A Guy’s Guide to Culture: Jean-Jacques Kantorow and Pierre-Alain Volondat Play Schuman

Paul Prescott - 02/07/13 - www.MyFrenchLife.org

Better men than I will write more insightful articles than I ever could explaining the nooks and crannies of culture. Those erudite treatises, however, are so far over most people’s heads as to cause nosebleeds. I’m here to present Parisian culture in terms so basic that even a man could understand. A man? Nay, I say, words so basic that even a Lay-guy can get ‘art’.

Jean-Jacques Kantorow (the guy with the violin) and Pierre-Alain Volondat (the grand pianist) probably met up because they both have dashes in their first names and people like that really know how to stick together. Not only did they make an album called Jean-Jacques Kantorow and Pierre-Alain Volondat Play Schumann but they also took the show on the road and put on a live and unplugged gig in the Grand Foyer (French for “big foyer”) of the Théâtre du Châtelet which I’ll leave you to translate on your own. Here’s how that went down.

Paul Prescott - 02/07/13 - www.MyFrenchLife.org


19:40 Let the magic begin. Or this.

19:43 The page turner seems cute. I wonder what kind of training you need to turn pages. You pro’lly have to read a lot of things and turn many pages as you go along. Plus, I bet you have to practice on different kind of paper types.

19:47 I may not understand classical music, but I can see Kantorow is very passionate about what he does.

Paul Prescott - 02/07/13 - www.MyfrenchLife.org

19:48 Crap! I clapped and only one other person in the whole place clapped! How are you supposed to know when to applaud? #Awkward

19:50 This song reminds me of a Tom and Jerry episode. I wonder if Schumann ever wrote for cartoons…

19:52 Ha! They didn’t get me that time. I didn’t clap and no one else did either.

19:53 Classical music is like baseball. It’s more fun to go and see it than stay at home and watch it.

19:56 How much do I take classical music seriously? So seriously I no longer clap no matter what. #Seriously

20:00 The first song or movement or whatever ended and everyone but me applauded. They owed me a clap.

20:11 Listening to this kind of music is the good kind of relaxing. Like a brain massage.

Paul Prescott - 02/07/13 - www.MyfrenchLife.org

20:12 He’s plucking the strings with his fingers. You wanna impress me, Jean-Jacques? Pluck with your teeth. #JimiHendrix

20:15 I swear to God I just had an out of body experience. (Or maybe I was just dozing off.)

A special thanks to my good friends at Integral Classic for the seat and the +1 at the concert. You guys rock…or whatever the classical music equivalent of that is.

Paul Prescott - 02/07/13 - www.MyFrenchLife.org

All original photos ©Paul Prescott

This is the first in the series ‘A Guy’s Guide to Culture’ by Paul Prescott. Thank you Paul for this original and insightful article, we look forward to reading the next article of the series.


About the Contributor

Paul Prescott

Creative writer, English teacher, and pizza chef, I have been living in Paris for over 30 years. Less of a cinephile than a cinevore, I see a movie in the theater every day, and so aspire to see 365 films every year. In addition to the French film reviews on My French Life, I publish mini-reviews of every film I see on Leterboxd, Instagram and Twitter.

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