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Review: Le Salon de Musiques- A Must See!

Traveling through time without leaving your seat-

Le Salon de Musiques


Leticia Marie Sanchez


Photo Left: View of Downtown LA from Le Salon De Musiques, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion

Imagine being able to step into an intimate nineteenth-century musical salon, hear a piece for the very first time, and then engage in spontaneous dialogue with the musicians.

Fortunately, Angelenos now have the opportunity to time travel without leaving Los Angeles, thanks to Le Salon De Musiques, an original salon series created by French pianist and melodist Francois Chouchan.

Chouchan is somewhat of a musical detective, searching for and unearthing brilliant compositions and bringing them to the light of day, much to everyone’s delight.

For instance, at this month’s Salon, Chouchan discovered not one, but two pieces by Xaver Scharwenka, a German composer and pianist famous in his time, but whose works are not often performed often for contemporary audiences. In fact, Chouchan had to wait for one year to obtain the music for Scharwenka’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in D Minor as the score did not exist anymore. Thanks to Chouchan’s tenacity, the audience at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion was able to hear the U.S. Premiere of this beautiful piece as well as the U.S Premiere of Sharwenka’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in E. Minor, Op. 46 A.

The entire afternoon was a revelation of innovative programming.

Although many audiences may have heard the works of Liszt, how many have had the chance to experience this quintessential Romantic composer with vocal accompaniment? At the March salon, Soprano Elissa Johnston performed with equal mastery the Italian Bel Canto of Liszt’s arrangement of the sonnets of Petrarch as well as the German Lieder, culminating in a poignant interpretation of Liebestraum that took this moving piece to new heights. Johnston evinced incredible vocal control, as she balanced the powerful register of her voice with tender, diminuendo moments through her impressive Messa di Voce technique. Pianist Steven Vanhauwaert was the anchor that held together the evening’s programming, skillfully revealing his own lyrical expressionism while allowing the other musicians to shine.  Virtuoso Violinist Guillaume Sutre dominated the Sonata in D Major, creating a mood of melancholy intensity and pathos. Cellist Timothy Landauer demonstrated the raw emotionality inherent in the work of Clara Schumann, at times becoming one with his instrument. Yet, at the same time, Landauer demonstrated seamless precision, particularly with Sutre; another advantage of the intimate salon setting was being allowed to see the rapport and musical dialogue between the musicians, who seemed as though they had been performing together for years, when in fact, each has their own busy, often global concertizing schedule.

Finally, the initial lecture portion of the evening left the audience with amusing musical gems, including the fact that as the world’s “first pop star,” Liszt destroyed pianos regularly, as they had no metal frames. The audience also learned that Liszt invented the idea of sitting in profile; prior to him musicians played with their backs to the audience.

Due to its creative programming, world-class musicians, and intimate salon setting, Le Salon De Musiques is an experience that you do not want to miss!

 Upcoming Salon:

“La Belle Epoque”

Le Salon de Musiques

 April 6th 2014, 4.00 pm

Dorothy Chandler Pavillion

Pantoum Trio

Tereza Stanislav; Violin Cecilia Tsan; Cello, Steven Vanhauwert, Piano, Hae Ji Chang,

Colderidge Taylor; Ballade for Violin and Piano in C Minor Op 73; Benjamin Godard: Two Pieces for Cello and Piano Op 61 (Aubade & Scherzo); Reynaldo Hahn: Violin Sonata in C Minor; Reynaldo Hahn: Songs for Soprano and Piano; Chausson: Piano Trio in G Minor Op 3;

Posted by on March 19th, 2014

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