dimanche 2 octobre 2011

François-René Duchable

I was yesterday at Victoria Hall to hear the "Orchestre de Ribaupierre" play Brahms Piano Concerto, the soloist in the first being the French pianist François-René Duchable.

International readers may not have heard of him but worked with Artur Rubinstein, played Bartok's third Piano Concerto with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic in Salzbourg (I still have the tapes and they are just superb), developed a career then but decided to stop playing in mainstream concert performances in 2003. He actually dropped his piano in a lake ...

He lives near Annecy and performs very rarely at small events. He is recognizable with a trademark red shirt. In fact, I could not believe that I would have a chance to hear him since 2003 and until I saw him on stage was not even sure he was going to be there.

It is difficult to know exactly what prompted him to stop from playing. There are some artists who keep performing probably because they just need it: Gergiev, Barenboim, Domingo, Levine before his health problems ... For others, the act of performing must be a big challenge, physical as well as emotional as well as a deeply unsatisfying one.

Playing with a sympathetic but second-rate orchestra must be a way to relieve from the stress of appearing. Playing rarely must also ensure that routine does not come in. But when he played, it just spoke with eloquence and freshness. Five minutes of Duchable have more content than five hours of Lang Lang ...

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