Hailed as a “hero” (Los Angeles Times), a “smashing” performer (The Washington Post), “a pianist who breaks the mold” (International Piano) and “who stands out from the typical trends and artifices [...]
They spoke about it
in a boogie-woogie form, and many other things…
His name was Bob. A very sociable guy, he was basically part of the family. For him, all music, regardless of style, was related to boogie-woogie. It was the genesis of everything that could be played. His left hand fascinated me especially. “Bob, how do you play so fast?” “That’s not what’s important, kid,” he replied, “it’s the chords.” I’ve never forgotten it. He was a vital figure in my quest to understand the mysteries of music. I wrote these preludes with him in mind, and while they have little in common with what he played back then, his memory has stayed with me all my life.
Although others, famous in their day and even more so today, have composed their own 24 preludes, I dared this undertaking because I do not feel as though I have copied anyone. I also humbly believe that writing them has been a personal and honest process. Why 24? One for each of the major and minor keys in the tonal system—and I accept and lay claim to the label of tonal composer. Which is not to say that my writing style is like that of centuries past, nor that I have rejected schools that broke with traditional tonality. I simply feel more in tune with myself this way. That said, I do believe that this music, composed in earnest, is contemporary. In some respects, it draws inspiration from jazz, pop music, and the broad repertoire of French piano music; it is both all of that and none of it.
Mastering the language of each of these pieces requires a sustained effort and great attention from the performer. It is a challenge to which Alain Lefèvre rose brilliantly. For this, he has my thanks and appreciation as a friend.
© François Dompierre
Translation: Peter Christensen
Premiered on July 14, 2012, at the Lanaudière Festival, in front of a record crowd of nearly 7 000, François Dompierre’s work has received the warmest of welcomes, both from the audience and the critics. The day after the premiere, Claude Gingras of La Presse didn’t hesitate to title his review: «Dompierre and Lefèvre: a triumph!»