Monday February 19, 2018 12:25 am

JOIE DE VIVRE personified!

We came to the recital hall knowing only that it was going to be an evening of DEBUSSY and CHOPIN, prepared to just get lost in the music. And we did – from the moment Jean-Yves’ fingers deftly coaxed the first notes out of the piano, making it sing
– of fog veiling vision,
– of leaves falling sadly in the autumn,
– of fairies waltzing in the air,
– of moonlight in one’s face,
– of fireworks exploding in the night….
Images woven from sound as only Thibaudet can — with flair, passion and precision, just the way Debussy meant it to be. And when sound becomes image in this manner, Debussy’s unfamiliar Book of Preludes, which made up half of the program, becomes a friendly book of musical treasures.

Thus, the unfamiliar, having become quite accessible, becomes fitting prologue to the familiar, and Debussy’s occasional pointillism a suitable match to Chopin’s sweet romanticism. Jean-Yves as always played from the heart in a style that lends freshness to the familiar nocturnes and valses and etudes of our childhood. In such magical hands, Chopin’s all too familiar music breeds not contempt but only greater endearment. The pieces he played were from his just-released album The Chopin I Love.

Altogether it was a very well-balanced program, made exciting by an artist who bedazzled, as the audience clearly was, with both his virtuosity and his colorfully authentic persona. Responding to their wildly exuberant applause, he delighted with two jazz encores – BILL EVANS‘ sentimental “For Debby” and DUKE ELLINGTON‘s spirited “Jubilee Stomp” – yet another touch of Thibaudet eclecticism. Classic Thibaudet, even without the red socks.* -GCajipe © FanFaire 2000

* In Y2K and thereafter, the trademark red socks were no more. And as Jean-Yves pondered a new Thibaudet look, the coattails too made a disappearing act.

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