At 23, this is the young pianist's first appearance at the Verbier Festival. Echoes from times past, in 2009 Adam Laloum received the Clara Haskil award in a small nearby town called Vevey in the Valais. With this achievement, he follows in the footsteps of his professor Evgeni Koroliov who received the award 1977. It is in this town that the Romanian pianist spent the last eighteen years of his life.
Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze are built as a series of short portraits. In them the listener discovers Schumann as the founder of the magazine Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, in which "David's Companions" – the same that appear in the work! – intervene in order to chastise old musical canons and galvanize young Schubert, Chopin and Berlioz… In composing this patchwork of eighteen factitious dances, Schumann rebukes traditional musical composition and chooses to alternate moments of sarcasm, poetry, humor and lyricism…
This inevitably leads us to Schumann the poet. As an indication for the interpretation of several dances, Schumann wrote "Mit Humor"; "Humor" ambiguous in German, it refers to both "moody" as well as "humor." To perform this work, one needs to be funambulist in order to walk the tight rope over the numerous landscapes. Adam Laloum accomplishes this perilous journey with remarkable maturity, offering a precise, clear, sensitive and noble rendition of each episode. By never excessively speeding up his game and always scrupulously following the partition, he brings every nuance to life with grace and elegance and displays all of the characteristic emotions of Schumann's music.
Schubert's Sonata in G, D 984 was Sviatoslav Richter's favorite piece. This very long work (culminating 40 minutes total even though Richter managed to stretch to 50 minutes!) is often described as being a "contemplative" piece just like the D 960. Schubert uses a simple musical pattern. After the initial exposition, Schubert continuously reuses several themes which he declines during constantly renewed variations so much so that the listener is first brought to discover them then to recognize them and finally to remember all along the piece.
This composition is of a bright darkness, full of restraint and softness and bundled with nostalgic emotions. A secret greatness emanates from this composition. Finally it is not without reason that Adam Laloum chose to conclude his recital with a Brahms intermezzo (Intermezzo No. 2, op. 117) which is another very personal composition conveying a deep sense of nostalgia.
Verbier Festival 2010
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Riccardo Chailly