. Interchanging Idioms: French Pianist Alexandre Tharaud Previews New Virgin Classics Release in Rare NYC Recital – April 9 at Le Poisson Rouge

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

French Pianist Alexandre Tharaud Previews New Virgin Classics Release in Rare NYC Recital – April 9 at Le Poisson Rouge

French pianist Alexandre Tharaud makes a rare New York appearance when he performs at Le Poisson Rouge, Manhattan’s popular downtown music club, on Monday, April 9. The program includes excerpts from Book 1 of Debussy’s Preludes, selections from Tharaud’s recent Virgin Classics release, Scarlatti: Sonatas (one of NPR’s 50 favorite recordings of 2011), and works from his upcoming jazz-inspired album, Le Boeuf Sur le Toit (The Ox on the Roof), which pays tribute to the swinging 1920s in France with a number of special guests and a captivating mix of repertoire. The new album, scheduled for release this fall, takes its name from a historic cabaret where Parisian classical musicians discovered jazz (it’s also the title of a surrealist ballet by Jean Cocteau based on a score by Darius Milhaud).

Alexandre Tharaud is increasingly recognized as one of today’s most inventive pianists, traversing a wide variety of repertoire – from Baroque masterpieces to contemporary compositions – with musicianship of arresting originality. Critical and popular response to his recordings, first for Harmonia Mundi and now Virgin Classics, for whom he records exclusively, has been overwhelmingly positive. London’s Guardian called Journal Intime, his debut release for Virgin Classics featuring works by Chopin, “altogether breathtakingly beautiful.” His March 2011 album of keyboard sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti was widely acclaimed, with Time Out New York observing that the CD “takes its place amid a distinguished recorded legacy, but Tharaud holds his own alongside" pianists like Clara Haskil, Vladimir Horowitz, and Mikhail Pletnev. In fall 2011 Tharaud released a recording of J.S. Bach keyboard concerti, performed with the Quebec-based ensemble Les Violons du Roy under its director, Bernard Labadie.

Le Boeuf Sur le Toit promises to be Tharaud’s most ambitious and surprising recording to date, a collection of 1920s classics of bohemian Paris displaying an astonishing blend of influences from late European Romanticism to Harlem jazz. The album, featuring solo works as well as collaborations with an intriguing line-up of guest stars, showcases works and arrangements by George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, W. C. Handy, Jean Wiener, Darius Milhaud, Clément Doucet (works inspired by Chopin, Wagner and Liszt), and Walter Donaldson (“Yes sir, that’s my baby,” one of the era’s signature pop songs). Guest artists include French singer-songwriter Bénabar, soprano Natalie Dessay, pianist Frank Braley, French actor Guillaume Galliène, tenor Jean Delescluse, and American-born jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux, as well a colorful array of instrumentalists performing on banjo, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, percussion, and more.

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