Cambridge-based French pianist Patrick Hemmerlé will perform Fantasies by Schubert and Schumann for the Festival of Chichester.
His programme, on Tuesday, June 27 at 1.10pm in Chichester Cathedral, reflects his recent and growing interest in the German composers.
“Over the last few years, I have concentrated a lot of my attention on German music, Beethoven and Bach and Schumann and Schubert. I can’t really explain it. It has just seemed to converge that way. It has seemed that all the things I really wanted to do, 90 per cent of them were German.”
And there is something characteristically German that unites them: “It is something in the way the music is structured. There is something decidedly German there either in the Romantic music where Germany was particularly strong or in Bach. There is no way that Schumann or Schubert could be anything other than German or Viennese.
“For Chichester, I was required to do a 50-minute programme, and these two Fantasies are interesting in comparison, in the way both were in the shadow of Beethoven and very much influenced by him. They were trying very hard to conceive grand works for the piano, very much in the later Beethoven style, but their natures were very much orientated towards smaller forms.”
To an extent, in these pieces, Schumann and Schubert were going against their own instincts: “But it is interesting to see how they solve the problems in the pieces. Both of them find some quite original solutions. Neither piece is entirely free of problems, but they are still compelling because their composers were pushed slightly out of their comfort zones by what they felt they had to do by being successors of Beethoven. The Schumann is early period. Everything with Schubert is early period because he died when he was 31.
“The problem is Beethoven was central to the whole of the 19th century, at least in Germany. Beethoven was so important. He changed so much the course of music that composers could no longer write in the way they would have done before. He made some very important contributions to the sonata form that he had to be taken into account by composers after him. It was quite a heavy load to bear!”
Patrick has given concerts in halls across Europe and North America. Festivals and prizes include Les Aigues-Mort, Valencia, Grossetto and Paris.
Free admission, with retiring collection in aid of the Chichester Cathedral Restoration & Development Trust.
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