It is unusual for a concert pianist to not only play himself in a film but to also performs all the music that makes the soundtrack of the film. Because he is not well known in the US some biographical information helps: `Alexandre Tharaud (born December 9, 1968) is a French pianist born in Paris on December 9, 1968, Alexandre Tharaud discovered the music scene through his father, a director and singer of operettas, which were put on in theaters of Northern France, where his family spent many weekends. At the initiative of his parents, Alexandre started his piano studies at age 5, and he entered Conservatory of the 14th Arrondissement where he met Carmen Taccon-Devenat--a student of Marguerite Long--who became his teacher. He entered the Conservatoire de Paris at age 14 where he won first prize for piano Germaine Mounier when he was 17 years old. With Theodor Paraskivesco, he mastered the piano, and he sought and received the advice of Claude Helffer, Leon Fleisher and Nikita Magaloff. In 1987, he won the International Maria Canals Competition in Barcelona and, a year later, the Senigallia Competition in Italy. In 1989, he received 2nd prize at the Munich International Competition. His career developed quickly in Europe as well as in North America and Japan. Of note, Alexandre refuses to keep his piano in his house because of his belief that he will begin to prefer the pleasure of improvisation to the necessity of rigorous work. He also composes but usually keeps this activity in the background.'
Alexandre Tharaud plays the role of Alexandre, piano student of Anne and Georges whose love story fills the film. The musical score is devoted to Schubert's Impromptus Nos. 1 and 3 and Moment musical No. 3, Beethoven's opus 126 Bagatelle No. 2 and opus 33 Bagatelles Nos. 2 and 4 and the Bach-Busoni Prelude Chorale `Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ' - performed by Tharaud. In viewing the standard repertoire of Tharaud the fact that he seems more devoted to the music of Bach, Scarlatti, Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc and Chopin than to the works of Franz Schubert. His approach to Schubert is a bit cold without the finesse and melodic line sensitivity of Andras Schiff, Murray Perahia, Alfred Brendel or Paul Lewis. But for the atmosphere of the film his pianistic skills more than amplify the fact that an actor is truly playing the music we hear. For sentimental reasons this is a fine album. Grady Harp, August 13