With her new programme "L'amour, la mort, la mer" Patricia Petibon flies freely from one register to another, from one language to another, and from one style to its exact opposite. However, she does base her repertoire around her own personal journey. This is what grants her seemingly eclectic style the consistency of an unparalleled performance. It is less a recital than a story that unfolds from one composer to the next—a secret story of grief, travel, and solitude. In this way, she echoes the idea underpinning Saint- John Perse’s poem, Amers: “The tragedians came down from the quarries. They raised their arms in honour of the sea.” In this poem, the tragedians travel to the seashore in search of inspiration and the renewal of their art. Their request is far from nostalgic; they come with a hope of salt on their lips and the taste for a revitalised present. Art and singing must sometimes contend with the horizontal cosmos of the ocean horizon to reach greater heights.
By pairing the little known Jean Cras with John Lennon, the classic Fauré with the modern Escaich, the Spanish Granados with the Breton Tiersen, Patricia Petibon assembles a far-reaching compass to achieve a one-of-a-kind sound. By listening to her move from one song to the next, it becomes clear that Patricia Petibon’s music is all her own. The complicity of the composers and musicians featured on the record only adds to this feeling of artistic integrity and endless striving.
Her duo with the deeply moving Susan Manoff shows what can be created through friendship centred on music and music based in friendship.
Love, death, singing, and the sea require deep humility, honest admission, and the confession of both our distress and hopes. Every year, Patricia Petibon redefines the scope of the human voice with the power of her sincerity. She can do no more than simply give voice to the thing within her that sings a louder song and resonates with the discord of modern times. Her abundant voice conveys a type of acceptance that reverses the polarities of pain. For a Breton, nothing is bigger than the sea, “which washes the wounds and the stains of humanity”, as Homer once wrote. However, music can direct this same vastness inwards. Music hollows out the sky and internalises the ocean. All you have to do is close your eyes.
(text by Olivier Py)