Mercoledi Musicale

Jacques Loussier (1934 – 2019)

It seems far too often these days that my Mercoledi Musicale posts are in memorium in their nature. Many of the great musicians that I grew up with are leaving the scene but fortunately their music making remains. The remarkable French jazz pianist Jacques Loussier left us last week at the age of 84. He had retired from perfoming in 2011 when he suffered a stroke during at performance at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr.

Laurent developed a fondness for Loussier and his brilliant takes on the works of Bach back in the 1990s and many of the recordings made by the Loussier Trio were, and still are, never far from our changer. The original Trio sold over 15 million records and performed in the range of 3000 concerts in the 15 years they were together. The original trio disbanded in the mid-70s but Loussier revived the group in 1985 for the tricentennial celebrations of Bach’s birth. Their most popular recording was this take on JSB’s Air on a G String.

At the age of eleven he heard a piece from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach and fell in love with it. In an interview, he recalled ” … I found I loved to play the music, but add my own notes, expanding the harmonies and playing around with that music.” Though best known for his take on and obvious love for Bach he found inspiration in Satie, Vivaldi, Mozart, Handel, and Chopin.

He also composed the soundtrack scores for over 100 film and television including one of my favourite early TV series: Thierry la Fronde. Though I have to confess that my fondness for the adventures of the King’s Outlaw had more to do with Jean-Claude Drouot’s chest hair and buns than Loussier’s theme music. Ah the innocence of youth!

March 13 is Ear Muff Day – and given the temperature outside it would appear a goodly number are celebrating those appendage warmers.