RNCM Concert Hall, 23 May 2015
We were given an explanation of the evening’s programme by the engaging Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, rising impromptu (or so it seemed) from the piano.
Up for discussion was the question of how two such different musical personalities as Boulez and Ohana, both men being known to Bavouzet, could find inspiration in the same sources: Debussy and Ravel. There were virtuoso recitals of works by all four composers.
Now it is difficult (and perhaps ultimately futile) to speak or write about music, yet nonetheless we continue to do it, and I loved Bavouzet’s description of Ohana’s music as being like ‘beautiful smoke’. An image that captures perfectly that sense of music as being apparently formless yet actually supple and sinuous; fleeting and elusive, yes, yet somehow chameleon-like. Anyway, the effort to talk about music must be made.
From Bavouzet’s talk, actually two talks, coming before and after the interval, we were able to approach the music with a fresh heart, open to its art and grace. Two encores followed the concert proper, the second a piece by Rachmaninov. The abiding impression: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is a graceful and generous man, this concert a rare and unexpected privilege.
Dates of future concerts by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet can be seen here.