Friday, July 08, 2011

MÉZIN Evening concert


As I’ve noted before, it’s festival time in France, and everywhere you turn there are different musically-themed events large and small.

My friend Peter in Condom, has A visiting from London and allowed me to tag along with them to a free classical concert in the church at nearby Mézin. The Academie des Jeune Soloistes, provides a venue for young concert artists to present to hone their skills with visiting professors and perform before a real audience. Tonight’s program featured a pianist, cellist and two violinists in the works listed above, none of which I had any familiarity with.

Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Mezin

The most appealing work to me was the Kabalevsky Cello Concerto, but the most accomplished performer was the pianist Célia Oneto Bensaïd who presented a program of three solo works and then returned as “orchestral”accompanist for the Kabalevsky.

Although I play a lot of piano works, I have some blank spots with Liszt, Schumann and Stravinsky.  This year is the 200th anniversary of Liszt’s birth so there’s a lot of him being programmed.  His Fantasy and Fugue on the theme B.A.C.H.  was originally an organ work, transcribed by the composer for piano. Using the letters B A C H as a musical motif is extremely commonplace. The highly reverberant acoustic of the chapel made the piano transcription very organ-like at times.

After the concert, Peter produced an elegant late supper of ratatouille, foies gras and pork pie, all his own creations per usual. A fitting ending to my first year in France.

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