The Festival Pontino di Musica in Sermoneta in these difficult times has dedicated this years festival to the young that are so in need of a platform .
And so the very opening concert in the magical atmosphere of the Caetani Castle was dedicated to the Orchestra of the Liceo Musicale Farnesina and on the 29th July in the beautiful Abbey of Valvisciolo it will be the turn of the Juni Orchestra of the Accademy of S.Cecilia .
What better way to turn these austere times to the advantage of the enormously talented young musicians that dedicate their youth to Art.
Hats off the Elisa Cerocchi( daughter of the now retired founder Riccardo Cerocchi)Tiziana Cherubini and the ever present neo presidente Luigi Giannini.
However the Pontine Festival does not lack in illustrious names with a faithful following from artists such as Elisso Virsaladze,Alessandro Carbonare,Franco Petracchi and Mariana Sirbu all dedicating their time to the masterclasses that since the time of Menuhin and Szigeti have been so much part of the music making on the Pontine Hills during the summer months.
So it was last night with the return of Elisso Virsaladze,who has been an annual appointment for for many years .
Missing last year due to illness and now returning to give a recital in the courtyard of the castle of Mozart.Schubert and Schumann.
And what a return it was .Could there now be another dimension to her playing or have we just been starved of her great artistry for too long
The little Mozart Rondo in A minor KV511 given a really operatic performance such was the freedom she found within the strict framework where very note seemed to talk directly in a fascinating and very subtle way.
Beautiful and unexpected jeux perle’ and wonderful sense of balance allowed the music to speak for itself with a surprising intensity .It was as though we were hearing this well known piece for the first time.
Following with Schubert’s great G major Sonata Fantasia .
A difficult work to bring off in the concert hall so here in the open air it was a real challenge.
It was obvious from the magical opening that she had perfectly judged the accoustic as she held the public in her hands for the next half an hour . Not missing the drama of the development section in the first movement but always in the context of the fantasy that she was recounting .Some beautifully projected cantabile in the andante and some very subtle shading in the Menuet leading to an impish opening of the Allegretto ,played with such obvious enjoyment that when it burst into one of the most beautiful melodies that Schubert has penned we were reminded of that other wonderful last movement that is Mozart’s Cmajor concerto K503 where the overwhelming invention pours out in a seemingly limitless way.
Schnabel once said that Mozart was too easy for children and too difficult for adults but in the Sonata in F K.533 that followed after the interval this amazingly complete artist found just the right simplicity and character that can be so difficult to balance .
Richter was a great admirer of Elisso Virsaladze’s Schumann from when she won the competition in Zwickau and so it was no surprise to find an impeccable performance of his Carnaval op 9.
Restored to the original with all the traditional idiosyncracies eliminated as she purveyed in a microscopic way the original intentions of Schumann as shown so clearly in the score .
Not to say it lacked colour,passion,charm and style for this is one of the great artists of our time and how lucky all the young pianists are that flock to her masterclasses to be able to share in her seemingly direct contact with the composers.Students that have included Beatrice Rana,Emanuel Rimoldi,Alexander Ullman,Pablo Rossi and Evelyne Beresowsky to name but a few.
Ever generous with three encores (Mozart and Chopin Mazurka op30 n.4 and the Waltz op 42 ) and an enthusiastic audience glad to be able to demonstrate how pleased they are to have her back again.