Emmanuel Despax

Spira, Spera

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Signum Classics
UPC: 0635212066522
Catnr: SIGCD 665
Release date: 26 March 2021
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Label
Signum Classics
UPC
0635212066522
Catalogue number
SIGCD 665
Release date
26 March 2021
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

Emmanuel Despax returns to Signum with a disc of JS Bach transcriptions. The title quotes Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ (“Breathe, Hope”), brought to Despax’s mind following the news of the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral, where he had attended many concerts of Bach’s music as a child. Despax describes Bach’s music as being “of such clarity, coherence and expressive power, that it is able to transcend its original medium, and to some extent, style.”

This virtuosic programme combines both well-known transcriptions, such as the mighty Bach-Busoni ‘Chaconne’ and Saint-Saën’s ‘Overture’, with the first recordings of several arrangements by the late 19th/early 20th century pianist Theodor Szántó’s – featuring his monumental and uncompromising transcriptions of the Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, and the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.

Emmanuel Despax has gained worldwide recognition as a singular artist, whose interpretations bring a rare sincerity and imagination to the music. A remarkable performer of romantic and post-romantic music, he has been invited to give recital performances in the UK (Wigmore Hall’s London Pianoforte Series, Cadogan Hall, Chipping Campden and Petworth Festivals, and the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, where he was appointed artistic director in 2020 of a complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle). Summer 2021 will see the release of a Brahms album including the Sixteen Waltzes Op. 39 and Piano Concerto No.1 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton.

Artist(s)

“Emmanuel Despax is a formidable talent, fleet of finger, elegant of phrase and a true keyboard colourist.” - Gramophone

Emmanuel Despax has gained worldwide recognition as a singular artist, whose interpretations bring a rare sincerity and imagination to the music.

A remarkable performer of romantic and post-romantic music, he has been invited to give recital performances in the UK (Wigmore Hall’s London Pianoforte Series, Cadogan Hall, Chipping Campden and Petworth Festivals, and the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, where he was appointed artistic director in 2020 of a complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle); in France (Louvre Auditorium, Salle Cortot, Salle Gaveau, International Festival Les Nuits Pianistiques in Aix-en-Provence, L’été Musical au Poujoula, and Les Nuits du Château de la Moutte in Saint-Tropez); Benelux (Amsterdam, The Hague and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels); Cyprus (Pharos Arts Foundation); Italy (Fazioli auditorium); South America; and in Spain (Sociedad Filarmónica de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Mallorca).

Past engagements include two tours of New Zealand, hailed by critics for his recitals in the prestigious Fazioli International Piano Series in Auckland and concerto performances with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. In the UK, Emmanuel Despax has also played with the City of Birmingham Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras, among others. He is also regularly broadcast on Medici TV, France Musique, BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM UK.

Despax’s critically acclaimed discography includes: The Romantic Piano Concerto, released in 2018 and recorded with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Hyperion) with works by Hans Bronsart and Anton Urspruch, two students of Liszt, demonstrated “a wide range of colours combined with an easy virtuosity” (Gramophone). The previous year, Despax’s recording of Chopin's Preludes Op. 28 made an impression for "its poetic rendering of every detail, transmuting the Fazioli into a 1900s Pleyel, iridescent as needs be” (Diapason – 2017), and was chosen as Classic FM’s Album of the Week. His first CD for Signum Classics in 2013 was devoted to piano concertos by Saint-Saëns (Concerto No. 2) and Stephen Goss, written for Emmanuel Despax, as well as Franck’s Variations Symphoniques.

Recent and forthcoming releases for Signum Classics highlight the eclecticism of the French pianist’s repertoire – ranging from the digital exclusive The Sound of Music Fantasy (Despax’s own transcription based on themes from the famous musical) to his Summer 2021 release of a Brahms album including the Sixteen Waltzes Op. 39 and Piano Concerto No. 1 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton.

Born in Paris and now based in London, Emmanuel Despax started playing the piano in Aix-en-Provence before joining the Yehudi Menuhin School, then the Royal College of Music in London, studying with Ruth Nye, pupil of Claudio Arrau. He won numerous awards during his studies (Chappell Medal, Tagore Gold Medal), and benefited from the advice of Nikolai Demidenko, Leon Fleisher, John Lill, Yehudi Menuhin, Dominique Merlet, Mstislav Rostropovich, Murray Perahia and András Schiff.

emmanueldespax.com

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« La poésie, le sens narratif sont également à mettre au crédit d’une interprétation stylée, fluide, lumineuse et d’une perfection technique saisissante ... un soliste aux doigts ailés et virtuoses ... Un musicien avant tout, qu’il faudra suivre de très près. »
- Michel Le Naour, ConcertClassic

Emmanuel Despax est internationalement reconnu en tant qu’artiste dont les interprétations apportent à la musique une sincérité et une imagination rares.

Remarquable interprète de la musique romantique et post-romantique (un « chopinien » et un « debussyste » pour Alain Lompech), il est invité à se produire en récital en France à Paris (Auditorium du Musée du Louvre, Salle Cortot, Salle Gaveau), aux Festival International des Nuits Pianistiques à Aix-en-Provence, L’été Musical au Poujoula et Les Nuits du Château de la Moutte à Saint-Tropez ; en Italie (Auditorium Fazioli) ; en Espagne (Sociedad Filarmónica de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria et Majorque) ; Bénélux (Amsterdam, La Haye et Palais des Beaux-Arts à Bruxelles) ; Amérique du Sud ; Chypre (Pharos Arts Foundation) et au Royaume-Uni dont le Wigmore Hall, Chipping Campden et Petworth Festivals, Cadogan Hall et au Royal Concert Hall de Nottingham, qui le nomme directeur artistique en 2020 d’un cycle de sonates de Beethoven auquel il convie, entre autres, le pianiste anglais, Paul Lewis.

Parmi les engagements passés, Emmanuel Despax a effectué deux tournées en Nouvelle-Zélande, saluées par une critique enthousiaste, alternant récitals, notamment à Auckland, et concerts avec le Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Au Royaume-Uni, il a joué, en particulier, avec le City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra et le BBC Symphony Orchestra. On peut l’entendre également sur les ondes de Medici TV, France Musique, BBC radio 3 et Classic FM UK.

Tous ses enregistrements sont salués par la critique: le disque The Romantic Piano Concerto sorti en 2018 et enregistré avec le BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Hyperion) avec des oeuvres de Hans Bronsart et Anton Urspruch, deux élèves de Liszt, lui offre l’occasion de montrer « une grande palette de couleurs doublée d’une virtuosité fluide » (Gramophone). L’année précédente, son enregistrement des Préludes Op. 28 de Chopin a marqué les esprits, « le pianiste transmuant son Fazioli en Pleyel des années 1900, iridescent comme il convient » (Diapason – 2017), et est choisi ‘Album of the week’ par Classic FM UK. En 2013, il avait enregistré son premier CD pour Signum Classics, consacré aux concertos pour piano de Saint-Saëns (concerto n° 2) et de Stephen Goss, écrit pour Emmanuel Despax, ainsi que les Variations Symphoniques de Franck.

Les parutions récentes et à venir prochainement pour Signum Classics, soulignent l’éclectisme du répertoire du pianiste français: The Sound of Music Fantasy (transcription de Despax sur des thèmes de la célèbre comédie musicale) et un disque Brahms, Seize Valses op. 39 et le concerto n° 1 avec le BBC Symphony Orchestra dirigé par Andrew Litton.

Né à Paris puis installé à Londres, Emmanuel Despax a commencé le piano à Aix-en-Provence, avant de rejoindre la Yehudi Menuhin School suivie du Royal College of Music à Londres, où il a la chance d’étudier avec Ruth Nye, élève de Claudio Arrau. Il y a remporté de nombreuses récompenses (Chappell Medal, Tagore Gold Medal), et a parallèlement bénéficié des conseils de Nikolai Demidenko, Leon Fleisher, John Lill, Yehudi Menuhin, Dominique Merlet, Mstislav Rostropovich, Murray Perahia et András Schiff.

emmanueldespax.com

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