Patrick Radelet

Patrick Radelet: French Musician Is Committed to Armenia and Artsakh

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YEREVAN / REIMS, France – Patrick Radelet is a French singer, pianist and composer. He studied singing at the Paris Conservatory, where he was awarded a first prize. He has been a baritone with the Radio France Choir (Paris) since 1991, where he has sung as a soloist under the direction of many renowned conductors. Outside of Radio France, he also sings as a soloist in numerous oratorios, as well as in recitals. He participates in concerts as a pianist (accompaniment of singers and chamber music) and regularly collaborates with the German Bärenreiter publishing house in making piano-chant arrangements of orchestral scores of operas.

Dear Patrick, your concert “For you, Artsakh,” on April 25 at the Aram Khachatryan House Museum in Yerevan with your daughter, cellist Mathilde Radelet, was quite memorable, not only because you presented only Armenian songs and music, but also because we discovered talented musicians. I would like to thank you for your moral support to Artsakh, but also for your high-quality art! How would you describe this concert?

I will leave it to all those who attended the concert to talk about what they heard. I can only tell you what it means to me, that is, my desire to interpret Armenian music, my desire to express my support and total solidarity with all the Armenian people, my desire for communion with them, a communion that I felt very well during the two concerts in Yerevan and in Kapan. This concert is also the culmination of all that I have undertaken since November 2020 and the crystallization of my love for Armenia, its people and its culture.

Kapan is a border town that does not usually receive guest artists, although it has great artistic traditions. How did you decide to go there?

I also wanted to do this concert in Kapan for two essential reasons. The first one is my will to bring my support to the whole Syunik, seriously threatened in the same way as Artsakh. Kapan is the most important city of this region of Armenia, so it is an important symbol, and its geographical position very close to Artsakh is an additional one in my eyes. Moreover, during my first trip to Armenia with my family in August 2022, we came to Kapan to visit my friend Mari Khachatryan’s family. At that time, I promised them to come and sing there.

The concert was very well received by the large audience (about 400 people). We went to Kapan by road, the Yerevan-Kapan test flight had taken place just two days before, so the connection was not yet open. But it is a pleasure to drive this road, to cross villages and to admire the very varied landscapes that Armenia offers.

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It is normal for professional musicians to play without a score, but you also sang Armenian songs without reading them! How did you manage to memorize the Armenian words and sing with the right pronunciation?

I worked very hard, first to get to know Armenian music, to absorb its unique expression and to understand its very essence. Then, I chose what I wanted to interpret and I started to work on the texts of the songs: pronunciation and translation. For this, I was first helped by Mari Khachatryan and her mother Anahit, then by my friend Anna Gabrielyan from Yerevan who helped me enormously without ever counting her time. Thanks to these friends and hard personal work, I managed to achieve what I was aiming for: to sing in Armenian by heart, knowing the meaning of each word, and accompanying myself on the piano.

We also thank you for composing the beautiful piece “Artsakh” for piano and cello. I would like this work to be played in many countries. How a French musician without Armenian origin managed to write this composition?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about this composition. For a long time, I had the idea of writing something for Artsakh. To do so, I wanted to use – in part – Armenian melodies from Artsakh. During my stay in Armenia last year, I was able to bring back about fifteen of these melodies. I chose three of them and used each of them, harmonizing and developing them, for each of the three pieces constituting “Artsakh.” Of course, I wrote my own melodies and combined them with Armenian themes with the aim of building something coherent and trying to stay close to the Armenian expression. During our trip to Armenia in August 2020, we travelled through many parts of the country. I was deeply marked by the Armenian landscapes, the mountains, the monasteries… We met refugee families from Artsakh who had lost everything. It was these very strong impressions and emotions that allowed me to write this music and to express in it what I seem to have grasped of the Armenian spirit and what it provokes in me.

Patrick Radelet and his daughter Mathilde

This was your second visit to Armenia. What can Westerners find in this country?

I find so many elements in Armenia that reinforce my attachment to this country and its people. I will try to explain…

Topics: Music

First of all, there are the encounters that one makes there. In Armenia hospitality is not an empty word: it is absolutely extraordinary. We have always been received in an extremely generous and loving way. All the people I have met, whether it was a private, professional, public or simply a spontaneous conversation of a few minutes with a cab driver or an unexpected meeting at the corner of a street, all these people have always shown themselves to be warm, pleasant and of a benevolent humanity. Then there is the country itself, its marvelous landscapes, its mountains so beautiful and diverse, the architectural beauty so characteristic of the monasteries and churches scattered even in the most remote places of the mountains, the language and its magnificent alphabet celebrated in many places in and out of the cities, and which is one of the pillars of Armenian identity. There is the Armenian cuisine and the way it is shared. The whole country breathes Armenian culture. There is the general atmosphere, human and safe. Whether in the city or in the mountains, in the prestigious places or in the more underprivileged areas, I feel at home everywhere in Armenia.

You wished to obtain an Armenian passport, whereas some Armenian citizens dream of having foreign passports.

I feel extremely close to Armenia and Armenians. This attachment is growing day by day, and is increased tenfold after each of my visits to Armenia. This application for Armenian nationality is my wish to give concrete expression to this deep attachment. It is the expression of my ardent desire to belong to the Armenian people. For me, it is the logical and natural continuation of the path that carries me more and more towards Armenia.

Thanks again, Patrick, to Mathilde and to you! And I wish you to present Armenian music all over the world and to come to Armenia again and again!

To spread and make known the Armenian culture through music, and thus draw attention to Armenia and Artsakh is now my main concern and my dearest desire. I will continue to work on it, to participate in the measure of my modest means in the advent of a finally secure and serene life for all Armenians on their ancestral lands.

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