A large audience was present on Saturday, October 22 at the Maison Symphonique for pianist Jean-Philippe Sylvestre’s recital that will also be repeated at Palais Montcalm in Quebec City on Nov. 11.
In the program, some of the best-known masterpieces for the piano, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2, Ravel’s Miroirs and Pavane, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Balakirev’s Islamey and a special performance of Mathieu’s Concerto de Québec, plus a Prelude and Fugue by Bach.
What you missed
The concert opens with the virtuosic Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt played convincing and full of contrasts. Sylvestre is a pianist endowed with truly virtuosic technique and very beautiful sound, and a true showman of the keyboard.
The beginning and the end of the concert offer pieces aligned to Sylvestre’s virtuosic and hyper-romantic temperament. Mathieu’s Concerto de Québec, in a piano version personalized by Sylvestre, is rendered with great emphasis and momentum. Islamey, as well as the first encore, the third movement of Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 7, are literally impressive: Sylvestre is undoubtedly a first-class virtuoso. The concert closed with a Dance by Ginastera, performed with velvety touch.
Sylvestre’s choice to alternate the pieces with explanations about the repertoire and its context, which the pianist himself defines as “vulgarizations,” was a great success with the public. This is not common in large concert halls, but it left the impression that the pianist has found himself at home.
Sylvestre’s lingering mannerisms and gestures seemed out of place in the case of Ravel, Beethoven and Bach. The central part of the program is pleasant to listen to, and sometimes amazing for the sound effects that the pianist reaches, but here it is necessary to be precise. Beethoven and Ravel, but also Bach are proposed through a personal reading that has not much to do with the structure, to the music, nor with the composers.
GFN Productions presents Jean-Philippe Sylvestre
Saturday, October 22, 2022, 7:30 pm
Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody n.2. Ravel: Miroirs, Pavane pour une infante défunte. Beethoven: Sonata n. 14 in c minor op. 27 n. 2 “Moonlight”. Bach: Prelude and Fugue n. 4 in c sharp minor BWV 873. Mathieu: Concerto de Québec. Balakirev: Islamey op. 18
The concert repeats at Palais Montcalm, Nov. 11 at 7:30 PM.