Tonight, the world-renowned pianist and conductor Pascal Rogé will perform creations by Claude Debussy and Francis Poulenc in the Morse Recital Hall, providing the Yale community with a snapshot into French musical history.
Rogé has been invited to Yale as part of the Horowitz Piano Series, a program of musical exploration organized by the Yale School of Music that aims to bring to New Haven the world’s greatest keyboard maestri. In the past, musical legends such as Leon Fleischer, Emmanuel Ax and Radu Lupu have played at Yale as part of this project.
Professor Melvin Chen, deputy dean of the Yale School of Music, said that Rogé, an expert in 20th-century French classical music, will bring a “new perspective” to the listeners, as the repertoire he will play may not be entirely familiar to some audience members.
The recital will begin with Debussy’s “Suite Bergamasque,” an oeuvre consisting of four individual pieces, one of which is the “Claire de Lune” — the composer’s best-known piece. This will be followed by Book One of Debussy’s “Préludes.” Rogé will finish his recital with a piece entitled “Les Soirées de Nazelles” by Francis Poulenc — one of the artists with whom he is most familiar — a solo piano work created as the product of an improvisation in the early 1930s. These pieces are all so-called character pieces intended to evoke a specific idea or concept with the audience, Chen said, adding that Rogé’s niche familiarity with the French composer Poulenc was one of the major reasons he was asked to perform at the Music School.
“There is a lightness and transparency in [Rogé’s] sound which is extremely appropriate for this kind of music,” said Yevgeny Yontov MUS ’14 of Rogé’s style, adding that he thinks the musician’s technique allows for an interweaving of elegance and emotion, creating a gentle yet powerful appeal to the physical senses.
Rogé will also be holding a master class — a small seminar for graduate students in the School of Music — on Thursday morning. This will allow the students to work closely with Rogé, Chen said, adding that he thinks the experience will inspire them and teach them things which they would not otherwise have had the opportunity to learn. Gaining such in-depth insight into the genre and the instrument itself in a one-on-one session is invaluable, he explained.
“He’s in his 60s, he’s played all over the world with the greatest orchestras in Europe and the United States — it’s a really fantastic opportunity to hear a major artist,” Chen said. “You know, you don’t have to go to Carnegie Hall to listen to this kind of pianist. Just walk down the street.”
The Horowitz Piano Series was founded in 1989 in honor of the late pianist Vladimir Horowitz.