Travel back to the roots..
Today I would like to start drawing a line through all the important human beings that influenced my musical development and creation.. As I started with a home classical education, my first loves were classical-romantic piano composers. To begin with Beethoven, whose first heard music were the 8th sonata, played by Serge Petitgirard from a 45 RPM vinyl on my father’s Grundig music combi. Then his 5th concerto played by Clifford Curzon, and Rachmaninov 2nd by Leonard Pennario. Thanks to my father’s tastes, we were mostly listening to classical music, on radio (mainly BBC on short wave), and lot of 33 RPM vinyls that he used to buy through the years. I received my first classical vinyl for a birthday, which was Beethoven sonatas 8,14, 23, by Samson Francois. Then followed Chopin waltzes, polonaises by the majestic Malcuzynski, ballads, then my first concertos (Chopin 2nd by Rubinstein, Brahms 1-2 by Guilels and Pollini, and Tchaikovski’s fascinating one by Guilels..)
My first piano education steps were received from my mother at home. We had a beautiful huge size Erard upright piano, who had deep basses. After around two years first lessons, I started quickly to play on my own, doing my daily practice with Clementi sonatinas, Burgmüller studies, and aiming to my Beethoven-Chopin first works.
I saved all my pocket money to buy piano scores, starting with Beethoven 8th sonata, then 14 and 23. These were mostly from the French edition Henry Lemoine, who had a useful graduation system of the musics on a 17 degrees scale, from easy to very difficult. Being fascinated by Chopin polonaises, I was offered for my 13th birthday the 2 from opus 26, who seemed so difficult to play in these times. I also inherited the whole Mazurkas from my mother, a family given old edition, which was a vast and challenging sight read book.
My first proud achievements were to play the Chopin polonaises op 26, and Beethoven 8th sonata. Beethoven 5th concerto followed, which was a quite difficult challenge, considering it’s length.
And the adventure started slowly to take a space that I couldn’t have imagined.. I was discovering new musics and composers, and always more hungry to play them all.. Until came my special love story with Liszt.
When I started official education steps at Grenoble French Music Conservatory, with impressive teacher Alain Neveu, I was suddenly confrontated to play in public, being notated, and challenged to learn all required music in short time for exams. It was a new world, frightening in the beginning because of these requirements, and also it was not easy to adapt to the harder mechanics from grand pianos. I had to improve my technicals to another level, passing from a light 'toucher à la Chopin' to a more muscly one. I also started to taste several piano brands.. our weekly class was a modern Pleyel half, quite hard in the keyboard and sound. I never liked it. On the other side, first contact with the auditorium Steinway, and such a shock with this beauty of sound.. It was not anymore the records, It was real, in front of me.. I could touch it and let emerge music from my own hands.. a new world was revealed..