Laure Favre-Kahn, piano
Robert Schumann Papillons, Op. 2 Butterflies
Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 29
Impromptu No. 2 in F sharp major, Op. 36
Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op. posth. 66 Fantaisie Impromptu
Etude in C minor, Op. 10 No. 12 Revolutionary
Franz Liszt Consolation No. 3 in D flat major, S. 172
Prelude No. 15 in D flat major, Op. 28 Raindrop
Prelude No. 18 in F minor, Op. 28
Prelude No. 4 in E minor, Op. 28
Prelude No. 24 in D minor, Op. 28
Waltz in A minor, Op. posth.
Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64 No. 1 Minute Waltz
Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2
Waltz in F major, Op. 34 No. 3
I find it hard to believe that I haven’t been to a solo piano concert for months! And the last one that I’ve watched was still way back in October if I’m not mistaken. There had been some other solo piano concerts since then but for one reason or another, I failed to watch any of them. So it was such a delight for me when I received a text message from ROS Music Center informing me of an upcoming concert by French pianist Laure Favre-Kahn.
This concert for the benefit of the Chameleon Association Inc. was organized under FrancoPhil by the Alliance Française de Manille, the Embassy of France to the Philippines and ROS Music Center. So before the performance started, Mr. Ricardo Andrada, President of Chameleon Association Philippines and Ms. Laurence Ligier, Founder and Director of Chameleon Association France delivered opening remarks informing the audience how the association helps neglected and sexually abused girls get back on their feet. They also shared to the audience how Laure Favre-Kahn travels and performs all over the world creating awareness and gathering support for the girls supported by Chameleon.
Then the moment the people have been waiting for came as Favre-Kahn, wearing a flowing black gown, started the concert with Papillons, Op. 2 Butterflies by Robert Schumann. It’s a piece that I’m not totally familiar with and it also doesn't help that I’ve never read Flegeljahre, a novel by Jean Paul Richter which was the inspiration for this piece. So I admit that it was hard for me to form a first impression of Favre-Kahn since she opened the concert with a piece I’ve never had a clear grasp of.
And right after that, she went on to play music by Frédéric Chopin whose works I am very familiar with. She first played Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 29 which wasn’t included at the original programme lineup. Then two more impromptus followed: Impromptu No. 2 in F sharp major, Op. 36 and the popular Fantaisie Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op. posth. 66. The equally popular Etude in C minor, Op. 10 No. 12 also known as the Revolutionary followed.
Favre-Kahn then took a break from Chopin and played Franz Liszt's Consolation No. 3 in D flat major, S. 172. This piece wasn’t also included in the original programme lineup. I find it interesting that even her choice of which Liszt piece to play was in keeping with the mood she had already set with her earlier pieces. And by checking the rest of the pieces that she had prepared to perform, I realized then that the rest of the evening would not be so intense.
Then it was back to Chopin with a set of Four Preludes from Op. 28: Prelude No. 15 in D flat major also known as Raindrop, Prelude No. 18 in F minor, Prelude No. 4 in E minor, and Prelude No. 24 in D minor. She ended the concert with yet more Chopin through a set of Four Waltzes: Waltz in A minor, Op. posth., Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64 No. 1 Minute Waltz, Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2, Waltz in F major, Op. 34 No. 3. As an encore, she performed the Prelude from Prelude and Nocturne for the Left Hand, Op. 9 by Alexander Scriabin.
I admit that I was not too excited about her programme when I first saw it since it wasn’t as diverse as I hoped it would be. I love Chopin and but I wished that she could’ve played something more different. But considering how the days before the concert were marked by intolerable heat, the concert programme somehow managed to cool things down a bit. And I couldn’t have asked for anything else so it worked out well in the end.
Favre-Kahn performed generally well and there were some times when I found her interpretation quite interesting. There were a handful of pieces that I could play and it was indeed interesting how different hers was compared to mine and I would’ve loved to have the opportunity to ask her why she played a certain piece, like the Waltz in C sharp minor for example, that way. Her Prelude No. 4 which I've learned to appreciate just recently left me enchanted. And I was glad nonetheless for her choice of an encore piece since I haven’t heard this Scriabin piece before and it was just sublime.
I also noticed that she tried to contain her coughs in between pieces and I wondered if she was 100% well that night. It somehow gave an impression of her performance being on the verge of actually breaking down and I found that vulnerability and delicateness strangely appealing. Despite this, she was in high spirits when she met the audience after the concert and signed autographs, posed for photos and was interviewed by a television station.
|Laure Favre-Kahn greets the audience after the concert|
|RAd with Laure Favre-Kahn|
Text by RAd
Photos by Ray Sison