03 December 2007

Jean Louis Adam: A Tribute

Today is the 249th anniversary of the birth of Jean Louis Adam, an important figure in the establishment of the piano in the conservatory curriculum. Eclipsed in fame by his son, the composer Adolphe Adam, J. L. Adam (1758-1848) was highly respected in his own time, not the least for his Méthode de Piano du Conservatoire (Paris, 1805).

Here, in a concert from 2005, his Romance from the Méthode. I played my Cristofori-model fortepiano (K. Hill, 1999) for this performance, using the "una corda" stop, a sliding keyboard mechanism normally only used for tuning purposes, but which creates a distinctive, not to say magical, timbre.

1 comment:

Thomas R Hurt said...

I reordered Jean-Louis Adam's op.VI sonatas from BNF after I recalled the funeral march mvmt. in #1 (as well as the other romantic-sounding [almost fantasy-like] pieces in this set). Specifically searching for French music of the late 18th Century (predating 1789) that one could identify as having the "grand goût" of Diderot - clearly anti-rococo, and that evokes the severity of the neoclassicism of David. The c minor "Lento Maestoso" is genuine French musical neoclassicism exactly contemporary with David and the other masters of that school. Finding this sound in keyboard music written by composers resident in Paris in the 1780's is rare. By the time Beethoven was introduced to Paris, I believe the taste was established, and Diderot and Rousseau could rest.