Few would argue that the international competition circuit has significantly raised the level of piano-playing worldwide. Yet the high stakes of these musical Olympiads can generate media coverage closer to avid partisanship than cool-headed reporting. Some of the more memorable competitions owe their notoriety to an outlier contestant who captivated the public and press but failed to win support of the jury. Think of Youri Egorov at the 1977 Cliburn or Ivo Pogorelich at the 1980 Chopin. Last summer something similar happened at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, when media attention focused less on Dmitry Masleev, the gold medalist, than on the fourth-place winner, Lucas Debargue. Sony's release of Debargue's debut recording, recorded live last November at the Salle Cortot in Paris, now provides the opportunity for a calmer assessment.
The recital's centrepiece is Gaspard de la nuit in a remarkable reading that exudes drama, colour and atmosphere. Pacing in "Ondine" is apt, building to the nymph's feigned tears and bitter laughter as she disappears into the lake. The sheer desolation conjured in "Le gibet" is all the more palpable for its understatement, the barely audible but incessant bell suggesting incipient madness. Debargue deploys his pianistic arsenal with relative abandon in the mercurial "Scarbo", but it is the cohesion of the triptych that is most striking.
Debargue lavishes great care on the intricate polyphony of Chopin's F minor Ballade, enveloping the piece with a searchingly poetic quality that is quite appealing. Despite his seductively beautiful sound, one is occasionally brought up short by the odd interpretative choice. I'd be willing to put money on the probability that Chopin didn't intend the left-hand trills at 6'00" to signal transition into a mincing menuet l'antique. Fortunately such details are rare enough, at least in the Ballade, not to mar the overall impression.
The Mephisto Waltz, that piece of Liszt perhaps most deserving of two decades' quiet sabbatical, is also colourful, with vivid contrasts and admirable clarity. However, an almost measure-by-measure overlay of Chopinesque rubato, risky in Liszt, impairs structural integrity and impedes narrative thrust. The exaggerated, accelerating returns to the dance at 8'25" and 12'08" sound contrived, while the counterintuitive coda comes off as glib. Two cosseted miniatures, Grieg's Melody, Op.47 No.3, and Schubert's third Moment musical seem freighted with emotional cargo beyond their formal capacities. The Scarlatti group, distant from contemporary consensus about Iberian Baroque style, fails to make much of an impression.
Obviously Lucas Debargue is an intelligent, gifted, imaginative young musician, whose special sense of expressive urgency bodes well for the future. When he indulges a tendency of ferreting out minor details to foreground, his interpretations can sound mannered and arch. That said, his continued growth and achievement will be things to watch. Meanwhile, it’s tempting to quote one of Laurie Anderson's admonishing lyrics: "Just talk normal".
Source: Patrick Rucker (gramophone.co.uk)
Το 2015 ο Γάλλος πιανίστας Lucas Debargue υπήρξε ο πιο πολυσυζητημένος καλλιτέχνης του 15ου Διεθνούς Διαγωνισμού Τσαϊκόφσκι στη Μόσχα. Παρόλο που έλαβε την τέταρτη θέση, εντυπωσίασε ιδιαίτερα τόσο τους κριτικούς όσο και το κοινό. Κέρδισε, μάλιστα, το πολυπόθητο Βραβείο των Κριτικών Μουσικής της Μόσχας. Λίγο μετά τον διαγωνισμό, ο Debargue υπέγραψε συμβόλαιο με τη Sony Classical, από την οποία πολύ σύντομα κυκλοφόρησε και την πρώτη δισκογραφική του δουλειά, με έργα των Ντομένικο Σκαρλάτι, Φρεντερίκ Σοπέν, Φραντς Λιστ, Μωρίς Ραβέλ, Έντβαρντ Γκρηγκ και Φραντς Σούμπερτ.
Ο Lucas Debargue γεννήθηκε το 1990 από γονείς που δεν είχαν σχέση με τη μουσική. Το 1999 εγκαταστάθηκε στην Κομπιέν, περίπου 90 χιλιόμετρα βόρεια του Παρισιού, όπου στην ηλικία των έντεκα άρχισε να σπουδάζει πιάνο στο τοπικό μουσικό σχολείο. Είναι εντυπωσιακό ότι ο Debargue ξεκίνησε την πρακτική του άσκηση στο πιάνο στην ηλικία των είκοσι.
LUCAS DEBARGUE plays SCARLATTI, CHOPIN, LISZT, RAVEL, GRIEG & SCHUBERT
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
1. Sonata in A major, K.208, L.238
2. Sonata in A major, K.24, L.495
3. Sonata in C major, K.132, L.457
4. Sonata in D minor, K.141, L.422
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
5. Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52
Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
6. Mephisto Waltz No.1, S.514 "The Dance in the Village Inn"
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
7. Gaspard de la nuit, M.55 i. Ondine
8. Gaspard de la nuit, M.55 ii. Le Gibet
9. Gaspard de la nuit, M.55 iii. Scarbo
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
10. Lyric Pieces, Op.47 (Book III) 3. Melody
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
11. Moments musicaux, D.780, Op.94 No.3 in F minor
12. Variation I on Sonata in A major K.208, L.238
Lucas Debargue, piano
Sony Classical 2016
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Despite being placed 4th, his muscular and intellectual playing, combined with an intensely poetic and lyrical gift for phrasing, earned him the coveted Moscow Music Critics' Award as "the pianist whose incredible gift, artistic vision and creative freedom have impressed the critics as well as the audience". He was the only musician across all disciplines to do so. Soon after the competition Debargue was signed by Sony Classical, and recorded a live recital for his debut release with music by Ravel, Liszt, Chopin and Scarlatti in his native city of Paris.
Debargue was born in 1990 in a non-musical family. In 1999 he settled in Compiègne, about 90km north of Paris and began his initial piano studies at the local music school at the age of 11.
At 15 Debargue ceased piano studies having found no musical mentor to help him share his passion with others and having become frustrated at playing solely for himself. He began to work, successfully for his Baccalaureate at a local college and joined a rock band. At 17 he relocated to the capital to study for a degree in Arts and Literature at Paris Diderot University and, remarkably, ceased playing the piano altogether for three years.
In 2010 he was asked to play at the Fête de la Musique festival in Compiègne, and this marked his return to the keyboard. Shortly after he was put in touch with his current mentor and guide, the celebrated Russian professor Rena Shereshevskaya, who is based at both the Rueil-Malmaison Conservatory and the École Normale de Musique de Paris "Alfred Cortot". Seeing in Debargue a future as a great interpreter, Professor Shereshevskaya admitted him into her class at the Cortot School to prepare him for grand international competitions. It was at the age of 20 when Debargue started formal piano training.
Only four years later he entered the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015, and the world instantly took note of a startling and original new talent. "There hasn't been a foreign pianist who has caused such a stir since Glenn Gould's arrival in Moscow, or Van Cliburn's victory at the Tchaikovsky Competition", said The Huffington Post.
A performer of fierce integrity and dazzling communicative power, Debargue draws inspiration for his playing from many disciplines, including literature, painting, cinema and jazz. The core piano repertoire is central to his career, but he is also keen to present works by lesser-known composers such as Nikolai Medtner, Samuel Maykapar and Nikolai Roslavets.
Lucas Debargue – All the posts
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