Very interesting recital by Jacob Katsnelson for the Pontine Festival in the beautifully


restored granary of the Cistercian complex around the Abbey of Fossanova.Restored by Architect Cerocchi , recently retired president of theCampus Internazionale di Musica,and present with his wife to hear what should have been Elisso Virsaladzes annual recital .


Our adored Elisso ,at home on doctors orders ,had sent her prize assistant to take her place at the last minute .


And here was all the rigour,intellectual and musical that we have come to expect from Elisso’s much revered school of piano playing .


An interesting mixture of Bach transcriptions in the first half ….played without a break with an evident sense of form foremost in Katsnelsons mind .The usual floating romantic melody in ” sheep may safely graze” was not for this pianist and the virtuoso trascriptions by Busoni – the Organ prelude in E flat major acting as opening and ending for music restored to its rightful place – the fact that it was transcribed for piano was irrelevant in front of the form,shape and content of these masterpieces. We were,infact guided through this path in a really masterful fashion . .


Great sense of colour but not in the romantic piano sense but more the strands of colour reminiscent of the sounds of organ stops – quite a remarkable technical feat.


The second half dedicated to Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet op 75 ……and if it did not exactly have you dancing in the aisles ,the colours and overall form restored this piece to the major piano repertoire.


All Elisso’s students out in style to appreciate the great lesson that we could learn and grateful once again that Elisso even from afar had her students intellectual and musical welfare uppermost in her mind.


Masterclasses continue again today in the castle until wednesday when it will be the turn of the star students to show us how much they have been able to grasp in this real exchange of views between master and pupil .


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