It’s funny to see how ideas can sometimes evolve quickly and how priorities can be reassessed. About 10 days ago, my next recording project was made public: it’s not a secret anymore that I’ll record in March three Beethoven sonatas as the first volume of my project called Beethoven – Evolutions. Initially, Beethoven should not have been on the menu of this release. Let’s understand here what happened.
I was 9 or 10 y.o. when I played Beethoven: one of the bagatelles opus 126, followed by sonatinas, variations, sonatas… and later the Concerti. [Pause in the writing due to day-dreaming about Beethoven...] In fact, Beethoven surrounded me all my life. But, strangely enough, he is far from being one of the composers I play(ed) the most on stage.
Beethoven and I have a complicated relationship. I love him so much but we both have emotional personalities so we’ve fought a lot and I needed a break from him. Last time I played Beethoven on stage was in Prague in autumn 2007. I played his opus 26. Since then, no Beethoven, apart from the sonatas I played and practiced for myself. Why? Basically, because I knew I needed more time and thinking to be able to clearly understand him and acquire my truly own point of view on the composer. Five years have passed, I had time to read, practice, study, and my Beethoven conception is in a totally different place: solid, structured and personal.
Even if they told me nothing about it, I’m sure that my friends were quite surprised by the program of this next album. Most of the people around me thought I would never play Beethoven again, or at least not this set of sonatas. When I started thinking about my next album (well, right after recording this one) I had several projects in mind, all very different from each other and I barely talked about this Beethoven idea. I knew I reached a very interesting point in my work but was still feeling too vulnerable to criticism to talk about it. The project sounded exciting and challenging at the same time, but I wasn’t so sure I would choose it as my next recording project.
Challenging it has to be, Challenging it is. As clearly stated in my début album Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, I like being challenged, especially in studio. This Beethoven Evolutions project will be no exception: picking 6 of the best known and most recorded sonatas isn’t easy.
So, it has to be different. If I record it, it means I have a different approach, something to add to what has already been done. This was challenging in this case: there are lots of exquisite recordings of Beethoven’s sonatas and there are also a great deal of conservatism when it comes to Beethoven’s works. Coming with something new is at the same time difficult and dangerous. But that makes the thing even more exciting. Apart from interpretation, I might even use some very experimental studio techniques to give the listener a whole new experience of recorded music.
Preparing, recording and editing these two albums sounds like a lot of work. It was, is and will be. But I can’t wait to hit the studio in… 5 months! Alongside the several other major projects planned for 2013 (will talk about this soon!), it seems to be the beginning of an exciting journey!
After his critically acclaimed debut album Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont released in July 2012, pianist Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont presents his next recording project dedicated to six sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven.
This project called Beethoven – Evolutions consists in two albums each one featuring a set of three sonatas aiming to reveal Beethoven’s musical language experiments and evolution.
Dablemont choose here two very particular sets of sonatas. First, the three sonatas opus 27 & 28 considered as Beethoven’s first experiments in the genre and belonging to what is commonly referred to as Beethoven’s second period. In a second volume, the pianist will play the last three piano sonatas op. 109, 110 and 111 symbolizing the last Beethoven, the mature composer and the end of the metamorphosis.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Beethoven broke free from the classical sonata form, and began distorting and expanding it, as well as developing new sonorities for the piano, which has led to his own genuine and idiosyncratic musical language. In his first volume, Dablemont will present the three Sonatas op. 27 and 28 written between 1801 and 1802, especially witnessing of the experimental paths Beethoven took at that time of his life.
1. Sonata op. 27 n°1 – Andante – Allegro – Andante
2. Sonata op. 27 n°1 – Allegro molto e vivace
3. Sonata op. 27 n°1 – Adagio con espressione
4. Sonata op. 27 n°1 – Allegro vivace
5. Sonata op. 27 n°2 “Moonlight” – Adagio sostenuto
6. Sonata op. 27 n°2 “Moonlight” – Allegretto
7. Sonata op. 27 n°2 “Moonlight” – Presto agitato
8. Sonata op. 28 “Pastorale” – Allegro
9. Sonata op. 28 “Pastorale” – Andante
10. Sonata op. 28 “Pastorale” – Scherzo: Allegro Vivace
11. Sonata op. 28 “Pastorale” – Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo
I’m always asked about practice tips for pianists. For months (if not years), I’ve been wondering what to answer to these questions about how I practice a work. In fact, I never really asked myself how I build and think a practice session, what I’m supposed to do and what I’m expecting from it. I spent the last weeks analyzing my practice sessions and I realized these sessions were really codified and the whole process very organized.
After a few weeks, I was able to highlight the main points governing my work. And I noticed 5 principles were really really important to get an efficient practicing session.
I hope you’ll find these practice tips useful. They are fundamental principles, and I’ve been lucky to instinctively and unconsciously stick to most of them since I was little. Try to apply them and feel free to come back here and tell me if these few tips improved your practice session or not!
Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont will record two of Steven Berryman’s solo piano pieces in addition to recording his second album, in March 2013. These pieces will feature on his recital tour throughout 2013, and Steven and Pierre-Arnaud plan to collaborate on further new works in 2014.
Steven Berryman is actually living in London. He is Assistant Director of Music at North London Collegiate School and teaches composition at Junior Academy. Steven’s varied output includes ‘Cypher’ (performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales as part of a Welsh composers’ Showcase), the musical ‘Juniper Dreams’ (for an all girl cast of over fifty) and incidental music for ‘Corpo Lixa Da Alma’ (premiered at Cena Brasil Internacional 2012). Current projects include a work for three bass clarinets (for Harry Spaarnay), a contribution to duo DorT’s ‘Maché’ project and music for Jamie Zubairi’s one man show ‘Unbroken Line’.
See www.steven-berryman.com for further details
Since its release on July, 15th 2012, Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont has been well received by critics and garnered positive reviews. Here are the links of the latest reviews if you missed them.
Gavin Plumley in Entartete Musik
Jean-Yves Duperron for the Classical Music Sentinel
Anthony Kershaw for Audiophilia
William Haviland in his series “Sounds for a Sunday”
Pierre-Arnaud gave also 2 interviews about his album. One about Janacek and Czech Music for Mary Matz and Opus Osm (read it here) and one for Malan Wilkinson and Pianists from the inside about the making of of the album (read it here).
Last April I wrote a post untitled Far Beyond Entertainment, do you remember? I guess I opened the Pandora box with this post. Writing down a story and publishing it is quite different from having an idea at the back of your mind : you can think about it but don’t have to structure, defend nor apply it. When it’s out, you have to make people understand what you meant, stand up for your idea and think how it changes your everyday life.
This month I released my first album, Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont (download it now for free before it’s too late! Go here), I had a lot to do I didn’t really have time about the implications of these sayings and above all the implications of bringing to my consciousness what have been deeply buried for many years. Well, I do have time right now. In fact, I can’t do anything else than think about it. I’m planning projects for the upcoming years and that’s the perfect time for an introspection, based on what I wrote earlier. To be fair, I didn’t expect this post to rock my world, but it did, in a certain way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not down or sad or depressed or anything like that. It’s the opposite: I feel passionate and energized, I feel in the right place at the right time, I’m looking forward to new projects and have exciting ideas.
Of course, this thinking forces me to question the ideas I’m generally defending, develop them, rediscover those I had hidden from my everyday consciousness. If you’ve been following me for a little while, you probably know I’m not basing my interpretations on unverified intuitions. I need to dig and get to the bottom of things to make up my mind about something. As I was saying in 2008 in a post named The Performer, a Researcher?, I strongly believe a performer is a researcher. Each work we begin to practice is like a big question mark towards which we should have a neutral approach, keep an open mind and let the prejudices far behind. By prejudices, you can understand, for example, traditional interpretations. A careful investigation on the subject (the work) should be the only way to answer the question. Sure, there are shortcuts: copying from someone else without understanding the answer (listening to recordings and trying to reproduce the output for example).
But keep in mind that to really perform a piece you have to understand it. You have to get the big picture as well as details, make all that work together to be emotionally and intellectually true.
Let’s make an analogy here: a president is in a foreign country making a life changing speech in his mother tongue. The interpreter, in charge of the translation, is speaking a very similar language, parent of the president’s language but not this particular one, doesn’t know anything about the context, nor the logic behind the speech. Do you really think the translation of this speech will be a life changing speech? I bet it won’t. Use this analogy replacing president by composer, interpreter by pianist, speech by work. You do the maths.
Here comes the point of the whole post, at last! We need time to research and process the information to reach an ethically acceptable interpretation. We need time to properly prepare an interpretation. We can’t just go on stage and see what happens, or improve interpretation on the fly. We have to deliver something which makes sense, something already mature, this is just a question of ethics and respect for the audience. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not advocating for a fixed interpretation not evolving with time, I’m advocating against an immature commonplace interpretation. In today’s music business, we have less and less time to think and we must play more and more works yearly, don’t you see that at some point the situation gets really tensed? Maybe in a couple of weeks you’ll see the “beta” sign appear on concert notes and fliers. It will just mean the same as for a software: low maturity and bugs are to expect.
Quantity has eroded quality. Who has the longest list of spectacular concerti? Who does play every single piece of the repertoire? In fact, it seems to be a race: who can do the highest number of notes per minute? Who can play everything? But is this really what music is about? Is that the reward of being a performer: people clapping because you play fast and loud? I mean are we going to compare our attributes until our death like teenagers?
Quality? Ethics? Respecting the audience? Non-senses. Get her a mini-skirt or invent him a story and we’ll sell this as it is: hype, glamour, sex, money and Rock n’… Classical music.
Maybe we can find there a reason why the general audience of classical music is shrinking: after being taken for fools for years, people finally decided to turn their back on the classical music industry. Isn’t it normal? I would frankly do the same. Music has become obsessed with figures and stats when it should be obsessed by quality and creativity. Remember there’s only one thing which degrades the musical experience: a low quality performance. And I am a performer to share with people this special experience, not to show my legs which I’m sure nobody wants to see anyway.
Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, the pianist’s first solo album, has finally been released with innovative ideas to reach new audiences. Both Janácek and Ravel have a particular resonance with Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont and reflect his path in the music world. He therefore naturally chose to feature these two composers in his first album.
Dablemont immediately fell in love with the French composer’s music which was the first step towards his insatiable curiosity for exploring 20th and 21st century repertoire and Leoš Janácek’s music strongly influenced his decision to study in Prague and discover Czech piano school.
The idea of pairing up Janácek and Ravel for a whole program has been following Dablemont for many years. Albeit difficult to put into practice within the framework of a live performance, this idea was perfectly fitting a solo recording project. Ravel and Janácek have always been part of the pianist’s core repertoire and a French-Czech program is perfectly reflecting the influence of cross-cultural diversity on his education and personality.
Through his studies in Prague conservatory Dablemont gained a rewarding insight into Czech music as well as was fortunate to learn the language and discover folk culture. These rare assets for a non-Czech pianist led him to record Janácek, the Czech composer who touches him so deeply that he moved to Czech Republic to better understand his music.
As far as the pianist can recall, Ravel’s music has always been part of his life. Fascinated by the French composer’s orchestral works first, Dablemont first encountered Gaspard de la nuit in his teens and never stopped playing it since then, always with the same pleasure. The legendary triptych is one of his preferred piano works and he couldn’t imagine his first album without Gaspard de la nuit.
Partially crowd-funded, this album will be available for free download on a dedicated website to help the pianist increase public awareness of the richness and variety of classical music and reach a broader audience than the traditionally targeted market. “Record sales are no longer a source of income for a musician, consumers are still paying high prices. A free album was for me the easiest way to encourage more people to listen to these fabulous works and convey my passion for classical music. ” said Dablemont.
To help this model being sustainable and this operation renewed for the next recordings, or simply if you liked the album, you can donate at http://introducing.pierre-arnaud-dablemont.com. For a donation over $30, a limited edition CD numbered, personalized and signed by the artist will be shipped to you as a gift (while supplies last).
Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont is now available for free in CD quality on a dedicated website. Get a download link and watch the teaser videos at http://introducing.pierre-arnaud-dablemont.com.
Pianist Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont’s highly anticipated debut album, Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, will be released on July 15th 2012 with innovative ideas to reach new audiences.
Both Janácek and Ravel have a particular resonance with Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont and reflect his path in the music world. He therefore naturally chose to feature these two composers in his first album.
Dablemont immediately fell in love with the French composer’s music which was the first step towards his insatiable curiosity for exploring 20 th and 21 st century repertoire and Leoš Janácek’s music strongly influenced his decision to study in Prague and discover Czech piano school.
Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont will be available for free in CD quality on a dedicated website July 1 5 th 2012. In the meanwhile, you can register to get a download link as soon as the album is released, and watch the teaser videos at http://introducing.pierre-arnaud-dablemont.com.
With the release of Pierre-Arnaud’s first album coming in less than a month, we decided to mark the occasion and offer a brand new layout for pierre-arnaud-dablemont.com. We are thus retiring the layout version 6.0 after 2 years and a half. The new version is cleaner, brighter with a responsive design and HTML5. It will load faster and adapt to any type of mobile device.
We redesigned the entire website and also add a new item in the menu as well as a new section. The music player is filled with new music too: tracks of Pierre-Arnaud’s upcoming release. Enjoy and Stop by www.pierre-arnaud-dablemont.com to see what’s new!
"A refreshingly brusque approach to both of the Czech works.„
"Dablemont really impresses in the Ravel.„
Gavin Plumley, Entartete Musik
"…Dablemont does such a wonderful job of this, that [...] the instrument fades away and you are bewitched by the music alone….„
"…The future of classical music is obviously in good hands…„
Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel
"…Dablemont as the the talent to hold interest and the potential to grow into an artist of real stature….„
"…both composers are served by excellent performances…„
Anthony Kershaw, Audiophilia
"…Dablemont acquits himself here with deftness, and a subtlety of touch that is delightful to encounter…„
"…The tracks sparkle with emotion, and demonstrate a sensitive, nuanced reading of the composer’s ideas…„
William Haviland, Sounds for a Sunday
Gaspard de la nuit
16. Le gibet
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