Pappano and Wang in Rome

Wang and Pappano in Rome
Che festa al Parco della Musica oggi con Yuja Wang and Antonio Pappano at S.Cecilia tonight at the start of their European tour finishing in London on the 11th May.
A full house at the Sala Santa Cecilia for the concert with two superstars in a programme that included the ever popular Tchaikowsky First Piano Concerto.
A concert that signals the start of a tour the orchestra will take in eight other European Cities finishing at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Having heard Yuja Wang in London recently in recital I was happy to be able to hear her again in the concerto that shot her to stardom in 2007 when she stood in at the last minute for an indisposed Martha Argerich in Boston.
In London I had been very perplexed by the recital she gave recently .Some exquisite playing but barely audible in the hall.
Tonight that was certainly not the case .
This miniscule young lady in the flaming pink dress produced such enormous sounds one wondered how it was possible.
Octaves of such enormous power reminiscent of the sounds that Arrau used to produce . Sounds of such power but never any hardness .
Her projection of the more lyrical passages was still very much for herself but played with such a convincing musical personality that it was totally integrated into a whole overpowering musical line.
Playing from the original score that my young musician friends Evgeny Genchev and Alexander Ullman have recently been excited to show me in the new edition that has recently appeared.
This explains,of course ,the famous opening chords played arpeggiando.Taking away all the hard rather battling chords that we are used to and instead the piano accompanying the magnificent sounds that Pappano draws from his orchestra .
An orchestra where every player feels he has an important part to play as in real chamber music.Where each player is listening so intently to the other led by a most extraordinarily aware leader Roberto González.
So many beautiful things from Yuja Wang but she too was always listening intently to her partners and integrating her sound to create a whole homogeneous sound.
An almost whispered slow movement in which the beautiful opening flute solo of Andre Oliva was then played even more tenderly on the piano in a real musical conversation. Just as the clarinet solo of Alessandro Carbonare in the first movement had been matched and accompanied so perfectly by the pianist.
Of course this did not mean that at the crucial moments there were not the most torrential sounds and rhythmic energy that took even Pappano by surprise .
The great orchestral climax in the last movement led to the most amazingly robust octaves from the pianist and created an electric tension before the final glorious release where everyone was allowed to play out with all the passion that Tchaikowsky’s rich melodic palate inspires.
At this point our Yuja produced such electric sparks that even the orchestra were swept along to the most scintillating final few bars in a feat of amazing virtuosity that surely can only have been matched in the days of Horowitz
A standing ovation was most generously shared by the soloist with the entire orchestra and its magnificent conductor and first violin .
She obviously felt part of a group of musicians just there to enjoy playing together .
The audience were stamping their feet in the hope of encouraging an encore from this twenty nine year old waif of a super virtuoso .
She was just happy to go off arm in arm with our extraordinary knight in shining armour happy at having been able to make music with these remarkable musicians.
I now understand how lonely she must have felt in London on the enormous Royal Festival Hall stage just her and a piano for company .
She has so much in common with that other fantastic super virtuoso Martha Argerich via whom she shot to stardom.
Argerich who prefers to play in company rather than travelling and playing alone .
Introducing the concert and preparing his audience for the twelve minutes of a first performance by the Swiss composer Richard Dubugnon student late in life of the Paris Conservatoire and my Alma Mater the RAM in London .
In his affectionate address to his family ,for that is what his audience in Rome have become ,he said how surprised he was to see such a full hall with a contemporary opening work.
Could it by any chance be for the Tchaikowsky that was to follow?
He need not have worried because this Caprice Romain op 72 n.3 was a quite remarkable work full of extraordinary colours including the bells that were to appear later in Respighi.
A rhythmic energy and a real tour de force for the orchestra .
Conducted with amazing technical precision and real participation from his players one could almost say that this was the highlight of this remarkable concert.
Pity that this work will not be heard in London where it would have been greatly appreciated
 I suppose an overture by Rossini is more of a draw for the box office but I just hope that at least they may decide to play this relatively short work as an encore as it deserves to be heard often on the world stage.
The total infectious dedication and technical expertise of Pappano were reminiscent of the young Colin Davis and the LSO in the works of another much neglected composer Roberto Gerhard.
The Respighi Symphonic poems :The fountains of Rome and the Pines of Rome were played without a break in one glorious whole.
All the places from the fountain of Valle Giulia to the Trevi fountains together with the Pines of Villa Borghese and on the Gianicolo instantly recognisable to me who has had the fortune to spend most of my life in the company of these glorious places in this Eternal City.
Wonderful colours and sumptuous sounds in the careful loving hands of these bringers of all the atmospheres and amazing different lights of these suggestive places.
The build up in the Appian Pines from a whispered insistent bolero type rhythm leading to the most overwhelming climax brought this extraordinary concert to a tumultuous close .
I already have my ticket for London and cannot wait to hear it all over again.

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