Pianist Evelyne Brancart tends to lose herself in music — when playing one of the hundred-or-so pieces she knows by heart, she forgets what’s happening in her life and lets herself go within the meter.
“I think that’s why people go to concerts — not to think about their everyday problems,” Brancart said. “I forget my problems when I’m on stage, so I would hope that, when people hear the music, they can be in the music and feel that they’re alive.”
Brancart, a professor of more than 20 years at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and a native of Belgium, will be giving a recital at 4 p.m. today in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. The event benefits the Chautauqua Women’s Club Scholarship Fund, and the program includes Mozart’s Fantasy in C Minor, K.475; Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 31 No. 3; Brahms’ Paganini Variations, Books I and II; Schumann’s Arabesque; and Chopin’s Sonata No. 2, “Funeral March”
The beginning and closing pieces are much darker than those in the middle, Brancart said. The Beethoven sonata is a much happier piece than Chopin’s sonata, which is commonly referred to as the “Funeral March.”
“I like the frame of drama, and in between, it’s much lighter,” Brancart said.
John Milbauer, interim co-director of the Piano Program, said the 18th- and 19th- century masterpieces will attract listeners, especially for Brahms’ variations.
“The Mozart ‘Fantasy’ is one of his darkest and most daring works for the piano, while the Beethoven is a relatively sun-kissed romp,” Milbauer said. “I know that the pianists, in particular, will be keen to hear both books of Brahms’ Paganini Variations — a stupendous tour-de-force for any pianist.”
This visit will mark Brancart’s second trip to the grounds since her first recital at Chautauqua in 2013. Today’s performance will be accompanied by a master class on Wednesday, which has a $5 fee that will also benefit the Women’s Club Scholarship Fund.
“The guest master classes in the program are designed to provide all of our students with insight and inspiration from guest faculty,” Milbauer said. “We’re thrilled that Evelyne is opening our series of guest classes.”
Brancart’s massive mental library is something she enjoys using in concert, despite any added pressure playing without music might provoke.
“There is something when you play without the music — it is to my feeling that you can kind of get to a little more of an elevated place,” Brancart said. “It’s just different. You have to make sure that you know where you are, that you’re not gonna get lost, that you’re not gonna forget what comes next,” Brancart said. “I think that, for me, it is something that is much freer, playing without the music. You can really let go.”