Tarbes. Tarbes pianist David Fray on the track of Johann Sebastian Bach

the essential
The Tarbes pianist David Fray has just released a new album where he performs the “Goldberg Variations”, by Johann Sebastien Bach (1). The recording took place last June at the Piétat chapel, a stone’s throw from his family home in Barbazan-Debat.

The mythical work of Johann Sebastien Bach is dear to the famous pianist David Fray. Just like the place, “his” chapel, which he chose to record this new album. “This immense work is above all a long journey whose resolution also happens to be the beginning. The question then arises: is it a resolution or an eternal restart?”, Writes the pianist on the cover of this record released just a month ago by Warner Classics / Erato, his record company since 2015. Why change it when everything is going well? But, at the age of forty, David Fray still had a desire for renewal and it is in his repertoire that he gives substance to this new artistic maturity.

“This work is described as extremely difficult, already by its duration, that is to say an hour and a half. It is a real challenge to play it. But more than the spectacular side, what interested me is this initiatory journey that makes us think “, explains David Fray. However, he waited until he was forty to get down to it. “The Canadian pianist, Glenn Gould, had recorded it several times, he had a kind of monopoly on this work. When I was young, I listened to him play but I did not think of playing it myself one day”, he confides. Until this concert in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where our Bigourdan virtuoso was asked to perform this masterpiece in the history of classical music.

“It had to be a sign,” he slips. “I am at an age where I want to surprise and surprise myself. I am passionate about this work, we are absorbed by the music, it becomes part of us. It is a continuity built like a cycle of life that never stops “, analyzes the young quadra at the dawn of a new cycle of his own life which, however, wants to fall into the autobiography. “It is a work that is rediscovered each time it is played, a bit like” Le temps perdus “by Proust”, he invites music lovers.

The performer himself freed himself from his previous “readings” to reappropriate the dimension of the work, and with the main concern “that the links between the thirty variations be neat”. “I forgot everything I knew. I put things down to look at them with a new eye. And give a vision of my life today. I just turned forty. C ‘was the right moment. Bach is a sort of culmination, “he confesses with his usual optimism and daring.

It was also a daring choice to register it in a small village at the foot of the Pyrenees. “I have recorded almost all of my albums outside of recording studios. The Piétat chapel is particularly close to my heart. I often went there as a child and its acoustics are perfectly suited for this repertoire”, praises the child of the Country who also counts. come back for the second edition of its l’Offrande Musicale festival (June 29-July 11, 2022). Until then, David Fray will continue his tour, mainly in Europe because of the health context. But at the end of the year, priority to the family and to the Christmas celebrations that he spends in Italy, in the family of his wife, the Italian actress Chiara Muti. “I also continue to work, the holidays are the best time to discover new works”, he enthuses.

(1) Available at all bookstores and record stores.