Barcarolles was first heard publicly in performances interpolated into John Cage’s Europera V in Los Angeles in 2011. This is its first recording.

from notes by Piers Lane 2013


Piers Lane goes to town
Studio Master: CDA67967Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Track-specific metadata for CDA67967 track 10

Recording date
8 June 2012
Recording venue
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Rachel Smith
Recording engineer
Ben Connellan
Hyperion usage
  1. Piers Lane goes to town (CDA67967)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: September 2013
  2. Hyperion monthly sampler September 2013 (HYP201309)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: September 2013
    Download-only monthly sampler