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Candlelight Piano Concerts

Are candlelight piano concerts a new trend? And can they attract a wider audience to classical piano music?

I have recently seen on French TV a short reportage on a classical piano candlelight concert by French pianist Eric Artz (pictured in the image above).

This has led me to consider this form of concert as a new way to attract a wider audience to classical piano music. There are many candlelights concerts around the globe. If you are in London, for example, you can not miss the St. Martin's in the Field's series of candlelight concerts including the Requiem by Mozart or the very popular Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

A new form of concert?

We might think that this is a new form of concert. However, in the 18th century it was quite common for aristocrats to attend piano recitals in wealthy families' private homes profusely lit with candles . There is plenty of iconography showing us recitals by great pianists and composers such as Liszt and Chopin performing at the piano in front of an aristocratic audience in a room illuminated by candles.

Liszt playing a concert for emperor Franz Josef on a Bösendorfer grand piano

Candles have somehow a connotation of romanticism, informality and intimacy. They allow us to be open to music experiences in the darkness of a recital hall, a church or a private home. Especially in this current period of social distancing, an element of closeness to the music, to the performer and to the audience can only be beneficial to our souls.

So welcome to candlelight piano concerts if they can bring together classical music lovers, the new generation of listeners and the curious tourists. All sitting around a beautiful grand piano surrounded by candles.

Here is the extract on Eric Artz' candlelight concert by broadcaster M6 (in French).

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