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45:00 minutes




David Bontemps


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Versatile musician, David Bontemps plays and composes popular music and jazz without denying his exceptional talent for composing and interpreting classical music. He delivers, on this record, the best of his piano works whose poetics remind as much of contemplative romanticism, exalted in Années de Pèlerinage, by Franz Liszt (1811-1886), as the Haitian mythology. The aesthetics of David Bontemps’ piano also take place in the perspective opened by Carmen Brouard (1909-2005) for whom the sonata form is used as a receptacle for the expression of feelings of the artist and a very personal translation of the collective musical sensitivity of his fellow Haitians. In this spirit, I will comment briefly on each of the works of this disc.

1. Sans titre (without title): places Bontemps in this paradigm of modernity in which the artist, usually a painter, does not title the work to give free rein to the imagination of the receiver. The word “Prelude” that follows this oxymoronic title announces what is coming.

2. Mwen toujou Renmen-w (I still love you): is the unique autobiographical introspection of the disc, it is a meditation on the persistence of feelings of love despite the rupture.

3. Transe: Suite in E minor: 1) Yanvalou-Mayi; 2) Aux Esprits de l’eau; 3) Kase-Banda-Kase. This three-movement sonata is named “Suite” after the five figures of worship or jubilation dance whose sequence stylizes the exaltation of the followers of voodoo.

4. The Unkown Maroon Sonata: 1) Presto agitato; 2) Andante con moto; 3) Allegro con brio. A three-movement epic work that glorifies the itinerary of the “maroon” slave who, at the risk of his own life, wanders in a search for freedom. The final allegro follows the central andante without interruption.

5. Angélus: This moment of intense contemplation is reminiscent of the famous painting by Jean-François Millet (1814-1875). It also confirms Liszt’s fervour, characteristic of Bontemps’ style that Angélus echoes from a piece of the same title which opens the third volume of Années de Pèlerinage.

These Bontemps’ works have a sumptuous ascendance while showing a profoundly original personality.

Claude Dauphin, musicologist

Bontemps, David
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