Francesco Maria Navelli – A star shining brightly at Teatro Palladium for Roma 3

This was the original programme : F. Schubert / F. Liszt: Wanderer-Fantasie, versione per pianoforte e archi (arr. I Massun)
F. Liszt: Malédiction per archi e pianoforte
G. Mahler: Adagietto dalla Sinfonia n. 5 in do diesis minore
A. Copland: Concerto per clarinetto e archi
Maurizio D’Alessandro, clarinetto
Francesco Navelli, pianoforte
Roma Tre Orchestra
Sieva Borzak, direttore

Francesco Navelli a star shining brightly at Teatro Palladium

Another fascinating programme that had me researching works that I knew about but had never actually heard in concert.Thanks to Valerio Vicari who is giving such opportunities to young musicians to bring us not only master works such as the superb Mozart Concerti last week https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/10/30/mozart-triumphs-at-torlonia-with-jonathan-ferrucci-pietro-fresa-sieva-borzak/ But also rarely performed works just waiting to be given a worthy airing!

Teatro Palladium Rome home of Roma 3 Orchestra

Roma 3 orchestra playing at home in their own Teatro Palladium in Rome after a brief tournée around Rome including an appearance at the Liszt Festival in Albano Laziale.A superb young pianist Francesco Navelli from the class of Magarius in Imola astonished ravished and seduced us with his total command of Liszt’s rarely heard Malédiction for piano and string orchestra.


On the programme was to have been an arrangement for string orchestra of Liszt’s also rarely performed transcription of the Wanderer Fantasie by Schubert.
The ink was not yet dry on the page of this newly commissioned reduction for string orchestra (where Liszt had envisaged larger forces) so our valiant pianist stepped in performing the original by Schubert.


All’s well that ends well as they say and we were treated to a masterly performance of intelligence,rhythmic drive and enviable technical command.

Francesco Navelli’s monumental solo performance of Liszt’s much loved Schubert Fantasie


Followed by the famous Adagietto from Mahler’s fifth symphony played with subtle artistry guided by the sensitive hands of Sieva Borzak.

Sieva Borzak instilling artistry and poetry into his young colleagues performance of Mahler


They were joined by Maurizio D’Alessandro for a superb performance of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto written in 1947 for Benny Goodman.

Maurizio D’Alessandro in a heart rending duet with the orchestra harpist .


By great request Francesco Navelli had played an encore of Scarlatti but it was Maurizio D’Alessandro who had seduced us with a ravishing duet with the orchestral harpist in a transcription of Puccini’s much loved :’O mio babino caro’

Francesco Navelli’s superb performance of Liszt with Roma 3 Orchestra under Sieva Borzak

It is to Leslie Howard that we turn to learn more about these rarely performed works of Liszt:’We do not know if Liszt ever heard his Concerto for Piano and Strings—the so-called Malédiction—even in rehearsal, and yet, on the evidence of surviving manuscripts, he spent some time over a period of years preparing the work . (A large manuscript of an earlier fragment for piano and strings containing some material in common with the final score is held at the Goethe-Schiller Archive in Weimar.) Nor do we know why he wrote on this occasion for strings only, since all his other works with solo piano of the same period, whether performed, published, completed or not, are all for symphony orchestra including trombones and percussion. This powerful single-movement piece is among Liszt’s earliest efforts at finding a way forward for the sonata principle; although its outlines conform to the general pattern of exposition (with the obligatory second subject and codetta), development and recapitulation, its narrative is susceptible to almost operatic changes of scene, mood and tempo’The opening motif is just this motif which Liszt labels ‘Malédiction’, rather than the whole score, which he left untitled.The strings first accompany this menacing theme with quiet trills, and next build a sinuous chromatic line around it. The opening motif generates the livelier transition material, the last much calmer section of which Liszt marked ‘Pleurs, angoisse’ (‘Tears, anguish’). A Recitativo introduced by piano and cello brings us to the second theme proper, in the traditional relative major, and to material which Liszt would recall in as late a work as the Valse oubliée No 3 of 1883. The recitative is fully incorporated into this theme before the livelier tempo Vivo is reached—effectively the codetta, which Liszt marks ‘Raillerie’—and a full close in G major is reached. The cello motif is incorporated into the first thematic group before a further increase in tempo brings the second subject material, transformed anon into the coda, with just a brief recall of the first theme in the last four bars.’

Indebted again to Leslie Howard :’Franz Schubert: Grosse Fantasie opus 15—symphonisch bearbeitet für Piano und Orchester—Liszt’s beloved ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy in his transcription which was for many years extremely popular. (I remember famous recordings of Clifford Curzon and Claudio Arrau).Apart from the tiny cadenza which forms the transition to the E flat section of the first movement, Liszt adheres scrupulously to Schubert’s work, very rarely allowing himself very much in the way of decoration.

Maurizio D’Alessandro in Copland’s concerto for clarinet,strings and harp

In 1947 clarinetist Benny Goodman commissioned Copland to write a concerto for clarinet: “I made no demands on what Copland should write. He had completely free rein, except that I should have a two-year exclusivity on playing the work. I paid two thousand dollars and that’s real money. At the time there were not too many American composers to pick from… We never had much trouble except for a little fracas about the spot before the cadenza where he had written a repetition of some phrase. I was a little sticky about leaving it out—it was where the viola was the echo to give the clarinet a cue. But I think Aaron finally did leave it out… Aaron and I played the concerto quite a few times with him conducting, and we made two recordings”While lecturing and conducting in Rio de Janeiro Copland made many drafts of the concerto. On August 26, 1948, he wrote that the concerto was still “dribbling along” and a month later, he wrote in a letter that the piece was almost done and in December 6, 1948, he wrote to composer Carlos Chavez that he had completed the composition and was pleased with the result.Benny Goodman premiered the concerto on an NBC radio broadcast with the conducted by Fritz Reiner on November 6, 1950.The concerto was later choreographed by Jerome Robbins for the ballet Pied Piper (1951).

Francesco Maria Navelli

Francesco Maria Navelli was born in 2003, he soon began studying the piano with Maestro Massimo Bertucci. He immediately established himself in several national and international competitions, including: 1st prize at the International Competition “Leopoldo Mugnone” city of Caserta, International Competition “Paola Galdi” of Vietri sul Mare, 1st prize at the “Napolinova” Piano Competition, 6th International Competition “Youth Academy Award 2016” city of Rome, 1st prize at the “Bach” Competition in Sestri Levante, 1st prize in both its category and up to 17 years at the “Città di Airola” International Performance Competition , 1st absolute prize and best performer prize of the entire Competition, at the 4th European Competition of musical performance “Jacopo Napoli” of Cava de ‘Tirreni. He recently won the 1st prize at the International Music Competition city of Nocera, section “Piano Execution”, without age limit and 3rd prize at the 21st International Competition “Pietro Argento” of Gioia del Colle, Section “Piano Execution (without age limit) also winning the” Best Italian Finalist “Award. At the age of 16, he won the third prize at the 29th International Competition for Piano and Orchestra Città di Cantù, reaching the final as the only Italian of the two sections: classical and romantic.At the age of 13 he entered, after hard selection, at the International Piano Academy “Incontri col Maestro” in Imola, where he still studies with Maestro Leonid Margarius. He participated in the Masters held by Alexander Romanovsky, Alexia Mouza., Ruben Talon, Antonio Pompa Baldi. Invited by various associations to hold recitals in various cities of Italy:, Verbania, Naples, Venice, Imola and abroad, Madrid and Leon in Spain. Participate in Piano City Naples and Milan 2018 edition, enjoying huge success. Invited by the Milan Quartet Society, in June he performed in the Sala Puccini of the “G. Verdi” Conservatory of Milan. In July he participated in the “Concerts on the terrace” organized by the San Carlo Theater in Naples and in August he made his debut as a soloist at the 34th Tagliacozzo Festival with the State Orchestra of Georgia, performing Concerto No. 3 for piano and orchestra of LV Beethoven. In September 2018 he received a three-year scholarship, one of the best talents of the Piano Academy, from the Imola Academy in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Imola. In addition to solo activity, he also works in the chamber, playing with his brother in a Violin-Piano duo, winning prizes in various competitions, gaining huge critical and public success.

Francesco Maria Navelli Nato nel 2003, Inizia prestissimo lo studio del pianoforte col M° Massimo Bertucci.Si afferma subito in diversi concorsi nazionali ed internazionali, tra questi: 1° premio al Concorso Internazionale “Leopoldo Mugnone” città di Caserta, Concorso Internazionale “Paola Galdi” di Vietri sul Mare, 1° premio al Concorso pianistico “Napolinova”, 6° Concorso Internazionale “Premio Accademia Giovani 2016” città di Roma, 1° premio al Concorso “Bach” di Sestri Levante, 1° premio assoluto sia nella sua categoria che in quella fino a 17 anni al Concorso Internazionale di Esecuzione Musicale “Città di Airola”, 1° premio assoluto e premio miglior esecutore di tutto il Concorso, al IV Concorso Europeo di esecuzione musicale “Jacopo Napoli” di Cava de’ Tirreni. Ha recentemente vinto il 1° premio al Concorso Internazionale Musicale città di Nocera, sezione “Esecuzione Pianistica”, senza limite di età e 3° premio al 21° Concorso Internazionale “Pietro Argento” di Gioia del Colle, Sez. “Esecuzione Pianistica (senza limite d’età) vincendo anche il Premio “ Miglior Finalista Italiano”.A soli 16 anni, vince il terzo premio al 29* Concorso Internazionale per Pianoforte e Orchestra Città di Cantù, giungendo in finale come unico italiano delle due sezioni: classica e romantica.All’età di 13 anni entra, dopo dura selezione, all’Accademia Pianistica Internazionale “Incontri col Maestro” di Imola, dove studia tuttora col M° Leonid Margarius. Ha partecipato ai Master tenuti dai Maestri Alexander Romanovsky , Alexia Mouza., Ruben Talon, Antonio Pompa Baldi. Invitato da diverse associazioni a tenere recitals in varie città d’Italia: , Verbania, Napoli, Venezia, Imola e all’estero, Madrid e Leon in Spagna.Partecipa a Piano City Napoli e Milano edizione 2018, riscuotendo enorme successo. Invitato dalla Società del Quartetto di Milano, a giugno si è esibito nella Sala Puccini del Conservatorio “G.Verdi” di Milano. A luglio ha partecipato alla rassegna “Concerti in terrazza” organizzato dal Teatro San Carlo di Napoli e In agosto ha debuttato come solista,, al 34° Festival di Tagliacozzo, con l’orchestra di Stato della Georgia , eseguendo il Concerto N. 3 per pianoforte e orchestra di L.V. Beethoven.Nel mese di Settembre 2018 ha ricevuto dall’Accademia di Imola in collaborazione col Rotary Club di Imola, una borsa di studio, della durata di 3 anni, come uno dei migliori talenti dell’Accademia Pianistica.All’attività solistica affianca anche quella da camera, suonando con suo fratello in duo Violino-Pianoforte, premiati in diversi concorsi, riscuotendo enorme successo di critica e di pubblico.

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