Fingertips With the Force of Nature

Alexandre Tharaud
The New York Times

By Steve Smith

"The evening before the concert Alexandre Tharaud presented at Weill Recital Hall on Wednesday evening, he spent the night out clubbing. That is to say, on Tuesday Mr. Tharaud, the young French pianist, was at Le Poisson Rouge, the chic Bleecker Street music club, to show off selections from “La Boeuf Sur le Toit,” a new album devoted to Jazz Age staples of the Parisian cabaret.

You might think that Mr. Tharaud, who had tried out his “Boeuf Sur le Toit” material in a well-reviewed event at Le Poisson Rouge in April, would be on his best behavior on Wednesday for his sold-out Carnegie Hall recital debut. And to an extent you would be correct: his comportment and program suited a more conventional, decorous setting."

"The repertory was familiar enough, certainly, but the playing here never lapsed into rote."

"Seldom have I been so gripped with a sensation of the full span of keyboard music history lying nascent in these gemlike pieces as I was during Mr. Tharaud’s last two numbers…"

"That ferocity, impressive enough on its own, also emphasized Mr. Tharaud’s breathtaking tenderness in the second theme of the Lento movement."

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