Legendary pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet announces Carte Blanche, a new album on Decca Classics. Carte Blanche will be released on 10 September, following his 60th birthday on 7 September.
To mark a milestone birthday and celebrate a new chapter in his relationship with the Decca label, Thibaudet was given “carte blanche” by Decca to choose personal music that he has never recorded before, resulting in a selection that reflects on the people and the music that have shaped and developed his life as an artist. The music ranges from Scarlatti to R Strauss, Brahms to Boogie Woogie, originals and arrangements.
Thibaudet has performed world-wide to audiences for more than three decades. A recording legend, the Los Angeles-based French artist has sold more than 1.5 million albums and generated 640 million streams. After more than 40 albums—including definitive recordings of Debussy’s Préludes, the complete solo piano works of Satie and Ravel, and creative arrangements of opera music and jazz—Carte Blanche features a host of musical gems close to Thibaudet’s heart.
Thibaudet’s choices reflect the friendships he has cultivated worldwide over his life. Enrique Granados’ Quejas, o La maja y el ruiseñor, is Thibaudet’s tribute to Alicia de Larrocha, while Morton Gould’s Boogie Woogie Etude appears in tribute to Shura Cherkassky, whose own Prélude pathétique also appears on the album. The liner notes for the album feature a conversation between Thibaudet and soprano Renée Fleming, who have a long history of friendship and collaboration. Fleming inspired Thibaudet’s arrangement of When You Wish Upon a Star, which uses Jesse Kissel’s arrangement as a starting point to capture, from a distance, his experience performing the piece with Fleming.
Other pieces, such as Chopin’s Waltz in A minor—the first piece of piano music Thibaudet ever heard—and Schubert’s Kupelwieser-Walzer—sourced from a photocopied fax by Thibaudet’s teacher Aldo Ciccolini—capture early memories on the piano. Boîte à musique was composed by Pierre Sancan, with whom Thibaudet studied briefly in Paris, while Elgar’s Salut d’amour appears in an arrangement by Ciccolini himself.
A lifelong fan of cinema, Thibaudet has included several award-winning film scores on this album. Among these is Dario Marianelli’s Oscar-winning soundtrack to Pride and Prejudice, appearing on Carte Blanche as a specially reworked suite for solo piano written by Marianelli and commissioned by Thibaudet. Thibaudet has often credited the soundtrack with bringing new audiences to his classical concerts, and it stands among his most popular recordings; Dawn alone has amassed 100 million streams.
Other highlights include Francis Poulenc’s Hôtel, arranged by Thibaudet; Gabriel Pierné’s virtuosic Étude de concert; the chanson En avril à Paris arranged by Alexis Weissenberg; Liszt’s Consolation No. 3, and Brahms’ Intermezzo in A major. The album closes with Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, another arrangement by Thibaudet.
Dario Marianelli: Pride & Prejudice Suite: Dawn – Leaving Netherfield – Georgiana – The Living Sculptures of Pemberley – Mrs D’Arcy/ Couperin: Le Tic-Toc-Choc, ou Les Maillotins/Scarlatti: Sonata in F minor K. 466/ Schubert/R.Strauss: Kupelwieser-Walzer/ Chopin: Waltz No. 19 in A minor (KK IVb No.11)/Liszt: Consolation No. 3/ Brahms: Intermezzo Op.118 No. 2/ Elgar/Ciccolini: Salut d’amour/ Pierné: Étude de Concert Op. 13/ Granados: Quejas ó la maja y el ruiseñor from Goyescas Suite No. 4/ Villa-Lobos: O polichinelo from A próle do bébé/ Poulenc: Hôtel from Banalités/ Sancan: Boîte à musique/ M.Gould: Boogie Woogie Etude/ Cherkassky: Prélude pathétique/ Gershwin/Wild: Embraceable You (7 Virtuoso Etudes after Gershwin No 4)/ Harline & Washington/Kissel & Thibaudet: When You Wish Upon a Star/ Trenet & Eiger/Weissenberg: En avril à Paris/ Wilder/Charlap: I’ll Be Around/ Barber/Thibaudet: Adagio for Strings