I have written many times about Jonathan Ferrucci and his lock down project to learn the Goldberg Variations.
As he says a lifetime may not be enough to enter completely into the genial mind of J.S.Bach.One can but try and this is the start of a remarkable voyage of discovery.Now on his fifth public performance I think that from the spell that he created in Florence last night it was evidence enough that he is on the right trail.Seventy five minutes of total silence from an elite audience surrounded by the books of that remarkable aesthete Harold Acton.
Jonathan like Acton was born in Florence both bringing back their experiences from abroad to the cradle of culture in what Rostropovich described as the Museum of the World.
It was nice to meet at last Jonathan’s remarkable teacher Giovanni Carmassi who had instilled such poetry and wisdom into his young prodigy before sending him out into the world to perfect his studies with Joan Havill in London.
Jonathan is now being mentored by Angela Hewitt who has indeed inherited the mantle of Rosalyn Tureck as the High Priestess of Bach.I brought Rosalyn Tureck to Florence in the 90’s when she was 78 to play these very variations at La Pergola and she became immediately the ‘Diva’ of Florence.The mantle has now passed to Angela Hewitt whose approach to Bach is more human and less monumental than Tureck but their total dedication allows them to get as close as is possible to the core of the genius of J.S.Bach.
Jonathan is fast on this trail too as the minutes of aching silence that greeted the end of the Goldberg last night was proof enough.I have already written in detail about his performances but last night I could hear that he has refined his ornamentation and dug deeper into the sublime 25th variation and added a solidity to the 28th.His performance had the authority of someone who is living with the music and it is gradually but surely entering his being as it directs his spirit to the glory of the soul of Bach which is of course To the Glory of God! https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/11/18/angela-hewitt-for-the-glory-of-bach-the-pinnacle-of-pianistic-perfection/
It is to Simon Gammell that our thanks must go for allowing the Keyboard Charitable Trust to bring some of its finest young pianists to play in the Harold Acton Library of the British Institute in Florence.Jonathan’s recital is the opening of a series of seven recitals that will fill these hallowed walls with the sound of music after this long lockdown period.The next date in this series is Thursday 27th January followed by Thursday appointments on 24/2,24/3,5/5,16/6,30/6 .More detailed information will be found eventually on the web site of the British Institute and the Keyboard Charitable Trust