Guy Ropartz (1864–1955) was one of the unsung heroes of French music, often conducting the music of his contemporaries with his orchestra in Nancy. But Ropartz was
a Breton, and his own music is impregnated with echoes of Breton folksong, which combines with the dignified manner inherited from his teacher, César Franck, and the delicate shades of Debussyan
Impressionism, to create an atmospheric and attractive style, instantly recognisable as French.
Although the strength and unifying features of his chamber music recall the influence of Franck, the two major suites on this disc capture coloristic expressive
sensibility. Dans l'ombre de la Montagne is in the quasi narrative style of Vincent d'Indy's comparable Poeme des Montagne (recorded on Stephanie McCallum's CD Perfume) and Promenades by Ropartz' good friend Magnard (also recorded by Stephanie McCallum along with Alkan's Symphony for
Solo Piano). The Choral Varié recalls the style of Franck's Organ Chorales while the two final tracks, from Ropartz' early years, evoke the café style of la Belle Époque.