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Cedric Tiberghien Makes Symphony Center Debut Review - Begins Piano Series for Reveries and Passions Festival

By Barbara Keer

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My husband and I had the delight of attending the first performance of Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s “French Reveries and Passions Festival”, which takes place at Symphony Center through May 24th.  This was French pianists Cédric Tiberghien’s Symphony Center debut and the audience positively and enthusiastically appreciated his performance.

 

This program was inspired by the festival’s overall themes of beauty, fantasy and the darkness of night. The program included:

RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit

DEBUSSY Canope from Preludes, Book 2 DEBUSSY Les collines d'Anacapri from Preludes, Book 1

SZYMANOWSKI Masques, Op. 34 DEBUSSY Masques DEBUSSY D’un cahier d’esquisses DEBUSSY L’isle joyeuse

DEBUSSY Masques DEBUSSY D’un cahier d’esquisses DEBUSSY L’isle joyeuse

 

The program began with one of the most challenging solo piano pieces in the repertoire as Tiberghien confronted the macabre in Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, a three-movement piece based on the French poem by Aloysius Bertrand.  I found this piece abstract and distant, changing from the contemplative to the emotional. Some parts were reminiscent of Debussy’s music.

 

The Debussy piece that followed maintained the same contrasts of simple introspective sounds contrasted to flamboyant flourishes along the keyboard. This piece was, in turn, reminiscent of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit. Watching Tiberghien’s hands in motion was a show of its own. His fingers moved with remarkable speed and grace.

 

Following intermission the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s Masques, Op. 34, which is a triptych influenced by three major literary figures (Queen Scheherazade, Tristan and Don Juan) and an homage to the music of Ravel and Debussy, began to carry me off to a distant place with melody, rhythm and the pianists movements coming together.

 

By the time the DEBUSSY D’un cahier d’esquisses DEBUSSY L’isle joyeuse ended,I was floating in a rapturous space and I didn’t want the music to stop.  Fortunately, it didn’t.  Responding to the enthusiastic audience’s standing ovation, Tiberghien, responded with more beautiful music, an encore DEBUSSY La cathédrale engloutie from Preludes, Book 1 and then again responding to a thrilled audience, he played DEBUSSY Feux d'artifice from Preludes, Book 2 with great aplomb and flourish.  And now the exquisite music did end and a thrilled audience exited, moved by this experience.

This was a fantastic beginning of what promises to be a rich and rewarding series so get your tickets and enjoy!

Note: Be sure to check your cell phone.  The acoustics at Symphony Center are so good that a cell phone ringing in the front of the auditorium can be heard through out.  Yikes!

 

The Symphony Center Presents Piano series is generously sponsored by Judy and Verne Istock.

Tickets for all Symphony Center Presents Piano concerts can be purchased by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312-294-3000; online or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604. For group rates, please call 312-294-3040.

Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.

Photos: Courtesy of CSO

 

Published on May 05, 2015

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