Pianist Claire-Marie Le Guay, Thursday music transmitter in Ettelbruck
He opened, starting Thursday in Ettelbruck, a festival dedicated to Franz Liszt, and just released his second book. French pianist Claire-Marie Le Guay talks about the importance of transmission, which she maintains in her various musical practices.
We find her long blonde hair and elegant style almost everywhere: behind the piano, of course, and on the international stage she radiates with her playing in the studio, where she’s recorded some twenty albums since the 1990s.
In festivals, as artistic director (from Dinard). And at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Paris (CNSMDP) where, among other things, she works for musical influence through projects that bring together culture and education.
Amazingly, since 2018, he is also a writer. With two books to his credit: Life is more beautiful in music and At night it is so beautiful to believe in the light. The latter, released in late 2022, which he approaches as a “written concert” through the stories of five legendary composers (Mozart, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Mahler and Liszt) and a clever QR code, he continues what he’s always done. : transmit his enthusiasm to as many people as possible.
In short, decompartmentalization is, again and again, a classic. Before the opening concert of the Liszt+ piano festival, tomorrow at CAPe, Claire-Marie Le Guay speaks to the public, writes, shares. And emotions.
How can you write?
Claire-Marie Le Guay: The desire to write has always been with me, in a somewhat secret way. It materialized in broad daylight by meeting Christophe Absi, publisher at Flammarion, a huge music lover. He came to find me with the idea of providing a path of discovery and reinvention through the voice of a musician.
You are a pianist, teacher, festival director… Is writing a specialty missing from your palette?
This is the convergence point! Writing is a form of transmission, like teaching. Writing a book is like putting together a music program. Preparing for a concert, again, means targeting the audience, and that’s the approach I take when I write. Reaching the music realm is driving! The path that I had the opportunity to walk, this life that I live, I want to share it with readers as much as with listeners.
Why is this idea of transmission so present, so powerful to you?
Maybe to promote this amazing music, which I really love, which is a part of who I am. We musicians have a role to play: to let people discover this wealth. Moreover, through my various activities, I managed to reach different audiences.
Sometimes people call me and say “but classical music is great! “. We recognize a wide range of emotions, styles and eras. It can be romantic, baroque, contemporary… Musicians, like music lovers, know how valuable it is to know. I hope others will think the same.
Is that also why, in your latest book, you support your thoughts and impressions with a listening link, available via a simple QR code?
Behind the words, the main object is still music. The presence of a QR code makes it possible to hear what it is about. If we are at a very important biography of a composer, at a turning point in his life, we can hear about it right away. Talking about music is great, but listening to it is even better! He is the center of everything.
This idea of sharing, is it even more sensitive when you play the piano, a solitary instrument?
When you choose the piano is right, it’s because you have a rather aloof character. But above all it is a self contained instrument! It has everything: bass, treble, you can play it loud or soft… It’s like an orchestra in itself. He could say everything, tell everything! It is through this potential with him that sharing makes sense. Because, once again, it is very important, even essential, to trigger a musical spark.
If we cut ties with the public, everything becomes barren, dry. There is no more life
Does this loneliness, once again, connect music practice and writing?
Writing, playing music, working on musical instruments, actually necessary to separate oneself from the world. You have to enter the bubble of concentration and requirements. Repeating the same parts over and over to make it better, to perfect your moves, it’s real work on yourself.
On the other hand, at the same time, we are always preparing for meetings with other people, the public. That’s why the covid period was painful: if we break this chain, this relationship, everything becomes barren, dry. There is no more life. We never made music for ourselves.
Do you want to feel as comfortable with a pen in your hand as you are behind a piano?
(he thinks) It’s very different, and for a very specific reason: the relationship to time. When you give a concert, when you play, those are the most important moments, in the sense that you can’t go back. When you write a book, sentences follow one another, change, disappear, return…
After that, we must not forget that I am a pianist first and foremost! Moreover, I write a bit like an interpreter: my writing is colored by a form of interpretation, which is observed in the choices and lighting I make of this or that composer.
I love sneaking into Liszt’s fingerprints. i feel comfortable there…
In your two books you talk a lot about emotion. Is there anything stronger than the “living”?
The term “life” is well chosen: it is this side of life that is so powerful, so powerful, so intense.
In your latest work, five composers “bring” the book to life, but one is slightly more important than the others: Franz Liszt. You’ve dedicated four albums to it. What’s special for you?
He is an interesting character and an extraordinary pianist who arrived at a pivotal moment in my life: my first record Transcendent Execution Studies, which made me famous; basic meeting with conductor Louis Langrée for two concerts…
His music is full of life, love, for women, for God. He embodied something very powerful and inspiring. I love sneaking into his handprints. i feel comfortable there…
How does the music suit you?
It’s kind of hard to put into words, but I’m still very attached to certain elements of his music: generosity, passion, energy… There is also, in him, a side that is worldly and spiritual. It is this wealth that appeals to me, and the source from which we can all draw it.
Do you dream of a full life?
Clear! We often say that you can’t have everything in life, but I feel like Liszt has. She is proof that anything is possible, and that one can aspire to be both religious and tangible, stellar and anonymous… She is an example to me! In this sense, the opening of the festival dedicated to him is especially touching. An honor even.
CAPe – Ettelbrück.
As part of the Liszt+ piano festival.
Life is more beautiful in music (2018)
and At night it is so beautiful to believe in the light (2022),
by Claire-Marie Le Guay. Flamarions.