Toon Coussement, Joris Verdoodt, Gino Bulcke

A major part of the works for piano written by composer Carl Czerny (1791-1857) is a remarkable artistic feat: the mechanization of both the playing of the piano and the process of composing itself. Playing the piano is reduced to the development of a supple finger technique. These studies (sometimes literally called études de mécanisme) are lacking in all compositional pretence. They officially served only as preparation for the real work. Pianists such as Liszt and Chopin fanatically immersed themselves in this modernist training programme and thus created the phenomenon of the 19th-century virtuoso. The magic of the piano recital also had to do with the new grand piano, an instrument with highly ingenious hidden internal mechanics.

During this concert, a number of compositions by Czerny will engage in dialogue with Frederik Croene’s Le Piano Démécanisé, in which the piano is stripped of its mechanical components. The digital mechanics of the personal computer weaves the two concepts together with virtual synchronicity. The concept of Le Piano Démécanisé sabotages bot h the instrument and the academic training of the pianist. When this intuitive, de-mechanized music is overlaid on the mechanical Czerny etudes, this – in theory – creates a sublime piano romance. The grand piano produces the rational structures of extreme virtuosity, while Le Piano Démécanisé fertilizes that rigid character with the highly sensual, unhindered resonances from the primitive underbelly of the piano.

supported by Logos Foundation (Kristof Lauwers)