Throughout the process of shaping and rediscovering the concertos of Farr and Elgar, my performances became imbued with a duty of remembering and a unique approach that allowed me to mirror these two concertos.
The styles of the two works are very different, but there are similarities in their musical forms: they start and end with an emblematic theme and feel like ritual works – almost requiems. They are universal in scope and rooted in personal dramas connected to the First World War. Elgar was deeply affected by the slaughter in the trenches – at night he could hear the shelling from France from his house in Fittleworth, West Sussex – and may have been thinking of the death in battle of his ex-fiancée Helen Weaver’s son when he started work on the concerto. He completed it in 1919, when the Spanish flu continued to claim many young people’s lives. It was to be his final large-scale work.
Gareth Farr composed his concerto in memory of his three great-granduncles who were all killed in the Great War. Farr completed his concerto two days before the birth of my daughter Stella, in March 2017, and gave me an incredible gift by incorporating the name S.T.E.L.L.A. (E flat–B–E–A–A–A) into the final cadence, which symbolically represents HOPE.
At 100 years apart these two concertos are the testimony of the tragic years 1914–1918. But where there is life, hope is always reborn.
"The concerto was movingly conveyed by the persistent passion and poetry of soloist Sebastien Hurtaud."
Sébastien Hurtaud is a French cellist born in La Rochelle into a family of music lovers and a brother who is a lyric tenor. Vibrating, transmitting, travelling and creating are at the heart of the young cellist's career. As a soloist and chamber musician, he travels the world invited by major orchestras and festivals and also shares the stage with his pianist wife Paméla Hurtado in a duo.
Trained at the Paris Conservatoire in the class of JM Gamard and Michel Strauss, then at the Royal Northern College of Music with Karine Georgian, his playing is inspired by these two great cello schools.
Influenced by the world of opera, it is at the Monnaie opera house that he made his first steps as guest solo cellist but very quickly turned to a career as a soloist.
His latest performances with prestigious orchestras have allowed him to meet new audiences in many countries and to affirm a career in full expansion. We have heard him in Richard Strauss' Don Quixote with the Katowice orchestra, Gulda's concerto with the Bratislava Philharmonic, Dvorak's concerto with the Metz orchestra, Elgar's concerto with the New Zealand National orchestra, Jacques Offenbach's Military concerto with the Brittany orchestra, Boccherini's concertos with the Panama City chamber orchestra, the orchestra of the Garde Républicaine at the Invalides, etc...
Winner of major international competitions Naumburg Foundation in New York, Aldo Parisot, Sébastien Hurtaud is the only Frenchman to have won the prestigious Adam cello competition in New Zealand. He then met his mentor, the great German conductor Werner-Andreas Albert, with whom he played Schostakovich's concerto n1 op.107.
The critics were full of praise for the French artist:
“Such expressive playing” (Forbes), “Such passion in his playing” (Gramophone), “A powerful style” (BBC Mag), “Elegant and driven” (Strad Mag), “Sébastien Hurtaud grasps the work with his full hands, as André Navarra once did, a great sound, ample, deep, that says as much as it sings” (Artamag), “The Virtuosity of a Feuerman and the soul of a Rostropovich” (Fanfare Magazine).
"The Soul of a Rostropovish, the Virtuosity of a Feuermann"
Most of the time I am invited during my concert tours to give some masterclasses to young professional musicians whom I subsequently support by giving them regular lessons online.
Transmitting music through live or online music lessons has become a real passion and I am building since few month my international online class. To name a few I’m supporting some Chinese, American, Venezuelan, Dutch and French cello students to present the Juillard School , Yale University, Oberlin College, Lyon National Conservatory but also some orchestral auditions. Recently a duet cello and piano with whom I worked, entered in the chamber music class at the National Superior Conservatoire of music at Lyon.
I realized that today, countless videos exist on the Internet to promote self-taught music learning in the form of tutorials, but which ultimately leave the learner totally alone. Nothing beats a real musical exchange, even online.
Do not hesitate to contact me.
Looking forward to meet you!
Please click on thumbnails to enlarge pictures and videos.
"Sebastien is a cellist to watch because he has his own style of performance, a high level of imagination, and a combinaison of elegance and drive"
Listen the playlist which contains some Hurtaud's records, or enjoy a selection of his best photos and videos.
For futher information, please contact:
+33 (0) 608 770 738
Crédits Photos : Jerôme Grognet
Making-of disc Elgar Farr : Alexis Pautler