Staying in Paris this week for a concert featuring the legendary and much-talked-about Jean-Yves Thibaudet with Semyon Bychkov leading Orchestre National de France in a program of music by Aram Khachaturian, Shura Cherkassy and Tchaikovsky. It was recorded at the Auditorium of the Maison de la Radio, Paris on December 15th of last year by Radio France Musique.
Jean-Yves Thibaudet probably needs no introduction, he’s pretty much a household name with people who love music. He is hailed by both press and audiences as one of the greatest pianists of his generation. And you can add versatile along with it, since his recent series of recordings of the music of Jazz giant Bill Evans further prove his ability to stretch into other genres with relative ease.
It’s often been said that Jazz musicians can play Classical music with ease, but Classical Musicians, for the most part, don’t return the favor. Why? A lot of opinions and theories – one which I tend to lean towards (although I am frequently wrong) is the level of freedom afforded, once the basics are taken care of. Jazz by its nature is improvisational – interpretations of the same piece can run the gamut, but they’re all the same piece. Classical music doesn’t afford any improvisation (unless it’s specified) – it affords interpretation based on set parameters, based on the notes and tempo as written – the freedom is gotten from interpreting the notes in a strictly defined atmosphere; the Score. That said, you have Beethoven and Mozart Piano Concertos which afford a degree of improvisation based on Cadenzas within movements – but there again too, you have a set structure and length of time to make all your moves.
So, when someone like Jean-Yves Thibaudet comes along and takes a crack at Bill Evans, it’s noteworthy. The only other Classical Pianist that comes immediately to mind is Frederich Gulda in the 1950s, who recorded a Jazz album, live at Birdland for RCA-Victor. I am sure there are others, but that one sticks out because I really liked Gulda and was interested in hearing anything he did.
So for this week’s concert – here’s the rundown:
Concert given on December 15, 2016 at 8 pm at the Auditorium of the Maison de la Radio in Paris
1. Aram Khatchatourian
Concerto for piano in D flat major, op. 38
1. Allegro ma non troppo e maestoso
2. Andante con anima
3. Allegro brillante
Jean-Yves Thibaudet : Performer, Piano
Orchester National de France : Orchestra
Semyon Bychkov : Conductor
2. Shura Cherkassky (1909 – 1995)
Prélude patétique (1920)
Jean-Yves Thibaudet: Performer, Piano
3. Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Manfred, symphony in four movements, in B minor, op. 58,
on a program written by Balakirev from Byron’s poem.
1. Lento lugubre – Moderato con moto
2. Vivace con spirito
3. Andante con moto
4. Allegro con fuoco
Orchestre National de France : Orchestra
Semyon Bychkov : Conductor
A good all-around concert this week, heavy on the Russian side but nicely executed by all concerned.