Focus on the suffering of pianist David Jalbert

On Thursday evening, pianist David Jalbert kicked off the Atma-Livetoune film concert series at Bourgie Hall. The most active and diverse record label in Quebec has been taken over by Ad Litteram and its director Guillaume Lombart, with expertise in webcasting through the Livetoune platform.

The goal is to broadcast concerts in connection with discographic releases. Atma seeks to increase the international notoriety of Canadian artists in its catalog by integrating a video component. The CD of Seven Last Words of Christ by David Jalbert was released on September 11. It is an excellent musical fit for those looking for a keyboard version of this more eloquent work in its version for quartet or string orchestra, or even in its transcription into oratorio. The logical declination on the keyboard is rather found on the pianoforte, for example with Ronald Brautigam (Bis). And whoever wants to go to more original countries will listen to Alexei Lubimov and his tangent piano. The relentless, flawless tone of the modern piano almost sounds like “another transcription.”

See music to hear it less well

The direct, for the presentation of which Matthieu Dugal replaced Katerine Verebely, had no hitch. If going to the concert was a bit tricky (the link sent to a comedian’s show broadcast the day before), once on the way, the sound was impeccable and the capture within the standards of the trade.

The Livetoune platform does not offer the choice of video definition and does not specify what the broadcast quality is. We thought we were perceiving 720p. A live chat with the moderator of the event did not tell us any further.

The essential full screen button at the bottom right is not very visible and very difficult to access. It hides behind the chat tools. But we’re getting there.

There are small details to perfect. Advertising screens are embedded until very shortly before the start. We do not feel like arriving in the concert hall and the reception of the video spectator lacks warmth and atmosphere. However, he is sent the program of the event in the afternoon; very nice idea. Visually, the parameters should be better controlled: so the front seat in the middle should be preempted by a spectator known to the film crew. For this concert, the recurring appearance of a big hairy head in the middle almost became a ” running gag “.

There remains the last point, the most important: do all concerts deserve the magnifying glass of the camera? If the “Met Live in HD” experience allows you to have another vision of an opera performance, it is not at all obvious that seeing a pianist so closely helps listening and perception. music. On the contrary !

David Jalbert is the type to deeply feel the music he plays. The Seven Last Words of Christ become more or less the display of his internalized suffering in front of the camera. From a distance to the first balcony, it will work if it allows him to “enter his bubble”. But seeing this ritual for an hour in the face on a screen, it “breaks the party”, if indeed we can write this pious and deep meditation.

Some may enter into communion with music thanks to these facial expressions. So much the better. We don’t. The question “seeing music to hear it less well” is obviously likely to arise again, because the genre is ungrateful. It is perhaps not for nothing that the paid music video (laserdisc, VHS, pay per view TV, DVD, Blu-ray) has been recording flop on flop on flop for 30 years.

The Seven Last Words of Christ

Work by Joseph Haydn (piano transcription). David Jalbert (piano). Bourgie Hall, Thursday September 24, 2020. Critique of the live broadcast on Livetoune.

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