Live Review: Pascal Roge, RCS, Glasgow
Published on 17 April 2015
Pascal Roge, RCS, Glasgow
IN a self-indulgent sense, Friday lunchtime's tribute concert to the music of Francis Poulenc seemed to me one of the least-appropriately situated concerts I have attended. We should have been in a bar. We should have been drinking red wine and smoking pungent French fags (is one allowed to say that these days)? And in a perfect world we'd be beside the Seine and we'd have lunched, before the show, on a croque monsieur, or, if you like yours with a fried egg on top, the Madame of the species.
In the spirit of the place, the culture, and the unique French-ness of every nuance of Poulenc's utterly-French music, rolled out on Friday by the great Frenchman Pascal Roge in a delicious confection, as an unbroken continuum, we'd have proceeded, from lunch and music, in a thoroughly Gallic manner, to a passionate intellectual debate about what it is that makes French music, not least that of the engaging Francis Poulenc, so inimitably and unmistakably French.
Most of the answers lay in Roge's splendid recital, which richly-characterised and captured the flavours, accents and colours, from sentiment to wit, grace and charm, that were peppered through the selection of Mouvements perpetuels, Novelettes and, not least, the characterful Soirees de Nazelles. But there was more in Roge's playing: did you spot the freedom of form he found within the classical outlines of Ravel's Sonatine? There was something very French in it. And above all, did you notice the complete absence of percussive touch in the first of Satie's Gymnopedies? Is there a different concept of touch in this music? You tell me.