When you’ re having a rough start to the day or feeling drowsy in the afternoon, you can drink a strong cup of coffee, do some push-ups or start the free YouTube film Swing, Sing and Think, in which David Fray plays Bach concertos. The energy, zest for life and exuberant joy that immediately takes over, confirming every time that yes, this is what life is worth living for: the all-encompassing power of art, and within it, music.
In the comments below the video, many people say they have watched this film about a thousand times. It’s hard to pinpoint what it is about David Fray’s performance that makes such a strong impression. He exudes passion, humour, devotion, depth, sensitivity and intellect all at once. Some have compared him to Glenn Gould, others have even contrasted Fray’s wild, life-affirming liberality with Gould’s precise, ascetic profundity.
David Fray has repeatedly said that his most important goal is to make the piano ‘sing and speak’ – perhaps this is what makes his playing so human and brings him close to the audience.
It is a pity that a similar film of Beethoven’s concertos has not been made, because then there would be something to tune into for David Fray’s concert in Budapest. The young French pianist will arrive in Hungary in April to play Beethoven with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and his fellow soloists Kristóf Baráti and István Várdai at the Bartók Spring Festival. One of the most eagerly awaited concerts of the season will take place on 14 April at Müpa Budapest, and the programme will include two of the most popular pieces from the concerto repertoire: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor and his Triple Concerto in C major.
Fans of music in Budapest may recall that Fray played Beethoven in Budapest in May 2015, when he performed the Piano Concerto No 2 with the Budapest Festival Orchestra to rapturous acclaim. But in this concert, with the only Beethoven piano concerto in a minor key, Fray will show how he interprets perhaps the most profound and extreme Beethoven concerto that most of us in this country have come to know in Annie Fischer’s incomparable interpretation. Then comes the glittering, monumental Triple Concerto, composed in the tone of light, where Fray will showcase his brilliant talents alongside two accomplished Hungarian string soloists.
Article: Zsuzsanna Deák
Translation: Nóra Fehér