Canada Day in Perugia with Angela Hewitt and distinguished friends
How do four great pianists celebrate the Canada 150 anniversary?
Angela Hewitt showed us last night at the Teatro Morlacchi in Perugia as part of her Trasimeno Festival amazingly in its 13 year
Angela has long had a home on her adored Lake Trasimeno .
Travelling the world continuously she told me about her idea of setting up a summer festival to make music with her friends in this idyllic setting.
Having created with my wife Ileana Ghione an important theatre in Rome since 1980 in which many of the worlds greatest musicians performed she sought out my advice to learn from my experiences.
We had both been befriended by our never forgotten father figure Sidney Harrison as we were all in that period Chiswickians but since had both hopelessly fallen in love with Italy.
It was Rostpropovich who described Italy as “The Museum of the World”
How right he was.
Both Angela Hewitt and Janina Fialkowska had played in my theatre.
Angela as winner of the one and only Glenn Gould Competition.
And Janina as a top prize winner in the first Artur Rubinstein Competition in Israel,where she was taken under the wing of the great man himself.
Here they both were again tonight joined by Jon Kimura Parker, winner some years ago of the Leeds International Piano Competition and their younger colleague Charles Richard Hamelin,fast making a name for himself on the International Circuit.
Four of the finest pianists in the world all from the amazing school of Canadian pianists inspired by the genial figure of Glenn Gould.
The curtain rose tonight on four magnificent Fazioli concert grand pianos on the stage of one of Italy’s most historic theatres in Perugia:Teatro Morlacchi.
Mozart’s Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” in a trascription for four pianos/ eight hands by Hermann Behn.
The infectious rhythmic energy set the seal on a festive spirit that was to pervade the whole joyous evening of refined music making .
Four wonderful musicians letting their hair down and sharing their innate artistry with us in the name of their beloved Canada.
In fact the Sorcerer’s Apprentice that followed was arranged by Adam Stern who had helped prepare the encore of Canada’s national anthem played by our valiant four whilst white and red balloons cascaded down from paradiso (known in fact as the Gods in english).
Remarkable ensemble with Jon and Angela dispensing with page turners in favour of a tablet and an added pedal.
Janina and Charles instead preferring to rely on two valient volontiers.
There were indeed another two volontiers ,who in fact had been forwarned , who took part in six hands on one piano.
A beautifully shaped Standchen in the refined top two hands of Janina.
And a Rachmaninov Romance with the top two hands of a very romantic Angela.
Charles at the bottom as Jon had been in Standchen .
Some beautiful solo Chopin in the first half Charles Hamelin (no relation by the way) in two beautifully shaped Impromptus .
The very artistocratic performances of Rubinstein much in mind in the very noble and simply shaped performance of number 3 tonight followed by a scintillating performance of the Fantasie Impromptu.
Janina in the first scherzo made this fine Fazioli resound with a depth and refined colour palate that the world has recognised in her for over 40 years as Rubinstein had foreseen all those years ago
Angela played with a disarming simplicity that touched her very attentive audience with Debussy Claire de lune
Jon dazzelled us with a Blues Etude by his compatriot jazz genius Oscar Peterson .
We seem to have lost touch in europe with the great pianist who took the world by storm twenty years ago when he won the most prestigious of all competitions in Leeds. Remarkable sense of colour and an infectious joy to share the music with us.
Scaramouche with some beautifully shaped sounds and a rhythmic performance of great virtuosity of the Braziliera that brought the house down and ended the first half
Rossini’s William Tell Overture opened the second half even before the curtain was fully open.
Such was the infectious party atmosphere and a feeling that there was such fun being shared on stage.
Bach,of course could not be missing from the festival of one of the worlds most renowned Bach interpreters.
And so we were treated to the Allegro from the 3rd Brandenburg Concerto.
The wonderful energy generated by this genial music was the ideal foil for our wonderful quartet by now just raring at the bit.
Rachmaninov Tarantella from the Second Suite op 17 for four instead of the usual two pianos brought this party to a happy close.
Happy Birthday Canada from the stable of your world renowned school of piano playing.
Hats off to the indomitable energy of Angela Hewitt for sharing the joy of Canada’s special celebrations with us in her adopted Trasimeno Festival.