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GRAMOPHONE : Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3 Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

GRAMOPHONE : Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3 Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Tricky fingerings, hand-crossing... Prokofiev pushes his pianist to the limits, says Bavouzet

GRAMOPHONE :

GRAMOPHONE : "Becoming Bavouzet"

September 2014

Harriet Smith meets the gregarious pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet to talk about his new recording of Haydn's piano concertos, including some provocative cadenzas
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet : The inspirational French pianist shares his thoughts with interviewer James Naughtie

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet : The inspirational French pianist shares his thoughts with interviewer James Naughtie

BBC Music Magazine February 2014 issue

Ask for his thoughts on Haydn or Beethoven, Bartok or Debussy, and the brilliant French pianist pinpoints exactly how their demands need to be addressed.
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

February 2014

IRR features JEBavouzet on its cover at the occasion of the release of the 5 Prokofiev concertos with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Giandandrea Noseda on Chandos
THE PIANIST Hong Kong July 2013

THE PIANIST Hong Kong July 2013

Chief Editor Blanc Wan talks with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

INTERVIEW :

INTERVIEW : "The consummate pianist is like a consummate actor", says Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is interviewed by John Terauds on August 7th 2012.


French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet plays Haydn and Debussy at Stratford Summer Music on Wednesday afternoon (Henry-Fair photo).

Never write off an artist because they are a late bloomer.

French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet won his first competition in 1986, and quickly gained the respect of anyone who heard him play, but it took nearly two decades for the wider classical music world to fully catch on to this performer’s prodigious talents, which will be on solo display at Stratford Summer Music on Wednesday afternoon.

Bavouzet’s St Andrew’s Church recital is all about Impressionist master Claude Debussy, with a little bit of Joseph Haydn thrown in as an amuse-bouche.

A lot of people play Debussy and Haydn, as well as Ravel, Beethoven, Bartók and Schumann and Liszt. But very few manage a total act of self-transformation in the process.

For example, Bavouzet’s Debussy interpretations are all about depth of sound and colour, while his Ravel playing displays remarkable finesse with shimmering surfaces (“Ah, but Ravel is a classic composer, while Debussy is a revolutionary composer,” says the pianist during a post-rehearsal chat on Monday).

His Haydn has an astringent clarity about it, while Beethoven sonatas emerge with messy Sturm und Drang mixed with tenderness — much like the ink-splotched scratches that strain the composer’s manuscripts.

Unlike so many pianists — including international stars — who approach music with a personal consistency, Bavouzet takes on each composer as a separate interpretive challenge, with distinct results.

“For me, a great pianist is a pianist who can completely change his clothes,” says Bavouzet. “Of course, you can’t transform the flesh completely, but a great actor can create completely different characters,” he says by way of analogy.

He calls this a question of style, and how the performer needs to change the style of playing and approach to the keyboard. “That’s why there are a lot of composers I don’t touch at all. Chopin, Brahms, Schubert, to name a few, because I haven’t been able to find the clothes I should wear; I haven’t been able to find the sound I should have. From afar, you might think that I play everything from Haydn to Boulez, but it’s not true.”

Bavouzet says the notion of style is extremely complex. “It is a mixture of instinct and knowledge,” he explains. “The more you know about the composer, the more free you should be — not at all stuck in one aspect. It’s when you don’t know that you are clueless.”

He admits that the first time he truly felt clueless in front a piece of music was Olivier Messiaen’s Réveil des oiseaux. Fortunately, Yvonne Loriod, Messiaen’s second wife and chief interpreter of his music, was still alive. “I went up to her apartment and we had a wonderful afternoon of work together, and she explained everything to me. But without her wonderful help, I think I would have had to cancel the concert, but it was with the Boston Symphony, so it would have been a bit stupid,” he says, laughing.

“Every extra piece of historical or musicological information you can get is helpful. But it should help you to be free,” he insists.

Interestingly, it took Bavouzet a while to connect to Debussy. “I was always in love with the music of Ravel, since before I can remember,” he says. “But to be moved by Debusssy was a very, very long process. I had to wait until my mid-30s to be moved, to be emotionally touched.”

The key that unlocked that appreciation was the tower scene from Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande. He was sitting in a hotel room in Japan, preparing for his recording of the Debussy Etudes, and had brought with him a classic recording of the opera with Herbert von Karajan conducting. At that moment in the opera — “perhaps because I was away from home, I was more solitary, more perceptive” — he put the headphones on and began to cry.

“I was like a 13-year-old girl, and I couldn’t stop the crying for years,” Bavouzet admits. “But the point is, this was the result of constant work on Debussy.”

He laughs again as he recalls how, during this period of Debussian emotional vulnerability, he was put on hold while making a phone call, and a cheezy, synthesized version of the composer’s Arabesque No. 1 came on, making him burst into tears. “It was like a Pavlovian reflex, and it lasted for two years.”

Quite frankly, it sounds like Bavouzet would put even the most determined of Hollywood’s Method actors to shame.

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The second half of the programme is different from the one announced by Stratford Summer Music. Bavouzet is replacing first six Préludes from Book II with his own two-piano transcription of Debussy’s ballet suite, Jeux, which he has now adapted for piano solo.
LES ECHOS

LES ECHOS

Edition du 19 Juillet 2012
Par Philippe Venturini

lien:http://www.lesechos.fr/journal20120719/lec1_entracte_carnet/0202176916888-un-pianiste-dans-tous-les-tons-345438.php


Jean-Efflam Bavouzet semble aujourd'hui au faîte de son art.

Hôte régulier du Festival international de piano de La Roque-d'Anthéron (Bouches-du-Rhône), Jean-Efflam Bavouzet y interprétera les 31 juillet et 1 août l'essentiel de l'oeuvre de Debussy, qu'il a par ailleurs brillamment enregistrée. L'International Classical Music Awards l'a en outre nommé artiste de l'année en mai en reconnaissance de sa « curiosité singulière » et de sa « lecture renouvelée des partitions ».
Si le grand public le connaît mal, l'artiste bénéficie d'une enviable renommée parmi les connaisseurs et il mène une carrière internationale dans les salles les plus prestigieuses du globe, de Londres à Boston en passant par Sydney et Berlin.
Technique infaillible

Sa technique infaillible lui permet d'affronter les redoutables concertos de Bartók, la clarté naturelle de son élocution et son sens de la couleur en font un des avocats les plus zélés de la musique française : Ravel mais aussi Massenet, Pierné et Debussy . « J'ai mis du temps à aimer sa musique. C'est en réécoutant "Pelléas et Mélisande" qu'a eu lieu le déclic. J'ai ensuite voulu l'enregistrer et j'apprécie le son ample et défini que permet le label Chandos. »
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet aime le disque . « Tout me passionne dans l'entreprise, depuis la captation du son jusqu'au montage que j'assume intégralement et qui m'évoque le cinéma. Pour Debussy, j'ai tout décidé dans les moindres détails. Le plus dur reste de retrouver dans un studio le souffle ininterrompu d'une oeuvre. »
A cinquante ans, ce natif de Bretagne qui grandit à Metz semble au faîte de son art. Il visite le grand répertoire avec une intelligence passionnée et aime à s'aventurer dans la musique de son siècle : Ohana, Boulez, Stockhausen, Kurtag et le jeune Mantovani . « Il a réussi à intégrer le risque et le swing du jazz dans le répertoire classique. Sa musique me ravit. »
Aujourd'hui, sur tous les fronts et dans tous les tons, fin connaisseur de Bartók, dont il comprend les connexions rythmiques avec la langue hongroise, qu'il maîtrise grâce à son épouse, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet semble insatiable, capable de dévorer cinq nouveaux concertos en cinq mois. Comme pour rattraper du temps. Plus jeune il a en effet souffert d'un problème de coordination musculaire qui lui interdit d'appréhender des pièces trop lourdes. Aussi fréquenta-t-il Haydn plutôt que Beethoven. « J'appartiens à une génération où on considérait qu'un pianiste jouait le premier quand il ne pouvait pas maîtriser le second. Or les sonates les plus réussies de Haydn me semblent supérieures à celles de Mozart. Ce compositeur, avec des moyens restreints, ne cesse de surprendre. Il ose aller plus loin que ses contemporains. Quel précurseur ! Schumann, Brahms, Stravinsky lui sont redevables. »
Crédit photo: Paul Mitchell
INTERNATIONAL PIANO

INTERNATIONAL PIANO
INTERNATIONAL PIANO

INTERNATIONAL PIANO

March-April 2012

Cover Story: FULL STEAM AHEAD
Michael Church talks with Jean-Efflam about Haydn, Beethoven and model trains

http://www.rhinegold.co.uk/downloads/catalogue_sample_pages/Cover%20story%20-%20Jean-Efflam%20Bavouzet.pdf
DIAPASON

DIAPASON
DIAPASON

DIAPASON

December 2008

INTERNATIONAL PIANO

INTERNATIONAL PIANO

October 2008

FANFARE

FANFARE

May-June 2008

PIANIST

PIANIST

December 2007

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

July 2007

CODAEX

CODAEX

April 2005


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