Valentin Bajou

23:00 – 23:45

Young Talent Concert

Solo cello by candlelight

Works by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704)

Playing Biber‘s Passacaglia and J.S. Bach‘s Chaconne on the cello brings us face to face with the thorny issue of transcription. A thorny issue, in fact, it seems to be infinitely more so for us in 2021 than it ever was for the musicians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: transcription was even commonplace, and quite usual in the practice of J.S. Bach. Our contemporary reluctance to do so is only indicative of a musical conception still marked by decades of pious respect for the object-partition, which is perfectly anachronistic, and which probably reaches its paroxysm in the music of J.S. Bach.

The excerpts from the first suite for solo cello will be played on a four-string cello recently made in the workshop of the Brussels luthier Pierre Van Engeland, a particularly faithful replica of a typical Italian cello from the 1740s. The rest of the programme will be played on a small French cello from the 18th century, tuned in G-D-A-E, an octave below the tuning of the violin. This tuning, in addition to being quite historical, is perfectly suited to the exercise of transcription, all the more so for pieces from the violin repertoire.



Valentin Bajou is a French cellist and conductor. In the context of his activities as a performer, he carries out several research projects: for him, the musicological approach is inseparable from the performer’s approach, whatever type of music is concerned. The challenge is to question the notion of “historically informed music”, which is too restrictive and divisive: historicity is not an end in itself, but the natural fruit of sound and profound reflection on the status of the performer and his or her responsibility in the present day… His repertoire covers a period from the 16th century to the present day. A complete musician, he is neither a “baroque cellist” nor a “modern cellist”, but claims the status of a contemporary musician, whose field of activity reflects the complex reality of today’s music world.