Rome International Piano Competition

Marcella Crudeli Rome International Piano Competition …….the Fanny Waterman of Rome
Teatro Quirino today for the final of the XXVI Rome International Piano Competition created and run by the indomitable Marcella Crudeli…..the Fanny Waterman of Rome a life dedicated to helping young talent.
Just a stones throw from the Trevi Fountains is the Teatro Quirino ,one of the most important theatres in Rome and the home for the day of the final of the Rome International Piano Competition . Now in its twenty sixth year it has had some very illustrious past winners such as Boris Giltburg,Dmitry Masleev,Luca Rasca ,Denis Zhdanov all top prize winners since in major competitions such as Queen Elisabeth , Tchaikowsky,London Power and Cleveland . The three finalist this year are Ryoma Takagi ,Daniia Khaibullina and Hao Zi Yoh playing with the Nova Amadeus Chamber Orchestra directed by Nicola Samale.
Ryoma from Japan playing Beethoven third piano concerto .Very well projected and very secure beautiful sound on this very fine Bechstein piano,as one would expect from a student of Petrushansky in Imola .Very unusual non legato and staccato mixed with some refreshingly new ideas made one wonder just how much notice he actually took of what Beethoven actually wrote or how much was just for effect.However some very fine playing even if his musical credentials might be serious in doubt.
Daniliia Khaibullina as one would expect from a Russian trained pianist gave a very professional and musicianly account of Chopin’s First Concerto .Perhaps not the same robust sound or projection as Petrushansky’s student but a real sensitive musician. Hao Zi Yoh a student of Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy I had heard recently give a very fine recital at St James’s Piccadilly that I had written about very enthusiastically.
Here she played the Schumann Piano Concerto with all the sensitive musicianship that one would expect from such a renowned teacher but here , I am sorry to say , she was not at her best probably having suffered from not having had enough time to prepare in Rome.
The distinguished jury made up of Vittorio Costa ,Susan Bettaney( of Chethams with lovely Manchester accent ),Silvia Rinaldi,Giovanna Savarese,Marco Sollini,Antonio Soria and Joanna Trzeciak had a difficult job but decided on Ryoma Takagi for first prize ,a very well trained pianist from the Imola school even if his musicianship was not impeccable,the very fine Russian came a close second being penalised for having a slightly less projected sound and Hao Zi Yoh was awarded third prize as she was certainly not at her best in this final.

Louis Lortie in Rome

Another wonderful Brahms F minor Sonata from Louis Lortie in Rome at the Sapienza University.
Deciding at the last minute to use the Steinway instead of Fazioli …I bet he would have indeed have preferred the Bosendorfer he had in London. His Brahms is so magnificent he is easily on a par with the most memorable performances that I have heard of Annie Fischer,Curzon,Rubinstein,Kempff,Lupu ,Cherkassky . A remarkable sense of grandiose architecture combined with an almost unlimited sense of freedom. A Gilels like pianissimo that carried to the back of the hall with such a melting sensitivity .Only with Rubinstein have I heard such a magical Andante espressivo. A performance of Grieg’s Sonata op 7 made one want to re look at the score such was the admiration for his intellectually passionate musicianship.
The study op 25 n.1 offered as an encore was another example of what a real musician can do in allowing the music to unfold and speak for itself in such a seemingly simple way . Aeolian harp indeed had us all shouting for more.