Antoine Hervé: Piano
Isabelle Poinloup: Soprano
Véronique Wilmart: Keyboard - Electronics
The theme of the 26th "Saoû chante Mozart" festival being "Mozart's modernity", it only made sense that some adventurous musicians would take a few works from the Viennese composer's œuvre and play around with them a bit. And what better musician than highly regarded jazz composer and pianist Antoine Hervé to take on this challenging but exciting endeavor? Especially as he had brought with him his two frequent music partners soprano Isabelle Poinloup and electronics player Véronique Wilmart.
So after the unquestionably classical concert with Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble that had officially opened the festival earlier in the evening, and a pleasant break at a nearby café, friends, family and I were back in Dieulefit's Parc de la Baume as night was leisurely falling and the air blissfully cooling off for a new foray into Mozartian territory, this time with a unique cocktail of classical, jazzy and electronic sounds... and some decidedly tireless crickets.
Mozart famously accomplished wonders with the piano in his times, and on Saturday night Antoine Hervé, who happens to be blessed with a boundless explorative spirit and impressive technical chops, proved himself to be quite the debonair virtuoso of our times. In fact, we originally thought that we would gladly spend the evening listening to him alone, but as Isabelle Poinloup joined in we quickly realized what we would have missed, and that would have been an awful lot indeed.
Beside the incongruous and unnecessary shorts-jacket-ponytails look and forced acting, her voice was bright and attractive, with the right amount of smokiness when needed, endlessly versatile and always unperturbedly focused. Whether nonchalantly be-bopping or intensely belting out, she turned out to be the vibrantly vital element of the trio and seemed to be having a lot of fun in the process.
My natural distrust of electronics when it comes to music was not swayed by the obviously competent and totally game Véronique Wilmart. Although she did manage to create brazenly innovative sounds, their lack of relatable quality or intrinsic musical value made this more modern component of the group an occasionally perky gimmick and, as far as I am concerned, not much else.
The last song of the concert, a captivating bluesy take on Lacrimosa from the Requiem, beautifully summarized and wrapped up the intriguing experiment, which concluded on a strongly satisfying note before the park eventually returned to its naturally dark and quiet state.