You are currently viewing Pianist Aurèle Marthan pays tribute to Guéthary, his native village on the Basque coast

Pianist Aurèle Marthan pays tribute to Guéthary, his native village on the Basque coast

Guethary? Not the singer (Georges, who was Greek and not Basque and whose pseudonym was written without “h”), but the village on the Basque coast. A child of the country, the pianist Aurèle Marthan, who created a small festival there, pays homage to the place and the region with an eminently original program which begins with Philip Glass and ends with a transcription of the French rock group La Femme (based in Biarritz). And who, hang in there, goes through a contemporary French composer (David Chalmin, who signs a pretty piece precisely titled Guethary), by Ravel (the concerto in G, in a lovely arrangement for piano and small ensemble – including an accordion), Saint-Saëns (the Aquarium of Animal Carnival), Stravinsky (who was also seduced by the region), François Couperin (The Basque obviously!), a few Spanish composers (Albeniz, Donosta, Iglesias – Alberto, not Julio, anyway – or Sarasate), two composers of film music (Richter and Amar) and even The Savages by Rameau.

Why The Savages ? Because, explains Marthan nicely, they make him think of the surfers of the famous waves of the Basque Country, as well as in California. And, suddenly, the French pianist also offers a transcription of Hotel California of the Eagles.

Listed in this way, this sequence in the form of an inventory à la Prévert could seem incoherent, even pedantic. It is not so: the pieces follow one another almost without silences between them, it is played with a modest and refined expressiveness, and the trip turns out to be most pleasant. Like a sailboat moving slowly on a sea of ​​oil…

Too bad for surfers.

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