Emanuel playing last night for the Pontine Festival in collaboration with the Keyboard Charitable Trust of London gave a remarkable recital in Fondi last night.On a good but unremarkable Kwai piano in a beautiful hall – again a Palazzo belonging to the Caetani family ,as is Sermoneta , and looked after by the ever caring Caetani Foundation.


Such physical involvement,reminiscent of Sviatoslav Richter, was totally convincing when combined with playing of such simplicity and refined musicianship.What better example could there be of the Russian paradox of piano playing – Sturm and Drang indeed, and hardly surprising as he is a supreme representative of the School of Elisso Virsaladze . Dearly missed Elisso this year – she has been advised to rest this summer after her total dedication to her students has left her with doctors orders to stay at home.Ever concerned for her students Elisso has sent her assistant Jacob Ketsnelson to keep her students on the straight and narrow and I hear that he is constantly in contact with her about their progress .Her students are enthusiastic about his dedication and help that he is able to give .He is also a wonderful companion di viaggio for Elisso’s remarkable class.Just like the great professional she is , Elisso never to abandon her wonderfully gifted students- she has sent the best and everyone is very grateful .


Mozart A minor Sonata played with a rhythmic energy and totally convincing musicianship very reminiscent of that other great teacher Guido Agosti .No sentimentality but real sentiment within the confines of Mozarts perfect form.Not an easy lesson to learn but here played to perfection.The second movement played with a involved simplicty and beautiful cantabile and contrasts that showed all Emanuel’s mastery in a hall where there was no help from a very resonant acoustic and noisy happy people glad to express their” joie de vivre” in the square outside.


Virtuosity in abundance in the Scriabin Fantasy op 28 and Schumann Humoreske op 20 ,but allied to such beautiful cantabile and flights of fancy in the Schumann …. again reminiscent of that other supreme Russian master Sviatoslav Richter .


Two encores of Chasse Neige by Liszt and an Etude Tableau by Rachmaninov showed off his real virtuoso technique that had been subtly hidden but very much evidence for all those aware of the tour de force that we had been privileged to hear in a hall that was obviously more used to banquets and Musica Antiqua .


The whole class from Sermoneta had made the 80 km journey ably organised by Tiziana Cherubini and Elisa Cerocchi ( sandwiches also provided) determined to allow all the students to see what their goal might be.For Emanuel has been present in Sermoneta for many years and one could say a real product of the serious nature and heritage( that goes back to Menuhin and Szigeti)of the Pontine Festival .


Jacob Katsnelson was of course the first to congratulate Emanuel and we are all looking forward to his recital at Fossanova on Sunday in place of Elisso .I am sure he is on the phone to Elisso even from Moscow determined to keep an eye on her prize students even from afar.What a feast of Music there is in this area thanks to the Pontine Festival now remarkably in their 51st year .


Sad news this morning of the passing away of that great critic Bill Newman in London ,our great link to the golden era of Walter Legge….they don’t make ‘em like that anymore – it was a privilege to have known him


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