Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

French Pianist Never Tires of Saint-Saens Concerto Pascal Roge: No. 2 Composer's Best

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

French Pianist Never Tires of Saint-Saens Concerto Pascal Roge: No. 2 Composer's Best

Article excerpt

Byline: Jaimie Wilson, Times-Union staff writer

Camille Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto No. 2 is a jewel among the world's concertos for French pianist Pascal Roge. Because of its many facets of orchestral color and brilliance, Roge is sure that the piece will shine during its upcoming Masterworks setting.

Roge, winner of two Gramophone awards, will make his debut with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Thursday during "Fabio & Pascal." Roge has played and is very familiar with all five of Saint-Saens' concertos and much of his chamber music, but said the Piano Concerto No. 2 stands out above the rest though it is not without its challenges.

"It's brilliance," Roge said. "Saint-Saens was a child prodigy and had a fantastic technique, so everything he wrote for piano is very demanding in technique. He wrote that piece in less than two weeks, which is quite amazing considering it is such a brilliant piece of music. One can go through the aspects of the piece almost all day, there are so many different sides of Saint-Saens in that concerto."

The richness of the work has earned Piano Concerto No. 2 a strong place in classic repertoire, and though Roge has played it all over the world, its intricacies have kept the pianist intrigued and in love with its sound.

"I know it is an effective piece because it talks directly to the heart. It has very simple melodies and very regular harmonies," he said. "I think it is music which makes you in a good mood, and it is one of those pieces you never get tired of because of all its aspects. I know I can always express myself through it."

That expression never remains the same, though. Each time Roge sets his hands to the keys, he opens himself up to the circumstances that influence the piece's emotional expression and make each performance unique. The acoustics of Jacoby Hall at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts will play a part, as will the orchestra and conductor Fabio Mechetti.

"I always have pictures in my head when I play, but they are not always the same. It is always changing," Roge said. "I always leave a part of freedom and flexibility to circumstances and what the conductor's interpretation might be. …

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