The Emperor speaks Carlo Grante – Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese directed by Marcello Bufalini
It must be over twenty five years ago that Vittorio Antonellini asked me if his orchestra could give Sunday morning concerts in my theatre in Rome . And so for many Sundays we had the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese anxious to have a prestigious presence also in Rome apart from their home city of L’Aquila where they had their own hall.
Many memorable concerts in spite of the difficulty to get an orchestra on stage when in the afternoon there was a stage performance of a play.
But where there is a will there is a way and we succeeded as indeed the orchestra have now in their earthquake torn city.
They have re- emerged to offer comfort as only music can to their strong but shaken citizens . In the Ridotto of the Teatro Comunale the Orchestra has found its home whilst the actual Theatre next door is being reconstructed after the terrible earthquake seven years ago that almost flattened this very important city.
By coincidence ,two young artists that were performing regularly in my theatre in the same period were Carlo Grante and Luisa Prayer.
Carlo born in L’Aquila gave several series of concerts playing a large part of the piano repertoire of which he was already master.
Luisa too a student of our near neighbour that magnificent musician Sergio Cafaro ,played many concerts demonstrating, as all Sergio’s students did, a rare musicality .
Another of his students to find a home in my theatre was in fact Roberto Prosseda.who recently recorded Mendelssohn’s third piano concerto with Riccardo Chailly ,performing it also with the LPO at the Festival Hall in London and many other prestigious venues throughout the world
So it was a great joy to hear Carlo Grante play the Emperor Concerto at the inaugural concert of the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese of which the new artistic director is Luisa Prayer. Directed by Marcello Bufalini the musician who had in fact recently completed from fragments Mendelssohn’s third piano concerto mentioned above. (Another coincidence was listening on the radio on my long trip back to Rome the opening concert from La Scala which was directed by Riccardo Chailly with Benjamin Grosvenor the much applauded soloist in Liszt’s first piano concerto)
.The world of great music making is very small indeed !
A splendid performance of the Emperor played with that great Beethovenian energy (that Pappano had too in Fidelio that was awaiting me on my return this evening on the television transmitted from the opening concert of S.Cecilia that I had attended the day before).
Some very fine playing form Carlo not least for his utmost attention to the bass – the very roots of the Beethoven sound.
It much reminded me ,in his mature innate musicianship,of that other renowned musician Paul Badura Skoda (who has just been performing in Carlo’s new Piano Festival Cristofori in Padua). The same clarity but at the same time extreme attention to detail as was obvious from a magical account of the slow movement.
The opening had all the majesty and command together with an impetus that propelled the music forward and swept us along with it too.
The Orchestra very well directed by Bufalini had found the same impetus that was also very well projected into the final Allegro con spirito that was in fact repeated as an encore from a very numerous and insistent audience.
An appeal from Carlo from citizen to citizen to spread the word about this wonderful music making in this strife ridden city and remind their friends that there was still time to buy a season ticket and thus give the maximum support to this splendid venture so ably directed by Luisa Prayer.
I should add also that three years ago we at the Keyboard Charitable Trust were invited by Guido Barbieri,the renowned critic,and artistic director of the Amici della Musica, a music society that goes back more than a century and where Rubinstein and many other illustrious musicians would return year after year.
Rubinstein was in fact an honorary citizen of this once noble city.
We too were invited to bring three young pianists to play and talk about our activity of encouraging and helping young musicians in the very difficult period between the end of studying and starting a career .
We performed in a new hall,designed by Renzo Piano(The Shard,Parco della Musica)and given to the L’Aquila by another earthquake torn city,that of Trento.
Claudio Abbado had agreed to give the inaugural concert donating also his services as a sign of solidarity and encouragement .
And so it was shortly afterwards that three very fine young pianists Pablo Rossi,Vitaly Pisarenko and Mei Yi Fou were chosen to come L’Aquila together with the founders of the Keyboard Charitable Trust –Noretta Conci-Leech and her husband John Leech.We all came to give comfort and a message of hope for the future to these very strong,courageous people .
What was it that Shakespeare said :” If music be the food of love …..play on …”
For music arrives where words are just not enough .
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