Welcome return of a hero

Jacques Loussier Trio, Snape Maltings, August 12Jacques Loussier was already a hero among my university friends 40 years ago and it was there that I first heard him (on vinyl).

Jacques Loussier Trio, Snape Maltings, August 12

Jacques Loussier was already a hero among my university friends 40 years ago and it was there that I first heard him (on vinyl). To judge from the capacity audience at Snape on Sunday he remains a legend to that generation. His brief introductions with their wry charm somehow encapsulated that era.

The gentle opening of the C major prelude of the Well Tempered Klavier book set a quietly expectant mood into which Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac gently eased his way on bass before launching into a spectacular solo display in the second piece. Every conceivable technique was employed and note(s) created and the visual impact was riveting.

'A very well known piece' (Air on the G-string or the Hamlet TV advert, according to your cultural ranking), was followed by the fifth Brandenburg Concerto, the clever syncopations and the superb drum display from Andre Arpino in the first movement taking us to the interval.


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Loussier is always associated with Bach and for many years he held back from exploring other composers but he has come to believe that all music is ripe for reinvention and the trio's reworking of Vivaldi's Summer was superbly energetic, Loussier's fingerwork well up to the original violin figurations. Yet for me, the most arresting performance was that of Ravel's Bolero, the trio moving into a world of unusual instruments and exotic orchestration and holding the audience spellbound as Arpino slowly turned up the tension.

There was no mistaking the appreciation and affection for these superb musicians at the end.

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Gareth Jones

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