A fascinating concert from the opening provocative chord of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto.The pianist was the 24 year old Jacopo Feresin who in 2018 was voted an honorary member of Roma 3 and is now perfecting his studies with the distinguished pianofile and musicologist Piero Rattalino.
I was intrigued to hear the opening spread chord and also the arpeggiated chords in the slow movement.
Jacopo gave a fine performance despite a mishap in the first movement that he happily was able to risolve in a professional way.He did,however,sometimes play with too much youthful passion that overwhelmed the perfection of Beethoven’s most pastoral of Concertos.
It is a great responsibility to play with this orchestra under a Massimiliano Caldi who like Enrico Bronzi is turning this student orchestra into a professional body to be reckoned with.
But it is interesting to note how many musicians are playing Beethoven 4 not only with arpeggiando chords as in the clamorous case of Juan Perez Florestan,winner of the Rubinstein Competition.He not only opened the final round of this prestigiius tournament with a great flourish but then went on to embellish Beethoven’s own magical web of delicate elaborations in the first movement – where infact Jacopo came unstuck this evening.
Igor Levit too ,the other day,did the same.Angela Hewitt tells me that Jeffrey Tate had found evidence that this is what Beethoven intended.
Steven Kovacevich was the first over twenty years ago to spread the opening chord in his Australian recording of the complete Beethoven’s that he gave me one year as a present on his annual recital at the Ghione theatre.He too told me of the evidence in Beethoven’s correspondence that gave weight to this theory .But Stephen had studied the concerto with Myra Hess who certainly never spread the chords.He was her true heir playing the concerto on tour with Boulez and the BBC Symphony Orchestra together with that other golden talent under Madam Tillett management,Jaqueline Du Pre.They were the young much feted soloists,long before the arrival of Daniel Barenboim.
I was in the Festival Hall when Rubinstein played it ( recorded live on video) with Antal Dorati without any sign of arpeggiando chords or added embellishments.Serkin,Backhaus,Schnabel,Arrau,Gilels,Fleischer and Perahia never spread them and they were all artists who delved deep into the scores and original editions to get as close to the composers intentions as possible.So why should there be the increasingly prevelant habit of adding embellishments especially amongst the new generation?
Could it be the case that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing?
I remember Tortelier saying he would play Bach on a baroque instrument when they managed to find a baroque recording studio !
The early instruments had very little sustaining power (with the gut strings and less powerful instruments) especially in the big concert halls of today.To prolong the sound one had to embellish or arpeggiate in order to be heard and produce a coherent musical line.
But today we are playing on instruments that are far more capable of sustaining sounds (and metal strings )and of projecting the sound above or at least within the orchestra ,projecting it into halls that are far bigger than those previously known in the composers lifetime.
It is a question of taste and integrity and there are some performers who can add just a magic touch to Mozart’s long lines and there are others that think that Mozart’s sublime simplicity is enough.
All this passed through my mind until I heard Jacopo add his own cadenza in the last movement.It may be historically accurate but as I say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and it is a pity to blemish what is probably Beethoven’s most perfect work for piano and orchestra.
Widmung by Schumann/Liszt gave this talented young man the opportunity to seduce and ignite with Schumann’s passionate outpourings.
Tonight Schumann Piano Concerto in this remarkable series of concerts for young performers that the enlightened Valerio Vicari has envisaged and encouraged for the past 15 years helping endless numbers of great young talents to find the experience and an audience which is the only way to grow as an artist learning the greatest art of all :listening to yourself!
A competition amongst recent solista saw Ruben Micieli declared the unanimous winner and he will be invited next year to play with this prestigious orchestra.
Masterly playing from Gabriele Strata for the final concert of the remarkable season of Roma 3 Orchestra under the title of Evening Harmonies at Teatro Palladium.
Very assured playing of Schumann piano concerto hardly surprising when you realise that this young pianist from Padua is finishing his studies under a master at Yale University.
Boris Berman a pianist who has played many times at the Ghione Theatre as has his colleague Peter Frankl.They have been passing on their knowledge and skill to the next generation for some years.
Boris adores Italy and every opportunity he is here to enjoy the sea,the sunshine but above all the culture.
As Rostropovich declared :Italy is the museum of the world .
A performance of great assurance and clarity and although hard hitting at times there were moments of great sensibility and poetry.A young man with a powerful engine in his hands that now with maturity will find the elegance and time to allow the music to unfold naturally.
In the Andantino grazioso Intermezzo he found the ideal tempo to be able to dialogue with the orchestra without loosing the rhythmic impetus which he had slightly forsaken in the first movement’s beautiful central episode even though marked Andante espressivo.The last movement Allegro vivace was played with great authority that could have had a stronger blend of charm and grace.Nevertheless a remarkable performance very much in command of the situation.
As an encore he chose the beautiful Abendlied by Schumann exquisitely played but even here he could have taken more time to allow this most beautiful page of music to speak with even more intensity.
Beethoven 7th Symphony was given a driving performance of unrelenting rhythmic energy.Even the famous Allegretto was at a tempo that at first seemed rather fast but as the music unfolded in the masterly hands of Massimiliano Cialdi it became totally convincing as did his driving rhythms in the Presto and Allegro con brio.
A tournée is announced in the next few weeks in Puglia and Calabria.
Is there no stopping the passionate dedication to help young musicians of the remarkable Roma 3 Orchestra in the hands of Prof Roberto Pujia and his star ex student ,now Artistic director Valerio Vicari?