Gnocchi even on Sunday at Fossanova

Gnocchi even on Sunday in Fossanova
Giovanni Gnocchi and Eugenia Tamburri at Fossanova Abbey
Wonderful to return to the Cistercian Abbey complex at Fossanova.
Founded in 1135 and based on its sister in Hautecombe in France.
The Dominican scholastic Thomas Aquinas died here in 1274 and his chapel can be visited as well as the magnificent cloister and the imposing simplicity of the Abbey itself.
The granary too has been transformed by Architect Cerocchi ,Honorary President and founder of the Campus Musicale di Latina ,into one of the most beautiful and magical of concert halls.
I remember hearing Alicia De Larrocha play here before the restoration in 1985 ,when her changing room was a caravan in the field outside this historic but rather rustic hall.
Now tastefully restored by someone who really understands music.
With a raised wooden platform that allows the sound to be projected into the furthest corners of the hall ,allowing also a complete vision of the artists.
Tasteful drapes and air conditioning with lighting especially studied to create the intimate atmosphere of the hall.
The Cerocchi’s a lifetime together often frequenting the festivals of Saltzburg and Gstaad with the intent of bringing the same serious music making to their native Latina.
The very first Festivals at the Caetani Castle in Sermoneta in the 60’s with artists such as Alberto Lysy,Yehudi Menuhin,Joseph Szigeti,Sandor Vegh,Walter Trampler,Bruno Giuranna,Gaspar Cassado,Andre Navarra,Rocco Filippini,Franco Petracchi,Nikita Magaloff,Bruno Canino,Aldo Ciccolini,Charles Rosen.
All happy to breathe in the same magical atmosphere that was so congenial to Franz Liszt during his long sojourns to the composer Roffredo Caetani.
Goffredo Petrassi was the Honorary President and Architect Cerocchi the active President for so many years.
Architect has now at the age of 90 handed over the reigns to his daughter Elisa .
He now fills the Honorary role that the illustrious composer held for so many years.
Judging from the programmes this year I think we can safely say the serious heritage she has inherited is certainly being splendidly maintained .
After a magnificent recital and a week of masterclasses last week from Elisso Virsaladze ,one of the most highly esteemed pianists of our time.
We were treated last saturday to one of the most renowned Chamber Orchestras in Europe that of Padua and the Veneto .
With a programme of not only Beethoven’s 7th Symphony but also included the world premiere of a manuscript by Petrassi of a cello concerto written for Arturo Bonucci in 1955.
The score of which is housed in the archive of the Campus together with many other precious manuscripts I am told by Mrs Cerocchi.
The programme was completed by a work by Ennio Morricone “Immobile n.2” for Harmonica and strings.
The distinguished soloist,Gianluca Littera, giving rare Harmonica Masterclasses for the Campus too.
So it was hardly surprising to find Giovanni Gnocchi ,a young ‘cellist with a very distinguished curriculum and already a Professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg giving a recital with Eugenia Tamburri in the Granary at Fossanova.
Explaining to a full hall that rather than the printed programme of Variations by Beethoven as a prelude to his second sonata he had chosen to play two song transcriptions by Schubert and Schumann that he felt would prepare us better for the journey of the revolutionary early sonata op 5 n.2 that was the main work in the programme.
Explaining with such enviable passion and evident joy that this was the first of two sonatas in which the piano was for the first time an equal partner to the cello.
In fact the first movement is even longer than that of the Eroica Symphony.
In a programme devised especially for us this evening on the eve of his week of masterclasses that he will hold in the Castle in Sermoneta.
Many of his students have followed him from Saltzburg I am sure and will give a concert in their own right on Friday evening.
It was evident from the very first notes that we were in presence of a very rare artist.
The simple song by Schubert played with such poignancy,almost as if we were being drawn in to overhear the secrets that he was about to reveal.
Great fluidity in which the melodic line was allowed to breathe so naturally showing us the real meaning of tempo rubato.With the roots firmly in the ground allowing the branches to move so naturally in the breeze.
The piano too seemed to be on the same wave created by this artist and it created together with the Schumann Lied a tension that made the remarkable opening of the G minor Sonata even more astonishing.
Some really energetic playing of great virtuosity from both artists in which Beethoven’s tempestuous temperament was contrasted with the most delicately shaped cantabile passages. A great sense of character too in the Rondo Allegro bringing this revolutionary work to a tumultuous end.
So many beautiful things to admire but sometimes at the expense of the great architectural line that is so much part of Beethoven’s world.
All the wondrous things so lovingly presented but also at the expense of the rhythmic impulse that carries us on the journey from the beginning to the end .
A small price to pay for such artistry that I am sure will be a true inspiration to all those lucky enough to share this week together in his masterclasses.
The second half dedicated to “lollypops” from the cello repertoire.
Played with great virtuosity and impeccable style every movement followed by the ever attentive Eugenia Tamburri.
Hair raising virtuosity in Heinrich Schiff’s transcription of the famous violin showpiece of the Scherzo Tarantella by Wieniawski .
Some beautiful cantabile in the pieces by Tchaikowsky just a little too self indulgent for my taste but more than compensated for by a very acrobatic Waltz in C sharp minor by Chopin in the Davidov transcription for cello.
A great Spanish finale of breathtaking brilliance from both players in an almost perfect ensemble.
A great reception from this audience held in a spell by the true musicianship and artistry of these two remarkable artists.
And it was again the poet that was allowed to speak at the end through two songs of Schubert .
Standchen the well known Serenade and again the little song that had opened the programme and allowed us to enter so easily into the magic world created for us this evening .

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