It was the turn of the young French pianist Guillaume Vincent to propose a concert on the theme of nature, the red thread of the season. He had chosen a resolutely romantic program with Brahms’ four ballads opus 10 followed by excerpts from Liszt’s first year of pilgrimage, Switzerland: what could be more natural for this native of Savoy than the framework of the Swiss alpine pastures !
Works of youth composed in the thought of Clara Schumann, secret dedication, the ballads, posterior nevertheless to his sonatas, do not bear less already the label of the composer: all Brahms is there. Guillaume Vincent gives an inspired interpretation of it, and draws from grand piano Blüthner with such a special timbre all that he is able to offer, finding in the breaths, listening to the silences, the required tone depth and width, the concentration of the sound, especially in the first, so dark, inspired as we know from a frightful Scottish legend. Without forcing the instrument, the bass lacking roundness, he lets the song bloom in soft curves in the second, under the wind arpeggios of his right hand. The third ballad in B minor begins breathless: the pianist perfectly recreates his fantastic atmosphere, which he dissolves his appearances, these vague bells and this strange cuckoo heard in the central part, in the chords of the end. The climate clears up a bit in the fourth in B major, which begins as a
waltz. Guillaume Vincent knows how to vary the lighting: he gives to his melodic line, long and beautiful, very Schumannian, a wind of freshness, a feeling of spring, weaves a cloud on the palpitation of the following passage, then lets furtively pierce the light of the melody that freezes making way for the fervor of the final chorale.
We leave the northern landscapes for the most beautiful Swiss valleys, with Liszt and his first year of pilgrimage. The pianist gives to Guillaume Tell’s Chapel the majesty and declamation befitting his hymn, as a prelude to Lake Wallendstadt, played with great delicacy: his serene and simple song unfolds like in the light of a rising day , on the wave of a left hand of a beautiful fluidity. The poetic reverie continues with Les Cloches de Genève, in the softness of touch and a generosity of play making the central episode, climax of the play, a moment of pure exaltation. The Obermann Valley is the fourth and last piece given in mirror to Brahmsian ballads. Guillaume Vincent strives to find the sound support and legato bass of this piano whose bass are difficult to tame. He remains in the concentration of the expression, in the lyrical tension until the surges of octaves particularly impressive under his fingers, and manages to extract from the instrument incandescent or warm colors according to the passages, the registers, showing ‘a flawless technique.
To the bravos that fuse he offers a Humoresque Dvorák very finely trussed, then the famous Liebestraum n ° 3 of Liszt, to a public touched to the heart.
By Jany Campello, classicagenda | March 5, 2018