A Guy’s Guide to Culture: Pidoux, Jaupart & Ueyama Bach it up


Way back in March, I attended a Classical Musical Festival at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Think of it as Woodstock without the ‘wood’. Three days of peace and quiet. The opening act of this extravaganza was a threesome formed by Raphaël Pidoux (cello), Pascale Jaupart (cello) and Kay Ueyama (harpsichord).

What can I say about this trio that hasn’t been said before? Quite a lot, and I really don’t have the time to say it all. So let’s just skip that part and move onto the question.

What can I say about the threesome to make you want to read the rest? Well, if I didn’t have you at ‘Classical Music Festival’ then it’s too late to make my move now.


20:34 The classical roadie came out and opened up the harpsichord, then turned around and left. I think I’ve found my new calling in life.

20:44 The concert starts with a long explanation in French about the composer Jean-Pierre Duport. I didn’t pay any attention so if you care about Jean-Pierre Duport, you can fall asleep to him on Wiki.

20:50 The second song. It’s a little melancholic and bittersweet. Like stubbing your toe on a cotton candy machine, crying in springtime or missing a plane to a funeral.

20:53 I’m digging the harpsichord, it sounds like she’s tickling a piano.


20:55 They’re playing Bach and wearing dark clothes. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Exactly: ‘Bach in Black’.

20:58 Kay Ueyama plays a solo. She said this song is on her CD and she plays it on a harpsichord Marie-Antoinette owned. I guess she can’t afford new instruments so has to play used ones.


21:08 She’s done and Raphaël comes back out for more explanations. Did you know that “blah blah blah” is both French and English? There you go, you’ve learned more than I did.

21:09 He’s going to play more Bach. You know what that means, don’t you? ‘Bach in the Saddle Again’.

21:12 I’ve officially decided that—unlike the guitar or the piano or the harpsichord—the cello sounds better with other instruments than by itself. Thus making the cello the jello of classical music: good as an accompaniment but not hearty enough to carry the shindig on its own.

21:20 They’re all Bach together now. I feel so good knowing they’ve got my Bach. I know, enough Bach talk!

21:28 I just realized neither of the cellists are using the metal post at the end of their cellos to rest them on the floor. Instead, they’re holding their instruments pinched between their calves. What a work out! Makes me wonder if Dr Kegel was a composer of anything classical other than muscles.

21:32 This song belongs in the opening credits to a TV show about law school students. Or at the end of my first show of the night.


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.

Image credits: All images ©Paul Prescott.

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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