Philippe Pierce and Marie Lenormand Will Celebrate Jacques Brel and Charles Trénet With Fire and Fantasy
By Michael Gioia
The New York Festival of Song will continue its 25th anniversary season by honoring two of the 20th century's greatest balladeers in Jacques Brel & Charles Trénet: Fire and Fantasy Feb. 19 in Merkin Concert Hall.
The Belgian and French pair of composers, according to NYFOS, "are celebrated with an authentic flair under the graceful touch of tenor Philippe Pierce, making his NYFOS debut, and mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand."
At the 8 PM event, audiences can expect to hear Brel and Trénet's most famous pieces, including Brel's "Ne me quitte pas" and "Madeleine," and Trénet's "Que reste-t-il de nos amours" and "La mer" as well as lesser-known treasures.
Joining pianist and NYFOS artistic director Steven Blier will be accordionist Bill Schimmel and Greg Utzig on banjo and guitar.
"What a brilliant songwriter Brel was!" said artistic director Blier in a statement. "He roars at the world, contemplates our follies, and puts injustice on trial like a true existentialist bard. As I put together the program for Fire and Fantasy, I thought we would leaven his unbridled ferocity with the gentler charms of Charles Trénet, whose gift for melody, rhythm, and poetry often pack an emotional wallop of a very different kind. Trénet evokes an ideal, almost anti-gravitational world filled with sweetness and romance. It's like seeing a room filled with Utrillos and Soutines on one wall, and Chagalls and Renoirs on the other. They are the yin & yang of the chanson. But Brel also had a lyrical, gentle side — and Trénet can be surprisingly tough."
An encore performance of this program will take place Feb. 21 at 8 PM at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.
The Merkin Concert Hall at Kauffman Center is located at 129 West 67th Street. For more information and tickets, visit NYFOS.org.
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