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The pianist Emmanuel Despax - the "Après un rêve" (I, II) album - CD Review, June 15th-16th 2023

Wednesday, 11 October 2023 , ora 10.31

The pianist Emmanuel - the "Après un rêve" (I, II) album - CD Review, June 15th-16th 2023

Gabriel Fauré - "Après un rêve" Op. 7; Camille Saint-Saëns -"Danse macabre, Op. 40"; Francis Poulenc - "Soirées de Nazalles"; Claude Debussy - "Clair de lune"; Cécile Chaminade - Nocturna Op. 165; Maurice Ravel - "Gaspard de la nuit". Album release.

June 16th 2023 marks the day when pianist Emmanuel Despax officially releases his first album. He is a French musician based in London, with an exceptional international career,whocarried out successful record projects and performed on renowned stages in Europe, South America and New Zealand. His most recent album is called "Après un rêve", referencing composer Gabriel Fauré's piece with the same title. The album also includes pieces by other French composers: Camille Saint-Saëns, Francis Poulenc, Claude Debussy, Cécile Chaminade and Maurice Ravel, acting as a tribute to the elegant time period, the Belle Époque. With superb technique and refined rendition, Emmanuel Despax brings a fresh breath of air to these timeless creations, characterized by exquisite poetic spirit.

When choosing the repertoire for this record, the musician was inspired by his grandfather, the poet Jacques Charpentreau, who was very fond of French art. He encouraged his talented nephew to tread on his artistic path. "I have never had a gift for words, although my grandfather and I have always shared a strong connection between the poetry of music and the music of poetry", says pianist Emmanuel Despax, reminiscing about how he used to spend countless hours talking to his grandfather about music, literature, poetry and politics. " He loved the French repertoire of the Belle Époqueand listened to me performing many of the pieces that have been recorded here. When I decided to record this music, I thought about my grandfather and many of his poems which inspired me", he adds.

The "Après un rêve"album, recorded in October 2022, at the Yehudi Menuhin Hall in Surrey, England, has been released by Signum Records. In association with said record label, Emmanuel Despax has published all of his seven albums, which proved to be very successful. We could mention recordings such as the ones including: Chopin's two concerts in chamber versions, remarked by The Times, Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 released together with the BBC Symphony Orchestra andconductor Andrew Litton; Bach's Transcriptions and Frederic Chopin's solo piano pieces. They all portray Emmanuel Despax as a Romantic interpreter, inclined towards introspection, who explores all of the nuances and timbral subtleties of the piano.

Emmanuel Despax has recently commented about his new album in an interview: "Après un rêve" is an album withsignificant importance to me. It is a tribute tothe French repertoire of the Belle Époque, portraying the beauty of dreams and nights. The music that can be found on this record gets its inspiration from different aspects of the night. Some pieces evoke Romanticism and the reverie, and others explore dark themes. My intention was to bring together pieces that are well-known and some others that have been less interpreted. As a pianist, I find great joy in expanding on them and presenting them to the public.

He was born in Paris and is currently living in London. He studied in Aix-en-Provence before enrolling at the Yehudi Menuhin School and after which he went to the Royal College of Music in London. One of his teachers was Ruth Nye, a student of Claudio Arrau. During his studies, Emmanuel Despax won numerous international prizes and received guidance from personalities of the classical music world, such as András Schiff, Murray Perrahia and Yehudi Menuhin. Later, he performed on renowned stages, like Wigmore and Cadogan Hall in London, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Bruxelles, the Cortot and Gaveau Halls in Paris. Wherever he went, he received praise for his pleasant and sincere personality, for his uniqueness and the lyricism of his performances.

Larisa Clempuº
Translated by Adelina-Maria Mãnãilescu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu