The Last One

My last blog post
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This morning I was trying to remember my first post ever. Even before I had WordPress installed, which has been my CMS for many years now. It was on January 24th, 2007 something about SACEM (The French ASCAP), the complexity of its royalties system and how it was making it difficult for us to play contemporary music. The blog was then bilingual (French and.. Frenglish?). I was so proud of publishing something for the first time! 7 years and several hundreds posts later, here I am; a completely different musician and man in a completely different place.

In a way, blogging saved me: it forced me to evolve and get out of my comfort zone. The psycho-therapeutic effect was undeniable: I could get out anything that was bothering me, it was a place to express views that I knew I couldn’t express otherwise, try out ideas. I would say that it has worked better than a shrink in difficult times. It stimulated my thinking, helped me organize my ideas and define myself.

Thanks to this blog, I met fantastic people who energized and influenced me in a positive way. Some of them are now friends or close collaborators, some virtually vanished and others left us for good. It’s probably a good time to thank them for their input, for telling me when I was writing mere bullshits, when I was wrong, when I didn’t think about it enough. Thank you for your support in good times as well as bad ones. Thank you for helping me grow.

Right after I published these three posts last autumn I somehow felt it was the end of the road. In a way, the story of this blog is my transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, from a crawling shy musician to a flying confident pianist. I tried to keep the blog running but it doesn’t feel natural anymore.

My life as a musician has changed tremendously in the last months. I have lots of exciting projects and collaborations piling up, I need to finish what I have started and focus on future projects. I’d like to record more albums each year. There is this book I’d like to finish. There is this first modest documentary film I’d like to produce in a near future. And there is my life outside the musical scope I’d like to enjoy a little more.

I could keep the blog and write occasionally, when I have time. I don’t think it is a good idea: many music blogs end that way, in a long agony of sporadic posts nobody reads anymore. It’s sad. Instead, I’ll publish my pieces elsewhere when I feel the urge to write something short and opinionated about a particular topic.

So what’s next? No, I won’t delete every single post and turn them into an eBook at $2.99. The blog will stay on-line but won’t be updated anymore. It might help some people, and maybe, at some point, I’ll come back to blogging, who knows? The RSS feed will now display webnews items, so keep it in your reader! The better way to get updates (and a bit of my writing too 😉 ) is to subscribe to my awesome monthly newsletter: here is the link.

I’m a little sad to let go this blog which has been one of my oldest companion and one of the achievements I’m the most proud of. But at the same time, it’s exciting to turn a page, be involved in great projects and take on new challenges.

Ravel – L’enfant et les sortilèges: Fantaisie lyrique en deux parties

Maurice Ravel
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You already know I’m a fan of Ravel’s work and it’s more than time to feature him in this Listen To This! series. Time to discover THE piece I was singing at the top of my lungs when I was a child. I now thank my parents for their patience: I’ve never been a good singer and my intonation is quite approximate, especially when it comes to singing some very challenging airs from this little gem… Read more …

Dealing With Stage Fright and Nerves, my 2 essential tips.

Stage fright is the most popular fear for a musician
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It has been somehow difficult to write lately. I’ve been staring at a blinking cursor for the past two weeks. It reminded me that when I was a little boy, stage fright looked like this kind of writer’s block. It was very similar to a CPU overload: everything froze, and while staring at the piano without any good reason, a lot of interesting and useful thoughts came through my mind but I was truly unable to take action, and resume playing. As if my brain shut down. Not that I made a mistake or something, it just happened. Probably something triggered that “freeze” but I never found out what. Read more …

Stephen Kovacevich – Beethoven – Diabelli Variations (2009)

Stephen Kovacevich
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I literally have dozens of interpretations of these Diabelli Variations. This is of course a masterpiece and Beethoven’s last large-scale piece for piano. Only a genius like Beethoven could turn this banal Waltz by Diabelli in a breathtaking piece like this.

It took me three solid years to fancy his new version of these variations. I didn’t know the 1968 version so I wasn’t expecting anything from this one, and frankly, my first thought when listening to it was: What the heck happened to him? And the album went back to its box. I probably put it in the player once a year, with always the same strange feeling.

Not so long ago, I made one more trial, I got one of these aha moments, and it suddenly made sense to my hears. So far, my listening with these variations had been so very uptight and conservative that it kind of ruined the whole thing. My views on Beethoven have changed a lot during the last years, and I certainly needed this maturation period to appreciate it

Truth is that it won’t probably please people who like a classical, very conservative and almost religious approach of Beethoven. Nevertheless, I’m glad I could find the right time for me to listen to this recording and it has become now one of my favorite versions! Happy listening!