This album is dedicated to family: my childhood family, the family that I have built, and the family that came into my life as a self-evidence.
This project is an act of childhood memory. At the far Western end of the world in California, in a parallel universe where it was always sunny and there was no school, it was the sound of Haarlem that marked the most important turning point in my life. For my thirteenth birthday, my parents gave me the two books of the Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach, which has been my faithful traveling companion ever since. As I looked for a recording to accompany my discovery of these pages, which were still unknown to me, I fell by chance on an album recorded at the Doopsgezinde Kerk in Haarlem: the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier by Pierre Hantaï. This sound – a sound so distinctive and recognizable on the albums of my predecessors, Gustav Leonhardt and Pierre Hantaï, among others – captured my imagination, made me dream of a harpsichord with no limits, a dynamic harpsichord. This is the sound that I have sought tirelessly, crossing continents and oceans, and persevering in a process of relentless questioning and self-questioning.
This soundscape dream is thus in some way also the sound history that has been the heartbeat of my existence. And in the stopped time that was the year 2020, I had the desire to revisit these childhood loves, to reimmerse myself in the Bach that was there every morning on my music stand and who had been for me the great master of all masters. This need to be in touch with the most profound, the most naïve and the most fundamental elements of oneself seems essential to me in the face of a broken and cataclysmic world. It is the nature of childhood dreams to project for oneself an ideal world in the midst of which we protect our fragile sensibilities, which are often erased by the noise of adult life.
It was self-evident that I needed to construct this album according to the artistic ideals that I hold dear. A recital then, and not a complete cycle of works, because I seek above all else the intimacy of sharing with my listener. Hence the free choice to pull beloved pieces out of their habitual contexts and offer them as a gift to those listening. Carried away by a devouring enthusiasm to highlight certain works, the project transformed itself into a double disk in the form of a mirror, with a distinct recital on each side. I invite you to listen to them as much separately as together and to savor this music as you, individually, best enjoy it. The space practically imposed itself – where else could such a project take place? – and it was the most beautiful and enriching experience of my musical life. To finally experience Haarlem live, to hear my playing transform in real time in reaction to this brilliant and resonant acoustic, and to feel completely at home, all while being able to pay homage to these great pioneers who trailblazed for my benefit…these long 15-hour days and these two immense programs of the most complete music that exists will remain forever engraved in my memory. For a week, removed from the outside world, I was able to live a childhood dream. I offer it now to you with the greatest love for this composer and his music, for this place and its great artists, and for you who are listening, for it is you who give us reason to exist.