The French pianist Philippe Bianconi is a regular guest at Bagatelle. After many years mainly spent in the USA, he has been more and more active in France, which is a chance for us! He is at home both in the French and Austrian/German repertoires and also enjoys playing some contemporary music. His Debussy and Ravel are as good as can be, his Schumann too, and one must remember that the great Hermann Prey chose the then 25 year old Bianconi to record the 3 Schubert lieder cycle with him.
Regarding today composers, I remember a fascinating moment at the “Les Solistes aux Serres d’Auteuil” festival – which are now a thing of the past due to the greediness of today’s world and the scandalous extension of the Roland-Garros stadium in these unique gardens – when he played Martin Matalon’s pieces.
The concert at Bagatelle allowed the public to enjoy all these different aspects despite the alarm setting off and interrupting the concert twice… Bianconi impressively managed to remain focused!
First was Schumann with his Carnaval whose final movement was brutally stopped by the siren… Just listen to the version he has recorded on his latest CD if you want to have an idea of the qualities displayed by the French pianist in this music.
Then was a piece by Alain Louvier, who in introduction gave some keys to his work, La dormeuse et les oiseaux de nuit.
The programme was ending with wonderful excerpts from Ravel’s Miroirs: Oiseaux tristes, Une barque sur l’océan, Alborada del Gracioso. Oiseaux Tristes was simply outstanding!
Always being generous, Philippe Bianconi gave 2 encores: a fantastic La danse de Puck by Debussy and one of Schumann’s Davidbündlertänze.