TROTIGNON Piano Concerto 'Different Spaces'
Born in 1974, the brilliant French jazz composer/pianist Baptiste Trotignon has already won many plaudits both as a gifted solo performer and for his stimulating collaborations with improvisors such as Tom Harrell and Brad Mehldau, as well as with pianists Nicholas Angelich and Alexandre Tharaud.
Commissioned in 2012, the present Piano Concerto was Trotignon’s first large-scale purely orchestral work and bears a dedication to Angelich. Cast in four movements and lasting some 33 minutes, it serves up a feast of tastefully crafted, engagingly fluent and generously lyrical invention (the spirit of the blues is never far away), the writing full of personable warmth, fantasy and flair. To my ears, the Andante religioso slow movement subtly acknowledges its counterpart in Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto – and there are indeed stylistic nods towards the Hungarian master elsewhere. I can also detect Gershwin, Barber, Ellington and Reich, and, closer to the composer’s homeland, Ravel, Poulenc and Dutilleux. What really matters, though, is that Trotignon’s stylish score communicates strongly and without artifice, and it could hardly be more eloquently served than it is here by its thoughtful dedicatee, who in turn receives irreproachably alert backing from the Bordeaux orchestra under Paul Daniel.
Angelich then teams up with Trotignon himself in the Trois Pièces pour deux pianos, whose pulsing outer movements frame a powerfully plangent elegy, while the three solo Préludes form a touching postscript.
Both sound and balance throughout are exemplary. As should be abundantly clear by now, I enjoyed this disc a lot. Do check it out!