A colour palette with a gramophone

On Thursday the 4th of November, the Maltese pianist Stefan Cassar filled one of the rooms of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de les Belles Arts in Barcelona with the melodies of the works of Debussy, Chopin, Ravel, Lizst, Saint-Saëns and Rachmaninoff with the color of the Acouhyb piano sound.

Stefan Cassar learned about the ACOUHYB project through other musicians, and got in touch with Sergey. He reflects: “this system is unique and very special. It is not the first time that the tuning of a piano has been changed, of course, but this one has very particular colors that allowed me to expand the palette ”. Sergey invited Stefan Cassar to come to Barcelona and try the piano. "It was the first concert I did in Barcelona," says Cassar. I was able to play the piano before the concert, and it is very rich and has many possibilities. I would like to continue finding colors for it ”.

According to Cassar, one of the most important tasks of the artist is to expand the color palette. "That's why I played so many types of composers," he says. "Each composer has his color, and it is interesting when questioned because the instrument changes." That is why he chose 19th and 20th century composers and pieces written specifically for piano. “It has to do with the images. That is why I chose French impressionism, like Ravel, which recreates images, and allows you to create a whole atmosphere. Or Debussy, based on the colors. I thought it would be appealing to try to interpret Debussy without destroying his lines or his phrasing, and using the maximum of colors to paint the piece. "

Cassar's particular phrasing was one of the things the ACOUHYB's sound didn't change. “You have to follow the phrasing of the composer, but you also have to live it. I want to do what the composer says, but I want it to enter into me and become natural, for me and for those who listen to me. I don't think all interpreters come to the same conclusion. When you spend time with it, you realize that the way you breathe the piece and feel it has to seem logical. I work a lot on the texture, the internal melodies ... ”. As if painting a picture. Stefan Cassar highlights the suitability of Casa Llotja for such a show; a place that refers to the last century, full of paintings and decorations, colors, corridors and rooms.

The ACOUHYB piano is "a new way to enrich the palette," according to Cassar. “When we discover a new sound, the categories of good or bad are shifted; the important thing is the novelty. There will always be those who will like it and those who will reject it. It's like when you hear a recording; when you hear Rachmaninoff playing his piano, you really hear him through the color of the gramophone. I really like the recordings. I think that we must make a difference between the architect of the music and the quality of the sound, and they can sum up”.

“I am not hooked on my piano; I like to touch other pianos. I have always found it exciting to be surprised by an instrument. You have to have an image of the sound you want, but it is good to adapt it to the one that the new piano allows you. I also don't want it to sound the same every time. With ACOUHYB this improves. You won't have the sound of a Steinway, but you have something more intimate. It's a piano that sounds like it's out of tune, but it's in tune. It sounds shy, intimate, tender, like an old piano, like a recording. You have that, but you can't explain it to those who want a clean, clear sound. It's a new material, and I like it, because it puts everything in question and forces us to rethink the music ”.

Stefan Cassar already plans to return in May and November to give us new colors with the ACOUHYB piano. “This was the first time I played it, and I was not very familiar with it. I liked being left with the feeling that I had many more colors to use. Next time, I would like to try something more demonic. Something that creates a sound with more matter. Pieces that ask for this beautiful metallic sound and a more intimate atmosphere. "

Nadja Bas

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