The first time Lydia Jardon approached the jagged shores of the Isle of Ushant, she was
3rd Concerto, a thunderous monologue in the form of a warning of heavy squalls. Little did she know that, a few years later, she was to play this work which so resembles her: hot-tempered, strong, passionate. In principle, a masculine repertoire, the critics said, into which the soloist surged like the sea sweeping deep inside the rocky crags around the island. To play the concerto, you need a mans hand, a huge hand, she says, placing her paw of inordinate dimension against your palm. But then you also have got to come out alive at the end these giant, Dantean phrases, she adds, bursting into baritone laughter.
Having challenged the men on their musical score, Lydia Jardon created a women musicians festival last year, on Ushant, the Isle of Women. The island of the women who stayed behind when their men were at sea for months on end, the island of the women who pointed their cannons at the English while their men were casting their fishing nets off-shore.
But Lydia Jardon adamantly refuses to be labelled a feminist, and even if the (record) label she has just created at the age of 36 Ar ré-sé (Celles-là" in Breton language, Those ladies in English) is also reserved for women, she prefers to laugh about it than to militate about it.
I am not at all into an egalitarian approach since I believe in doing better than men! In her own words, she is a célibattante (combination of a single woman and a true fighter!) who travels everywhere with her cat, Pelléas, in tow, and recognises herself in this group of women she embraces.
They dont mistake violence for ardour, harshness for strength. They are much less aggressive towards the keyboard than men are. A solitary but not forlorn soloists dream, this community of pianists, trumpet players and singers surrounded by water, by its ebbs and flows, its original melody which Lydia Jardon has just recorded on disc, La Mer.
Perhaps the most energetic element that exists, remarks the pianist as she prepares for her communion with the public, as explosive as she is ascetic I entered music like one enters a religion and who chose by way of the absolute a secluded island, an island at the end of the earth, on which a cluster of grand pianos is settling after crossing the waves. Like in a Dali painting, the pianos fly through the air, winched from the boat to the quayside while waiting to be touched by grace.