André Gallo at Viterbo University today for the collaboration between the distinguished musicologist Prof.Franco Ricci and the Keyboard Charitable Trust.
A yearly appointment where we already heard such stars as Alexander Ullman and Vitaly Pisarenko and now it is the turn of Andre Gallo.
Already noted by Noretta Conci-Leech and Bryce Morrison at Steinway Hall last year when Andre made his debut for the trust.
In fact Bryce Morrison,one of the most highly respected of critics, described his playing “a superb pianist with an intriguing and daring personality” . In 25 years of the Trust he cannot remember hearing a more masterly performance from the Trusts performers .
Having already performed in the meantime in Cyprus where his concert and masterclass were received with enormous admiration and enthusiasm it was with great anticipation that we were able to hear Andre again in a recital in Viterbo .
Next friday he can be heard again in a live radio broadcast of an hour of music and interview for the Italian Radio Rai 3 at 22.30 .
Immediately apparent was the way that he caressed the piano, a true act of love that was transmitted immediately to an enraptured public overcome by the sheer beauty of the sounds he produced.
This way of caressing the piano very much in the mold of the Tobias Matthay school of playing personified in the playing if Myra Hess and Moura Lympany.
Gone is the aggressive ,percussive almost brutal way of attacking the keyboard by the so called lions of the keyboard and is replaced even in the most dramatic outbursts by a sound that is never allowed to be forced
Anyone who has read of Chopin’s insistence when teaching that was not to start with a C major scale where the hand has to be held in a restricted way .It was to start with the C sharp scale where the hand was allowed to be in a more natural position.
And so it was today a joy to behold the sounds we were hearing reflected in the shaping of his hands on the keyboard .
A real lesson of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.
Something so rare to see and hear in these days of super resilient instruments where projection of sound is no longer a question of balance but of brute force.
A single encore was enough to put a seal on what has been described by the Prefect of Viterbo as the finest pianist they have heard in the past twelve years since this remarkable series began.
The first little piece from Kinderscenen by Schumann where we could marvel at the wonderful expressive sounds produced and by his aristocratic sense of line and balance. This had been evident from the very first piece in this extraordinary recital . The Arabeske op 18 by Schumann in which the magical coda so reminiscent of the codicil of his songs and was the natural consequence of all that had so rightly gone before.
Chopin’s famous posthumous Nocturne in C sharp minor he had reverted to the original Feuille D’Album where the central section, so seemingly out of place in the eventual published nocturne , does not exist .And so this nocturne together with Grieg Das Wander and Mendelssohn’s sublime Song Without Words op 19 n.1 were played as a whole .
For not only is Andre a masterly pianist he is also a thinking musician discussing his ideas with other such distinguished musicians on the faculty of that extraordinary Academy in Imola where Andre is already on the faculty.
So many of the works presented I had never heard before in all my years of playing and frequenting concerts.
Such is his probing mind to seek out new repertoire and present it in his own seemingly simple inimitable way.
This was the case of the “Suite Francaise d’apres Claude Gervaise” by Poulenc played with all the aristocratic elegance that can restore this music to its rightful place in the piano repertoire .
Such suave nonchalance in the Novelette n.1 too and true transcendental clarity in the difficult Toccata.
It was only matched in the other unknown piece to me of Dutilleux’s “Au gre des ondes” Where the scintillating rhythm of the Claquettes and Etude were electrifying.
The two well know Arabesques by Debussy were played with just the right sense of improvisation that is so difficult for some to gauge.This though combined with the rarely heard Ballade of rare beauty .
Ravel’s Menuet Antique was given a truly enchanting performance where the subdued middle section of such sublime sound was the total foil for this hypnotic Menuet.
The Danzas Argentinas op 2 by Ginastera in which the wonderful languid cantabile of the middle dance was contrasted with the savage rhythmic impulse of the other two.
The bubbling over of subtle rhythmic energy was unmasked in the final dance played with a virtuosity and seemingly endless resilience that quite took this totally bewitched audience by storm. .