F. Liszt :: Jeux d' eau a la villa d' Este

As with the 50th video, I wanted to give you something special, a glimpse in the archives of my musical past.

No editing here, just as is sounded an evening in late July 2008.

That concert was a very symbolic one. I explain to you in a minute why, but let me give you the program of that evening:

1. César Franck: Prélude, choral and fugue
2. Franz Liszt: 3ième années de pélérinage.

So this track is from the Liszt cycle, and maybe one of his most known pieces. It reflects the sound of all the waterfalls at the beautiful gardens of the Villa d'Este, near Rome, at that time one of many places where Liszt could come and go whenever he wanted. The 3ième années is fairly late, composed in 1877 and published only in 1882. It is music close to my heart.

So why was this concert symbolic?

When I left Amsterdam with a degree of both organ and piano, and moved back to Belgium in 1998, I soon after fell in love with a girl that in 2000 would become my wife. Anja worked at that time in the supermarket that was owned by my parents, who sold it, a bit in a rush and panic in 2001, when doctors announced clearly that my father's heart would not much longer be able to cope with the stress of doing business.
Having left Amsterdam at the age of 26, moving back to my old rooms at my parents, surrounded by an intense activity as you can imagine a supermarket is, I felt rather "out of society." I strongly felt the need doing something useful, and so, together with a search for a teaching job (in which I never would succeed), I began to help my parents, together with the 17 employees, one of which was...Anja.

It was a good year. Not for the music, but I think stepping with two foot in daily "normal" life, is something that changed me for the better.
After my parents sold their business, things went for the worse soon. I won't get into details here, but we soon faced a difficult situation were we both lost our jobs. At the moment that our modest house, which we rented for a very low price, was sold by the new owner, we came at a point where we drastically would have to change directions of our lives, meaning me leaving music, or continue and hope for the better.
Strangely enough, I played a lot in the early years of 2000. Only piano.Mostly Chopin. I looked long time for a Pleyel (and I have a small unrestored pianino of 1838), but that was financially impossible. And moreover, I did not undertake too much action to perform as a pianist. I wasn't ready for that, at least, I thought I wasn't.

So loosing our house, we planned to rebuilt the farm of Anja's parents, even got some money for that project from our bank (that would be impossible today on that risky basis), and started the work. No other option but doing a lot ourselves. And that... is not the best activity for a musician... Almost two years later, we moved to a mostly unfinished house.

So by the time of 2005, my hands felt more like the ones of a constructor than of a musician. In the meantime, I invested a lot of time in what could become a nice project, and finally, in 2006, that took place. It gave us a bit of financial certainty, at least for two years. Anja had started a few years earlier, a day course of several years, and finished in 2006 as an accountant, giving her many opportunities for a nice job, which she soon after found.

2007 was the year n which the unregular activity as a musician, started to feel really bad. In 2008 I forced myself again to practice the piano as I did early 2000, something that wasn't easy. But I continued, and day after day, the focus came back, as the feeling that I gained grip again on what I was doing.

And then was the time of this private concert, of which I was so stupid not to play it again the next day, just to be able to make a technically better recording. But it is as it is.

Next day after the recording, we started to finish our kitchen. Not a good idea... I injured my 4th finger at my left hand. Not too bad, but it lasted several weeks before I again could play with it.
Weeks after, I injured my fourth finger at my right hand. This time with a knife, during the last works of electricity. In a hurry, as things only go wrong in a hurry. I was lucky...

That incident changed my life.
I started to prepare for a Bach CD, that was released in 2009. And it is during that recording session that Stefaan Ottenbourgs, in daily life director of a rather important musical organisation, but there my sound engineer, gave me the advice to maybe look for a good clavichord.

And that I did.

Six years later, and countless hours on that beautiful Potvlieghe clavichord, I write here to you as an annex of a Liszt recording, thinking, mmm, in five years? Ten? But once definitely. Because as I wrote above: this music is very close to my heart.

Related Videos