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RACHMANINOV // Six Moments musicaux – MOUSSORGSKI // Pictures at an Exhibition

Jean-Philippe Collard,

Jean-Philippe Collard has always loved Rachmaninov for the immediacy of his music. It is close to the heart, with an incredibly naturalness about it. This is probably because Rachmaninoff himself wanted to confide in his instrument: he spoke with his heart and his heart remained on the keyboard.

15,00 

Estimated delivery by 14/04/2021

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Description

Legend has drawn a terrifying portrait of Mussorgsky, a kind of ogre if we look at the portrait that Repin painted of him in 1881! In Western imagery, he represents all by himself the myth of the Russian artist of genius who is also illiterate and alcoholic. The reality is quite different, as is proved by such inspired masterpieces as Night on the Bare Mountain, Boris Godunov, Khovanshchina and Pictures from an Exhibition.

For any pianist, interpreting Pictures at an Exhibition is a double challenge. The first is certainly technical, but this is not the more important. By contrast, conveying the variety of atmospheres is extremely tricky. Are these the successive scenes of an ‘opera without words’? The slightest difference in inspiration between the pictures, the slightest hint of illogical construction can annihilate the dramatic progression of the whole.

Jean-Philippe Collard’s version stands out for its fluidity and wonderful naturalness. He constantly renews his touch, thinking of Pictures from an Exhibition first and foremost . . . in its orchestral dimension.
The artist never tries to do too much, painting each picture with imagination but sobriety, always taking care over balance. Thanks to this sense of narration, Baba Yaga and The Great Gate of Kiev hit the interpretative bull’s-eye. His overflowing energy recalls a certain Horowitz, with whom Jean-Philippe Collard forged a close friendship in those crucial years when artistic maturity is moulded.

Composed in 1896, the six Moments musicaux bear witness to Rachmaninoff’s melodic genius. In these pieces, he pays homage to several composers of the Romantic era, including Franz Schubert who himself wrote a set of Moments musicaux. Slavic melodies, hectic rhythms, meditations or reminders of the power of the symphony orchestra mingle in these pieces by the Russian composer, which evoke impressions rather than places or characters.

Sergey RACHMANINOFF – Six Moments musicaux, op.16

 

  • No.1 in B flat minor – Andantino 7’03
  • No.2 in E flat minor – Allegretto 3’20
  • No.3 in B minor – Andante cantabile 5’18
  • No.4 in E minor – Presto 3’16
  • No.5 in D flat minor – Adagio sostenuto 4’50
  • No.6 in C major – Maestoso 5’36

 

Modest MUSSORGSKY – Pictures at an Exhibition

 

  • Promenade – Allegro giusto, nel modo russico, senza allegrezza, ma poco sostenuto 1’34
  • Gnomus – Sempre vivo 2’35
  • Promenade – Moderato comodo assai e con delicatezza 0’53
  • Il vecchio castello – Andante molto cantabile e con dolore 4’29
  • Promenade – Moderato non tanto, pesamente 0’29
  • Tuileries Garden – Allegretto non troppo, capriccioso 1’01
  • Bydlo – Sempre moderato, pesante 2’21
  • Promenade – Tranquillo 0’47
  • Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks – Scherzino 1’20
  • ‘Samuel’ Goldenberg and ‘Schmüyle’ – Andante. Grave – energico 2’48
  • Promenade – Allegro giusto, nel modo russico, poco sostenuto 1’38
  • The Marketplace at Limoges – Allegretto vivo, sempre scherzando 1’31
  • Catacombae (Sepulcrum romanum) – Largo 2’05
  • Cum mortuis in lingua mortua – Andante non troppo, con lamento 2’20
  • The Hut on Fowls’ Legs (Baba-Yaga) – Allegro con brio, feroce 3’50
  • The Great Gate of Kiev – Allegro alla breve. Maestoso. Con grandezza 6’10

 

« THE GIFT FOR SHAPING RACHMANINOV’S LABYRINTHINE LINES TO THREE-DIMENSIONAL EFFECT WHILE, AT THE SAME TIME, BRINGING AN INCISIVE EDGE TO RAPID PASSAGEWORK THAT CASTS THE THICK TEXTURES IN A GAUNT, ACERBIC LIGHT » - GRAMOPHONE

Collard shares with his erstwhile associate Vladimir Horowitz the gift for shaping Rachmaninov’s labyrinthine lines to three-dimensional effect while, at the same time, bringing an incisive edge to rapid passagework that casts the thick textures in a gaunt, acerbic light … Collard plays the final two movements [Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition] full-out, giving in to Viktor Hartmann’s powerful imagery through fulfillingly sonorous means.

At the heart of colour

 

Jean-Philippe Collard belongs to that category of artists who move through space in the same way as they play: the measured gestures brush past the lights until he sits down in front of the instrument. The pianist has come to listen to those who have come to hear him. What he proposes is a dialogue without words. Just through the eyes and then through sound. An infinity of sounds.

This very special complicity conceals all the preparatory work that comes before the concert: the need to forget one’s nervousness (how long afternoons are before going on stage!), to dominate an impatient body, to channel one’s courage, the self-control of the final moments before the leap into the void, it all depends. It is necessary, he says, ‘to be sucked into the music, to be calm enough to find your way back to spontaneity, and to captivate the audience’. The urge to convey and reveal the beauty of music exceeds the nature of a mere passion: it is a matter of vital necessity, for which one must resolve to share one’s own emotions, without the desire to conquer those of others in return. An offering, now of immense proportions after hundreds of concerts and more than sixty recordings.

‘You have to strike straight at the heart and not over-intellectualise works you’ve frequented for years’, he says. Those works constitute a fabulous harvest, the fruits of Romanticism, from Chopin and Schumann right up to Rachmaninoff, made still more beautiful by two centuries of French music.

All Jean-Philippe Collard’s sound worlds are impregnated with colour: the ‘sensation produced on the organ of sight by light variously reflected by bodies’, says the Littré dictionary, with an epicurean perception unusual in such a volume yet intensely familiar to a pianist who, precisely, declares that he is ‘hungry for colours’. But not just any colours. A gourmet of pigments, the artist knows what nuance means in every context, when sonic landscapes with a measured temperament resonate in the iridescence of arpeggios and the long finish of chords. When he recalls his apprenticeship with Pierre Sancan, his friendship with Vladimir Horowitz and his encounters all over the world with the elite of conductors and the foremost orchestras, Jean-Philippe Collard knows that he can tell the public everything. So he has paid tribute to the gods of colour, his composers.

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