2014-11-08 and 09 Maxim Bernard

The Audience as Critic – Saturday, November 8 and Sunday, November 9, 2014



Rachmaninov: Étude –Tableau in C minor, Op. 39, No. 1

Fauré: Nocturne No. 12 in E minor, Op. 107

Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances,

Rachmaninov: Étude-Tableau in F-sharp minor, Op. 39, No. 3

Medtner: Funeral March in B minor, Op. 31, No. 3

Skazki (Tale) in E minor, Op. 34, No. 2

Hindemeth: In Einer Nacht (Dreams and Experiences) 14 short pieces, Op. 15 (Selections from)

Scriabin: Vers la flamme, Op. 72

Nielsen: Chaconne, Op. 32

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin

Prelude            “To the memory of Lieutenant Jacques Charlot”

Fugue              “To the memory of Jean Cruppi”

Forlane            “To the memory of Lieutenant Gabriel Deluc”

Rigaudon         “To the memory of Pierre and Pascal Gaudin”

Menuet            “To the memory of Jean Dreyfus”

Tocatta            “To the memory of Captain Joseph de Marliave”

Audience Comments:

Schubert/Liszt transcription: Wonderful music – not just a bunch of notes full of emotion. Whole WW1 program varied. Each choice of music was different, all was expressive. He communicated well with the audience and the mood was superb. (CB)

An abundance of musicality- ease of performance – wonderful technique and carefully gauged dynamics – played with feeling and finesse. A well thought-out program with many varied styles. Ravel’s Tocatta showed the virtuosity of Mr. Bernard, but never for its own sake. The encore by Schubert had a most wonderful tone and heartfelt expression with most eloquently shaped phrases. (VH)

M. Bernard gave a fine performance this evening. (On an unrelated problem, we were forced to exchange our tickets for next month’s Kim Duo concert; their decision to perform only movements of select pieces is regrettable: We would rather hear (and for you to program!) the complete work!) (Anon.)

I have rarely enjoyed a program like I have tonight. Maxim Bernard is outstanding. (LB)

Excellent pianist who plays with feeling. (Anon)

Excellent concert. Liked the video screens. Good to dedicate program to the War as part of Remembrance Day Services. (MP-L)

Ridiculous amount of coughing. I think you are going to have to write people to have a good cough before the show & pass around lozenges for those without & somehow encourage people to have a sip of water out in the lobby before the show. (DC + KR)

The Ravel piece was magic! (DW)

Gorgeous concert! Merci Mille Fois!!! (JB)

Interesting program. Charming pianist. (Anon)

The Schubert Litany was beautiful and heartfelt and played with such emotion. (Anon)

In the first segment, the arrival of the intermission took me by surprise, and that has never happened before to me. I am usually looking forward to the arrival of the break and to a bit of a rest from the music. Though not quite involved as in the first half, I thoroughly enjoyed the second section as well. In my unschooled opinion, IT WAS A GREAT EVENING in the company of a fine artist. (Anon)

It was heartening to hear the widespread confirmation of Healey Willan’s dictum. That melody is the essence of music – aimed, I believe, at Hindemith. (Anon)

On November 8th, 2014, two days before Remembrance Day, some Canadian History students from the University of Winnipeg Collegiate attended the Virtuosi concert commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War I.  This was the first opportunity the Collegiate and Virtuosi has had to collaborate, mixing Performance Art and Canadian History. Maxim Bernard was very generous with his time and met with the class for a pre-performance talk. During this meeting, he explained his research, preparation and inspiration for this historically significant concert. This meeting also enabled the students to ask questions and prepare for the concert the next day. Twenty-one students attended the performance; for some, this was their first exposure to a classical piano concert. The following is a collection of quotes from some of the students who attended both of these events:

The pre and musical performance were some the first real experiences [I have had] with World War I.  I wouldn’t say that I am some WWI expert now, but I know some things about the music and maybe I have a better understanding of what things would have felt like. (Emily W)

I didn’t live through WWI, and I can’t say I’m sorry for that, but I am glad we have something as powerful as music to take us back to the past so we can appreciate it and learn from it. (Tysion R)

Being able to talk to [Maxim Bernard], even for a short amount of time was a great experience. What he talked about helped me to know what to listen for in respect to the War during the concert. I don’t think I would have understood what I was listening to if I hadn’t known ahead of time what was coming. (Tim Z )

Clearly art from the war has made an impact. We are left with some very beautiful impressions that can capture much more than a photograph. (Luca J)

Maxim is a very, very talented pianist. You can tell when he performs that he is very passionate about the music and truly cares about what happed in WWI and informing people about it. We were very lucky to get the opportunity to see his live performance. (Britney K)

We can see the war reflected with both tragedy and happiness. Pieces written reflected sadness of a friend’s death, or the joy of coming home. Nonetheless, the War was a time of confusion and tragedy; so lest we forget. (Joshua H)

On the rare occasion where I found my eyes closed, I was taken on a journey similar to when someone reads a book. It was an amazing experience. (Juden P)