It’s a real pleasure to see a performer well known to the public for his forays into Bach, Chopin or Schubert (among other “classical” composers, to say the least) slip into contemporary music, all too happy to take advantage of the publicity that comes with notoriety. If we add to the pianist’s list the names of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and Mathieu Lussier, of Les Violons du Roy, we should already be attracting a lot of interest at home. And then, the cherry on top: these three works are good! Left, Alone (2019), by Hans Abrahamsen, is a very successful concerto, recorded in 2016 in Rotterdam. The listener might be surprised, when reading the program notes, to discover that in this lively dialogue between the orchestra and the piano, the latter is touched only by the pianist’s left hand! In Kuleshov, the composer Oscar Strasnoy plays on contrasts and repetitions, inspired by the Kuleshov effect, an editing technique in cinema. Les Violons du Roy sound here as we have never heard them before. The Frankfurt Radio Symphony, conducted by Tito Ceccherini, accompanies the pianist in the music of Gérard Pesson, inspired by Mauricio Kagel, who could certainly have asked the pianist to play on the closed lid of the piano, as he does here at the end of Future Is a Faded Song. The three concertos were written especially for Tharaud and it was an excellent idea to bring them together. The pianist, whose immense talent was already known, comes out of it elevated, and it’s a delight to imagine that he will undoubtedly introducing modern music to those sorrowful spirits who thought it dead since 1750.
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