And what hands! Those of great musicians, astounding chamber players. The 2 partners had chosen a Schubert programme with pieces by Philippe Hersant for the contemporary part, and switched roles depending on the works.
First work, the Sonata D. 617 and its sublime Andante con moto ideally served, which was followed by the Allegro “Lebensstürme”, again a beautiful success.
Another very successful concert at the Philharmonie de Paris from September 2016, was Robert Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust, performed by the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Daniel Harding, the Orchestre de Paris Choir & the Orchestre de Paris Children Choir and an array of leading singers: Franz-Josef Selig (bass), Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Hanna-Elisabeth Müller (soprano), Mari Eriksmoen (soprano), Bernarda Fink (mezzo), Andrew Staples (tenor) and Tareq Nazmi (bass).
Chick Corea, one of jazz major pianists who turned 75 last June, was celebrating/celebrated in Paris Philharmonie with several concerts. I chose to attend the Chick Corea Trio featuring Avishai Cohen on double-bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums – the grandson of the legendary Roy Haynes (Haynes who played with Corea and Miroslav Vitouš in a fabulous Trio).
Corea is as brisk and smiling as ever (a certain Keith J. should learn from him on this point!), and clearly enjoys being there ; Cohen, who has regularly worked with Corea is always stunning to look at ; Gilmore is not outdone by his partners (Blood will tell!).
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 season started early with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin playing a series of concerts around Bruckner and Mozart in the Philharmonie de Paris.
On Sep. 2nd, they played Mozart 24th Piano Concerto (what a wonderful and pure Larghetto!) and Bruckner 4th Symphony, nicknamed “Romantic“. Remarkable interpretation, and an outstanding Andante!
On Sep. 8th they were back for Mozart 26th Piano Concerto (the high point being again the Larghetto) and Bruckner 6th Symphony. Another splendid slow movement, Adagio, and a brilliant Finale.
Sir Neville Marriner, one of the most remarkable conductors of the last half century, was conducting Mozart’s superb 39th Symphony (with its wonderful Andante con moto) and his Violin Concerto No. 3 – the young and talented Alina Pogostkina being the soloist, who offered Bach’s Partita No. 3 Gavotte en rondeau as an encore – and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in a matinee concert.
A couple of days later, the not less remarkable Herbert Blomstedt, the great pianist András Schiff and the Gewandhaus Leipzig played an almost all Beethoven evening: what a fabulous 7th Symphony, what an Emperor Concerto (an Adagio for the ages!), what splendid Overtures (Leonore II) and encores: another Overture, Egmont, and a sublime Schubert Impromptu, No. 3 D. 899.
A huge thank you to these 3 great masters!