Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Meeting with pianist Grigor Asmaryan and violinist David Grimal at the 2019 Eilat Chamber Music Festival

Photo: Maxim Reider

On February 8th 2019, I met with violinist David Grimal (France) and pianist Grigor Asmaryan (Armenia/Germany) at the Dan Eilat Hotel following their recital at the Eilat Chamber Music Festival.


PH: We have just heard your program titled “Tzigane”, works by Enescu, Ravel and César Franck. Would you say a few words about it?


David Grimal: We are presently touring with this program; we have played it in Germany and France and we will play it in Taipei in a few weeks. I wanted to combine works connecting with that of George Enescu, such as the César Franck. The program also includes the Chausson "Poème" op.25, not played here in Eilat. It was Enescu’s favourite piece. He loved to play it. (My favourite Enescu piece is Sonata No.3.)  Of course, if you combine it with Franck’s Sonata in A major and Ravel’s “Tzigane” you have this Romantic- and gypsy side of music...French, Hungarian and Romanian.


PH: Grigor Asmaryan, you are new to this festival. Do you still live in Armenia?


Grigor Asmaryan: No, I left Armenia in 2000 and have been living in Germany for the last ten years, working as a répétiteur at the Hochschule für Musik Saar and performing chamber music.  Before that, I lived and studied in Paris for eight years.  I am a regular guest at the International Chamber Music Week (Thuringia), the Starnberger Musiktage (Germany) and the Olympiaregion Musiktage, Seefeld (Austria).


PH: And your studies, David Grimal?


David Grimal: Some of my studies were in Paris and then with a violinist called Philippe Hirschhorn and have played in many master classes, with Isaac Stern and “company”, but my mentor was Philippe Hirschhorn.


PH: How long have you been playing together?


David Grimal: We play together from time to time, but we work a lot together: Grigor plays with all my students. I very much enjoy playing with him. He is a wonderful musician. Sometimes you play with great names, great pianists, but they don’t listen to you. They listen to themselves. They have no flexibility so you can’t “sing” as you wish and you have no “space”. It’s a kind of ego battle on stage. Grigor is so friendly that I don’t need to force my violin to survive.

PH: How much do you discuss the music when you practise?


David Grimal. We just play. We don’t rehearse a lot. We don’t talk a lot. I think we understand each other very well. In music, as with human relationships, it’s what you don’t say that really matters. With music you can’t lie. I think we share some common “space” and it makes sense.


Grigor Asmaryan: For me it’s a miracle to play with David.


PH: In contrast to the bulk of the program, the three encores you played - Ferenc Vecsey: “Valse Triste”, Moritz Moszkowski.: “Guitarre” and Manuel Ponce: “Estrellita” - offered some gentle sentimentality.


David Grimal: Yes. Quite intentionally. I think it meets a need in audience members...some sweets.


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