Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Impromptu nocturnal outing for Chopin

Eglise Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (Chopin concert)

On my first visit to Paris in 2002 I went to a Chopin recital at the Eglise Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, an old church just behind Shakespeare & Co books, and in sight of Notre Dame cathedral. Several pianists give regular recitals there, and having thoroughly enjoyed Herbert de Plessis' 2002 concert, I was keen to sample some more. It was a 20 minute brisk walk across the Seine and past Notre Dame to the church, and I was just going to wing getting a ticket at the door. It's a small venue, but I doubted there would be a huge turn-out.

DSC04373I skipped getting a program as the ticket-seller didn't have change of 20€ and I decided I'd rather try to identify the pieces as they were played. Sadly, tonight's performer Jean-Christoph Millot proved somewhat of a disappointment with a too-quiet left-hand, rushed timings and general lack of projection. His hand-technique reminded me of that of my last teacher, Randall Jackson, but Millot seemed to completely lack Randy's sonority. After a first half of Op.64 waltzes, some impromptus (including the Fantasy-Impromptu) and the Andante Spianato, I decided that I didn't want to hear the second half's Ballades similarly treated, so left during the entr'acte.

Tant pis! Still these days it's rare to hear Chopin's smaller works presented in venues other than small churches and community halls, and any chance to hear them live is most welcome. There's so much core repertoire I only know through recordings or my own faltering attempts to interpret them.


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