Eric Himy

La Provence
Marseille, France
Spectacles: Classique
Monday, November 5, 2001

Eric Himy: a Ravel of Fire

Pending a recording of a collection of Ravel in the USA (1), the American pianist Eric Himy has returned to the “Moments Musicaux de Notre-Dame” at the invitation of Christiane Berlandini for a recital devoted to several works of the French composer. His form unchanged: an incredible vitality and an enthusiasm for impeccable playing. His general conception is far from any “impressionism”. A Ravel reflecting the very passion that inspires this interpreter.

This pianist elicits the images, molds the sounds, projects generously the colors. And he'll give its due, with the same emotional current, to a thoughtful low-pitched lento as to the crystalline brilliance of a shower of high notes. A magnificently devouring piano galloping through the notes, but with the reins held rigorously.

The five pieces of Miroirs, an almost comprehensive set of a kind of unique esthetic and play, from the fluttering Noctuelles to La Vallée des Cloches, passing by Oiseaux Tristes with rustling wings nevertheless, and Une Barque sur l’Ocean with its dramatic swells of the sea, and then still the even more famous Alborada del Gracioso with its staccato rhythm, preceded the startling triptych Gaspard de la Nuit: with the streaming waters of Ondine, the grim obsession of Gibet and the frenzied Scarbo with the demoniac virtuosity of Mr. Himy. " ..his dazzling vision equaled and at times even surpassed some more famous interpretations (Argerich, François…). "

More quiet waters ahead then with Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn, Pavane pour une Infante Defunte and Pièce en forme d’Habanera, quite a useful break before La Valse, in a transcription made by Eric Himy. It carries us away from a small whirlwind to that of a musical tornado. Sumptuously convulsive, exploding visions of extreme exhilaration reeling into raptures of delight. Therefore irresistible…indeed Mr. Himy succeeded in recapturing all the atmosphere of a full orchestra!

After such a demonstration and summoning of his resources, Eric Himy could have laid claim to a rest. Indeed! He offered six encores: Prelude, by Ravel, Nocturne, by Chopin , Le Chat, (a composition by Himy inspired by a poem of Baudelaire), Ritual Fire Dance by de Falla, Melodie d’Orphée by Gluck and Summertime by Gershwin/Wild.

Georges Gallician
(1) Ivory Classics, distributed by Naxos