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The piano comes back to life in La Roque-d'Anthéron


The International Piano Festival opened under the best auspices this weekend, between revelations and confirmations.

Special envoy to La Roque-d'Anthéron (Bouches-du-Rhône)

He guesses himself behind the mask.

And, even so, nice to see.

This smile is that of René Martin.

At the opening of the 41st La Roque-d'Anthéron International Piano Festival, the director still can't believe it.

"The music is restarting," he

repeats enthusiastically among the volunteers, brandishing the photos of the stands taken on the fly on his phone.

In spite of the distance that the event held to keep (an empty chair between each listener or group of listeners), the public offers a pleasurable sensation of plenitude.

What a contrast to last summer!

The only large-scale classical festival to be maintained in 2020, La Roque-d'Anthéron had only been able to welcome, on its best evenings, only a third of its outdoor capacity ... That is to say 700 spectators.

This July 23, 2021, there are almost double the number in the queue that stretches endlessly along Avenue Paul-Onoratini, patiently awaiting the control of their health pass at the entrance.

The establishment of this one will not have dissuaded.

Neither causes La Roque-d'Anthéron to lose its DNA.

That of a keyboard Mecca, where you come with friends or family to be picked up by the best representatives of the world piano.

Young or old, they will be 80 to share this year the poster of the 76 concerts planned.

Read also:

The beautiful ambitions of La Roque-d'Anthéron

At 36, Ukrainian prodigy Vadym Kholodenko still belongs to the first category.

His sensitivity and his style rank him among the most fascinating personalities of the young Russian piano school: a school to which this native of Kiev, a pupil of Vera Gornostaeva, unashamedly claims his membership.

But unlike a Boris Berezovsky, a Grigory Sokolov or an Arcadi Volodos - also on the program for this edition with very Russian colors, Kholodenko is not yet an artist very familiar with French scenes.

Lars Vogt conducted the orchestra with a mixture of roundness, Germanic depth and galvanizing precision

We can therefore only salute the audacity of René Martin, who did not hesitate to call on him to replace Nicholas Angelich at short notice (withdrawn for health reasons a week ago) for this opening concert. .

A doubly daring bet, since the program remained unchanged: the famous

Concerto n ° 5

by Beethoven, known as “The Emperor”, alongside the Paris Chamber Orchestra.

An unexpected repertoire for Kholodenko, which we know more about on records from Prokofiev, Scriabin or Tchaikovsky, and in which he knew he was expected around the corner.

The Orchester de chambre de Paris has in the person of its conductor Lars Vogt (himself a pianist) an outstanding Beethovenian, having even, in recent years, recorded all of the concertos of the master of Bonn with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, that he was directing the keyboard!

Read also:

La Roque-d'Anthéron, nursery for young pianists

Kholodenko was not unworthy.

His phrasing, remarkable lyricism and imagination;

its singing lines where the sound sometimes seems to stretch to infinity under the effect of a very expressive pedal;

the dynamic palette of his playing, in which a particularly sonorous left hand responds to each other and nuances of great refinement - like these


melted into the horn pedal at the end of the adagio, where the pianist seems to fade away completely before being reborn in the spectacular explosion of joy that opens the final allegro… So many singular and fascinating details that irresistibly attract the ear , despite a start in tight conditions which gave the orchestra a few cold sweats, forced to re-tune at the end of the first movement (the artist would have preferred to one of the ten pianos of La Roque-d ' Anthéron un Fazioli, brand with which he is under contract, arrived from Italy forty-eight hours before the concert and which had not had time to sufficiently adapt to the humidity and temperature conditions of the place).

Roundness, depth and precision

Not enough, however, to make Lars Vogt lose his smile, who conducted the orchestra with a mixture of roundness, Germanic depth and galvanizing precision. Even sounding the bassoon or timpani solos of the third movement of

Symphonien ° 5

(offered in the second part) as rarely heard. And to offer the public, as an encore, a real "One Lars Show" in a finale

of Prokofiev's

Symphony No. 1

full of playfulness, mimicry and winks (Kholodenko chose as an encore, an equally witty song:


Polka by WR


In short, this was an opening full of promise, which was to continue the next morning with Philippe Bianconi, another Van Cliburn Prize.

The 1985 laureate confronted like a true piano poet




“perhaps his most imaginative works”

) with six studies by Debussy, between strangeness, tenderness, religiosity and ruptures.

Fascinating journey in Saturnia, made even more striking by a game full of fluidity and refinement.

The International Piano Festival lasts until August 18.

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2021-07-25

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