A Grand Piano Recital by Candlelight brings back a tranquil feeling of yore at Marie Reine de la Paix Church in Pierrefonds on Saturday.
The evening features pianist Alejandra Cifuentes Diaz playing music by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and Liszt. Performing under the shimmer of candlelight is a pleasure for Diaz.
“When I’m practising at home, I can get distracted by all the things I see around me – like the beautiful view I have out of my big front window,” she said.
Conventional recitals have a spotlight trained on the soloist.
“The spotlight puts the artist on a pedestal,” Diaz said. “The candlelight creates an atmosphere where we can focus on our respect for the composer and the music.”
Host Michel Corbeil eases the transition from one composer to the next by lighting candles to reveal a poster-size photo of the next composer on the program while telling a story about the composer’s life.
“The anecdotes help give me the context,” Diaz said.
“They give me insight into the state of the composer’s mind while he was writing a particular piece of music which is great because a performer is always trying to embody the composer.”
Diaz has small lights to help her see the musical scores and the piano’s keys, but the rest of the church is illuminated only by the candles.
“I don’t even know if the audience can see me that well,” Diaz said. “After a concert, when the lights come back on, it’s like waking from a dream.”
Diaz studied with Patrice Laré and Dang Thai Son at the Université de Montréal and continued her training as a performer and accompanist at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
The 13-show candlelight tour is winding down next month. Diaz and Corbeil will perform at the Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs Church in Verdun (Oct. 13) and the St. Hubert Church in St-Hubert (Oct. 27).
A Grand Piano Recital by Candlelight is at Marie Reine de la Paix Church, 11075 Gouin Blvd. in Pierrefonds, Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and are available at the door or at Salon de Coiffure Andrée, 13075B Gouin Blvd. For information about the remaining concerts, visit www. concertchandelle.com.