They are sisters and pianists and form an intensely close duo which has ignited the world's stages. For this new show, charmingly titled "Love Stories", Katia and Marielle Labèque have chosen to revisit the myth of "Romeo and Juliet" creating a fusion between Leonard Bernstein, hip-hop and breakdancing. Created at the Châtelet, in Paris, "Love Stories" is presented in two parts.
In the first part, Katia and Marielle Labèque present a creation entitled "Star-Cross'd Lovers" with a composition by David Chalmin and original choreography by Yaman Okur, who has worked with Madonna and the Cirque du Soleil. He has invented a "Romeo and Juliet" for six breakdancers and a contemporary soloist, which draws on rock as well as hip-hop, ending in a breakdancing "battle".
In the second part, Katia and Marielle play Bernstein's famous score, arranged for two pianos and percussion by Irwin Kostal. This 17 parts suite (the tubes of "West Side Story") brings to life the scenes of the musical and the film that it was based on, without any artifice other than the talent of the two pianists and their percussionist accomplices, Raphaël Séguinier and Gonzalo Grau.
Στο νέο τους άλμπουμ, με τίτλο "Love Stories", οι διάσημες – βασκικής καταγωγής – Γαλλίδες πιανίστριες, αδελφές Κάτια και Μαριέλ Λαμπέκ, ερμηνεύουν δύο σύγχρονα έργα: το "Star-Cross'd Lovers", για κιθάρες, ηλεκτρονικά και τύμπανα, του Γάλλου συνθέτη και μουσικού David Chalmin, εμπνευσμένο από το έργο «Ρωμαίος και Ιουλιέτα» του Ουίλιαμ Σαίξπηρ, και μέρη από το "West Side Story" του μεγάλου Αμερικανού συνθέτη και μαέστρου Λέοναρντ Μπερνστάιν, σε διασκευή για δύο πιάνα και κρουστά από τον Αμερικανό ενορχηστρωτή μουσικής για τον κινηματογράφο αλλά και μιούζικαλ του Μπροντγουέι, Irwin Kostal. Το άλμπουμ ηχογραφήθηκε στο Studio K στο Παρίσι (2011) και στο Studio KML στη Ρώμη (2016), και κυκλοφόρησε από την Deutsche Grammophon το 2017.
Οι αδελφές Λαμπέκ έλαβαν τα πρώτα μαθήματα πιάνου από τη μητέρα τους και αργότερα φοίτησαν στο Ωδείο του Παρισιού. Ένας από τους λόγους για τους οποίους διακρίθηκαν είναι η μεγάλη έκταση του ρεπερτορίου τους. Οι ίδιες δηλώνουν πάντως πως δεν έχουν συγκεκριμένες προτιμήσεις: «Κάτι τέτοιο θα μας περιόριζε», υποστηρίζουν. Έχοντας εμφανιστεί με μερικές από τις σπουδαιότερες ορχήστρες του κόσμου, υπό τη διεύθυνση μαέστρων όπως ο Ζορζ Πρετρ, ο Κόλιν Ντέιβις, ο Σεΐτζι Οζάουα και ο Μάικλ Τίλσον Τόμας, δεν κρύβουν την ιδιαίτερη αγάπη τους προς τη Φιλαρμονική του Βερολίνου και τον μουσικό διευθυντή της, Βρετανό αρχιμουσικό Σάιμον Ρατλ. Όσο για τα σχέδιά τους για το μέλλον, στο πλαίσιο του ενδιαφέροντός τους να «ισορροπήσουν» ανάμεσα στο κλασικό και στο σύγχρονο ρεπερτόριο, οι αδελφές Λαμπέκ θέτουν μεταξύ των βασικών προτεραιοτήτων τους την ενίσχυση του ιδρύματος που έχουν συστήσει με στόχο την προώθηση νέων καλλιτεχνών και της πρόσφατης μουσικής δημιουργίας.
KATIA & MARIELLE LABÈQUE | LOVE STORIES
David Chalmin (b. 1980)
♪ Star-Cross'd Lovers
1. ACT 1 – PROLOGUE
2. STREET FIGHT
3. STAR-CROSS'D LOVERS
4. THE PARTY
5. TWO FOES
6. ACT 2 – PROLOGUE
7. CAPULET'S ORCHARD
9. ACT 3 – PROLOGUE
10. MERCUTIO VS. TYBALT
11. MERCUTIO'S DEATH
12. ROMEO VS. TYBALT
13. TYBALT’S DEATH
14. A ROOM IN CAPULET'S HOUSE
15. ACT 4 – JULIET'S DESPAIR
16. JULIET'S POISON
17. ACT 5 – ROMEO'S RAGE
18. ROMEO'S POISON
19. JULIET'S AWAKE
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
♪ West Side Story
(Arrangement for two pianos and percussion by Irwin Kostal*)
2. JET SONG
3. SOMETHING'S COMING
4. ROCK BLUES
6. CHA CHA
10. I FEEL PRETTY
11. ONE HAND, ONE HEART
14. A BOY LIKE THAT
15. I HAVE A LOVE
16. THE RUMBLE
*Irwin Kostal (1911-1994)
Katia & Marielle Labèque, pianos Steinway model D
David Chalmin, guitars & electronics
Raphaël Séguinier, drums
West Side Story:
Gonzalo Grau, percussions
Raphaël Séguinier, drums & percussions
Pablo Bencid, additional timbales percussions on "Mambo"
Recorded, mixed and mastered by David Chalmin
West Side Story in Studio K Paris, 2011
Star-Cross'd Lovers in Studio K Paris & Studio KML Rome, 2016
Produced by Katia Labèque & David Chalmin
Deutsche Grammophon 2017
(HD 1080p – Audio video)
|Katia & Marielle Labèque (Photo by Umberto Nicoletti)|
The two Labèque sisters are Basque in origin, having been born on the southwest coast of France near the Spanish border. Katia and Marielle are a sharply contrasted, yet highly communicative piano team. While their joint reputation was won initially through the performance of unusual repertoire, they have not neglected traditional works for two pianos.
The sisters received initial instruction from their Italian mother, an accomplished piano teacher, who began lessons when her daughters were three and five years of age. Madame Labèque had been born in Tuscany, in Torre del Lago, where Puccini's estate was located. The girls' father was a doctor from Landes. Following the preparation provided by their mother, the sisters entered the Paris Conservatoire where both of them took First Prizes. Upon graduation in their mid-teens, the two undertook performance of contemporary music, works by Berio, Boulez, Ligeti, and Messiaen, much to the surprise (if not the consternation) of those who had previously guided their careers. Indeed, during their first decade or so of public performance, this was the music for which they became best known. Each has commented that older audiences came to their concerts hoping to hear Mozart or Schubert and instead were treated to music that struck them with shocking effect. While a certain notoriety came with this performance repertoire, true celebrity arrived when their two-piano recording of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue sold over a half million copies in 1981. Previously, Gershwin's famous piece had been regarded in Europe as too lightweight to be taken seriously as concert fare.
As their reputation as a duo-piano team grew, the sisters enjoyed collaborations with many of the world's leading conductors, among them Riccardo Chailly, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Jesús López-Cobos, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, the late Giuseppe Sinopoli, Leonard Slatkin, and Michael Tilson Thomas. They have performed with most of the world's most prestigious orchestras in Amsterdam, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dresden, Leipzig, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Philadelphia, and Vienna.
As recitalists, the Labèques have appeared at most of the world's most important music festivals. These encompass, among many others, the Berlin Festival, Ohio's Blossom Festival, the City of London Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, New York's Mostly Mozart Festival, the Proms at London's Royal Albert Hall, Chicago's Ravinia Festival, and Tanglewood. In addition to covering Europe and the United States, the sisters have toured extensively in Asia.
The Labèques' personal attractiveness hastened their involvement with television production and they can boast of numerous appearances on broadcasts originating from Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Holland, Japan, and the United States. Their participation in the Washington D.C., gala, Piano Grand! in 2000 was viewed throughout America and in many other parts of the world. The Labèques have recorded extensively for EMI, Philips, and Sony, both duo recitals and concertos, the latter with several of the world's great orchestras. Their jazz-flavored recording, Love of Colours, has also been well-received. Katia has recorded several straight jazz albums, three of them with guitarist John McLaughlin.
The sisters moved from their London residence in 1993 and now live in a Tuscan palazzo (formerly owned by the Medici family) in which several pianos are housed. For a Bach Celebration with Musica Antiqua Köln in 2000 and subsequent appearances with Il Giardino Armonico, the Labèques commissioned two Silbermann instruments of mid-18th century design on which to perform music of that period.
Source: Erik Eriksson (allmusic.com)
David Chalmin: Star-Cross'd Lovers
Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet inspired many composers from Benda to Prokofiev through Berlioz, Gounod or Tchaikowsky and it is always a challenge for a musician to approach such a subject so full of history. With Star-Cross'd Lovers, French composer David Chalmin gives a new look at Shakespeare's drama: a contemporary ballet choreographed by Yaman Okur, written for two pianos, electric guitar, electronics and drums. The musical dramaturgy is based on tension and resolution, violence and harmony, brutality and poetry, which correspond to the two antagonist themes of hatred and love. These contrasts enable a vast range of choreographic possibilities boosted by the energy exchanges between the seven breakdancers and the four musicians. The piece is tinged with minimalism, rock and electronics but also includes references to art music or ethnic music. It finds its unity in a cleverly combination of tradition and experimentalism. The clashes between the two rival gangs take place in a dark, oppressive and threatening musical world where tension and danger are constant. It could describe a sordid urban environment, perhaps that of a soulless suburb of a big city. The tragic end of the work is prefigured in the first prologue by an evolving melodic theme played by the pianos in the lower register that could be a modern version of a Wagnerian leitmotiv of curse or fate. Electronic roars and buzzes, howlings of electric guitar, aggressive hammerings of pianos, cold polyrhythmic combining motoric style, obssesive rave music but also African and Latino influences, contribute to this dystopian vision of the drama. The musical universe of the two famous lovers, which often tintinnabulates in the high register of the pianos, is instead full of delicacy and sweetness. David Chalmin gives his music a special charm drawing his inspiration from Ravelian limpidness, Schubertian lyricism and Chopinian poetry but also from styles close to jazz and pop music. David Chalmin's 30-minute score was composed for Katia and Marielle Labèque. It was premiered at the Philharmonie de Paris in May 2015. Since then, it has been performed in Luzern, Dortmund, Montpellier Festival, Bordeaux, Paris (Théâtre du Châtelet), Napoli Festival, etc.
Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story
West Side Stor y is probably Bernstein's masterpiece and unquestionably the best-known American work all over the world. Ever since the highly favorable critical and audience reception at New York's Winter Garner Theatre on Broadway, September 26, 1957, and the phenomenal success of Robert Wise's film adaptation in 1961, this contemporary urban version of Romeo and Juliet has never ceased to move spectators and fill them with enthusiasm.
Although West Side Story bears Bernstein's inimitable mark, it's sprung from collective work bringing together, amongst others, the choreographer and director Jerome Robbins, librettist Arthur Laurents, lyricist Stephen Sondheim and arrangers Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal.
It was Bernstein himself who asked Irwin Kostal to produce an arrangement for the duo-pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque. This suite of 17 pieces includes an assortment of dances and songs, which appear in a new light. Thanks to his perfect knowledge of the score, Kostal succeeds in giving his small ensemble an orchestral fullness. The seeming monochromy of the two pianos, far from making the music dull, allows us to appreciate a harmonic language that is simple yet quite subtle, in the service of the composer's enormous talent as a melodist. Deprived of the lyrical dimension provided by the voices, the songs unfold their phrases with unsuspected naturalness and authenticity.
David Chalmin (May 22, 1980). David Chalmin is a composer, producer, sound engineer and musician. He's a member of Triple Sun together with Massimo Pupillo and Raphaël Séguinier. Their first album "The City Lies in Ruins" was released by Consouling Sounds in May 2016. They created in 2016 a project around Moondog that was premiered in Nuits de Fourvière (Lyon) with Katia Labèque, Marie-Agnès Gillot, Yaman Okur and Stephane Deheselle. In September 2016 they joined Bryce & Aaron Dessner (The National), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) for the concert Invisible Bridge at the Philarmonie de Paris. He is also a member of the Minimalist Dream House project, which has been performed at the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the Toronto Summer Festival, the Auditorium of the Opéra national de Bordeaux, the Odyssud in Blagnac, the King's Place in London, the Auditorium de l'Orchestre national de Lyon etc.
In 2013, he teamed up with Raphaël Séguinier to create the rock duet UBUNOIR. Their self-produced EP was released in May 2014. In 2014 he was commissioned by the WDR Symphony Cologne to compose an orchestral suite of arrangements of Bernard Herrmann's film scores interpreted by the orchestra, Katia Labèque and her rock band in which he performs as a guitarist. David created his own recording studio, Studio K in Paris and also manages Studio KML in Rome founded by Katia & Marielle Labèque. He produced and recorded there all of their most recent releases (Sisters, Minimalist Dream House, Shape of my Heart, Satie, Bernstein/Gershwin). Other of his engineer/producer credits include Shannon Wright, Matt Elliott, Gaspar Claus, Pedro Soler, Angélique Ionatos, Sting, François Morel, etc.
Leonard Bernstein (August 25, 1918 - October 14, 1990). Bernstein told Rolling Stone : "Everyone told us that [West Side Story] was an impossible project... And we were told no one was going to be able to sing augmented fourths, as with « Ma-ri-a »... Also, they said the score was too rangy for pop music... Besides, who wanted to see a show in which the first-act curtain comes down on two dead bodies lying on the stage?... And then we had the really tough problem of casting it, because the characters had to be able not only to sing but dance and act and be taken for teenagers. Ultimately, some of the cast were teenagers, some were 21, some were 30 but looked 16. Some were wonderful singers but couldn't dance very well, or vice versa... and if they could do both, they couldn't act".
Irwin Kostal (October 1, 1911 - November 23, 1994). Irwin Kostal was an American music arranger of films and an orchestrator of Broadway musicals. He wrote the original orchestration of West Side Story. His work won both an Oscar and a Grammy Award. He conducted the 1982 digital re-recording of the music to Walt Disney's 1940 animated feature Fantasia. At the request of Leonard Berstein, he did the arrangement of West Side Story for Katia and Marielle Labèque. In 2004 he was named a Disney Legend in recognition of his contributions to films released by the studio.
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