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
Alain Lefèvre‘s recording world would not be complete without mentioning the importance of the composer he has become in recent years. Jardin d’Images, his fourth CD featuring his own compositions, is a much-awaited opus after his Blissfully Sleepless. “Intimate letters at the piano” (La Presse), his compositions, much like snapshots of life, are tonal and their pianistic writing, “absolutely gorgeous and musically sophisticated” (Times Argus). With the participation of bassist Michel Donato, drummer Paul Brochu and writer Chrystine Brouillet… in a “whistling” performance!
It is always with the same emotion that I sign a new opus of my compositions, nervous as I am to share with you all their hues. In this picture garden (jardin d’images), I cultivate the imprints and the memories that inhabit my universe; my travels, my encounters, my souvenirs, my crushes, or simply my states of mind. When you listen to it, you will without a doubt see your own garden and images will unfold in front of your eyes or in your mind. This is, I believe, the magic of music…
? Alain Lefèvre
Jour de pluie (A Rainy Day)
We all have our own particular rainy day…
Mine has an English accent, avoids the sun, is eccentric, plays the double bass, draws divinely and wears a wool scarf even in the summer, as long as it is blue! Our friendship has lasted for over 20 years and it never let me down… How we love the rain and its moods.
For my dear friend, Michael McConnell.
Sous le ciel de Cap-Santé (Under the Skyes of Cap-Santé)
It is under the skies of Cap-Santé, nestled along the banks of the St. Lawrence, not far from Quebec City, that I discovered a village of overwhelming beauty, both picturesque and colourful, where, on a cold and windy night, I had the joy of inaugurating the church’s grand piano. Even though it was the fall, this magnificent landscape suddenly reminded me of the Christmas cards of my youth, with their winter scenes filled with skaters. I wasn’t able to leave Cap-Santé without immortalizing in my music the mark of nostalgia it left with me.
For my friends Joëlle Tremblay and Claude Morin.
Ville-Émard la belle (Ville-Émard the Beautiful)
When we moved to Quebec in 1967, my parents picked a house on Jogue Street for us. Despite a difficult childhood in the neighbourhood, I wear Ville-Émard tattooed on my heart and it will always have its place there. Memories come flooding back, some that I would wish to erase, but also some unforgettable: those beautiful outings at Angrignon Park, the rides I took in the alleys on my red bike and my visits to the convenience store, rue Jolicoeur …
For my buddies, Paul Brochu and Michel Donato, two of Quebec’s jazz giants.
The tenderness a mother holds in her heart will never cease to move me, so powerful in its vulnerability, so touching in its protection, even the very first time she puts her hand on her rounded stomach to feel the small creature she already loves, even though she doesn’t yet know him. Fragile strength, her tenderness is undivided and free, in that first role where more often than not she plays second fiddle, so often the only one to understand, the only one to forgive.
For my friend France Chrétien-Desmarais.
Promenade italienne (Italian Promenade)
Milan, 1980, on the stage of the Piccola Scala.
I was giving my first recital in Italy, after the Grand Prix awarded at the Alfred Cortot International Piano Competition. I had performed despite a foot injury that upset my walk. It was at that particular moment that my Italian promenade started, and that I discovered Milan’s Cathedral, the cafés, the fashion stores, the new perfumes and the irresistible charm of the Italians. This piece is not only inspired by that first journey, but also wishes to pay tribute to the Italian cinema.
For my friends Rosi, Claudia, Julia and Gaspare Colletti.
Québec, terre promise (Quebec, Promised Land)
It is by the St. Lawrence Seaway that, after a long transatlantic crossing on a giant liner, I landed on Québécois land for the first time in 1967. I was five, had a French accent and held in my pocket my parents’ dream of “Quebec, the promised land”, born from their numerous readings of the times. It led them to this welcoming place that brought me so much and that I don’t want to leave today. My gratitude goes to the sisters of the Congrégation Notre-Dame for those countless hours on the piano. Thank you my loved ones, my friends, for your loyal support. Thank you, dear public, for your trust.
For my Jojo, the most beautiful gift Quebec has ever given me.
Dis-moi tout (Tell me Everything)
It is the work about all this is left unsaid, all the secrets, the fears of loving, of saying it, proclaiming it, living it. It is also the work about regrets and forgiveness that will never happen. It is the pride that kills love and friendship, the silence that drowns expectations and undermines happiness.
For all those who have lived the unsaid and are paralysed by the fear of words.
Le Panda magique (The Magic Panda)
Starting out as a whim to write a piece to be played exclusively on the black keys, Le Panda magique with its Oriental colours quickly became one of the cornerstones of my own world folklore. I played it as an encore for the first time in Beijing, in September 2006, after a performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the China Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of its conductor, Long Yu.
For my friend André Desmarais.
La Danse des petits lapins (The Dance of the Little Bunnies)
For those who already know the anecdote concerning Lylatov, this piece is dedicated to Kito Barouch and Ginette Lévy, the wonderful couple who saved me from an indifferent and insensitive Paris when I was living in an attic room, alone and penniless. The Dance of the Little Bunnies seems a celebration, a window on life’s sweetness and happiness permitted. It was my first ode to the joy of finding a cozy family cocoon once again. This piece is just like Ginette, bright, witty, cheerful, sensitive, profound and benevolent.
To Ginette from her “Petit Lapin”.
” Fafoune “
She is ravishing, enigmatic, pretentious, intrepid, and irresistible. Far from being independent, Fafoune leads me by the nose, but I accept this sweet tyranny with pleasure and forgive her everything, even the broken pots! All this and more because she purrs and I fall for her… She also wanted “her” piece, after all those hours of complicity spent on my piano. Fafoune is one of the most magnificent Main Coon there is and to celebrate her, the great novelist Chrystine Brouillet, one of my dear friends who shares my passion for cats, brings her exceptional touch to the recording by punctuating the melody with her whistling, accompanied on the double bass by Michel Donato and on the drums by Paul Brochu. A little wink for all cat lovers.
For Danièle and Jean Lacroix, extraordinary and devoted breeders, thanks to whom I have Fafoune.
© Alain Lefèvre
Liner notes in collaboration with Johanne Martineau