Giulio Potenza – A master speaks

Giulio Potenza: A master speaks Young Artists Piano solo series for Roma Tre University.
Another remarkable concert in the series giving a platform to Young Pianists by the Roma Tre University in the Great Hall in via Ostiense in Rome.
Valerio Vicari,the enlightened artistic director has gathered together some of the finest young talents to demonstate in varied programmes the kaleidoscopic variety of the piano.
A few weeks ago it was “A Journey of Italian Keyboard Music” with Umberto Jacopo Laureti
Today it was the turn of Giulio Potenza with “A journey in the world of the 19th (and 20th!) century piano “
Ending with the mighty Appassionata but starting with some rarely heard works by Janacek,Grieg and Medtner.It was indeed a fascinating journey not least because we had a master guide this time too.
It is also interesting to note that these two Italian trained musicians received their Masters degrees from the Royal Academy and Trinity Laban in London.

Biography from Giulio’s new CD of Janacek
Giulio had received his final studies from Gabriele Baldocci and Deniz Arman Gelenbe.
Gabriele I know from when he was studying at the International Piano Academy in Como and made his Rome debut 20 years ago in the Teatro Ghione.
He has since gone on to be not only a duo partner with Martha Argerich but also a distinguished Professor at Trinity Laban in London.
Deniz Arman Gelenbe who was head of studies now dedicates herself more to her distinguished career as a chamber music musician.
So I was not suprised to find in the recital today many of the hallmarks of his illustrious mentors.
Above all a beautiful sound with infinite gradations that never allowed the tone to get hard due to his supreme sense of balance.
A very intelligent choice of programme in which each work seemed to lead into the next.
The sound at the end of the Janacek 1st Sonata(1905) “Smrt “(Death) ,reminiscent of Scriabin second sonata .
A supreme sense of colouring with the doubling of the melody and a very subtle use of the pedals to create a very particular atmosphere .
The opening movement “Predtucha” (Foreboding) where his extreme sense of balance and colour combined with a great sense of line and forward movement created so vividly this visionary atmosphere.
Two beautiful Lyric Pieces by Grieg so rarely played these days although both Rubinstein and Gilels were great admirers of these atmospheric pieces.
The “Notturno” op.54 n.4 was played with a beautifully flexible line and again his superb sense of balance created a magic that was crowned with the atmospheric bird song at the end.
The nostalgia of ”Vanished days op 57 n.1 where from a whisper we were transported to the sumptuous piano world of Rachmaninov which in turn led so beautifully to the “Sonata Reminiscenza in a minore” op 38 n.1 by Medtner.

Giulio Potenza introducing the programme
Medtner was a younger contemporary of Rachmaninov and Scriabin who came to live in London and is buried in Hendon Cemetery.
I remember hearing his pupil Edna Iles play in the Festival Hall in London.
This one movement sonata is one of his most poetic creations.Tinged with Russian nostalgia with such a subtle tenor melody line amidst streams of glistening sounds.
A real kaleidoscope of magical sounds.
After a short break we were taken into the completely different world of Beethoven with his “Appassionata” Sonata op 57.
Here we were immediately plunged into a performance of grandiose nobility.
A full symphonic sound where taught rhythms, clarity of melodic line,relentless sense of direction and scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s very precise markings gave a performance both dramatic and passionate.
Even Beethoven’s most original pedal indications were translated into sound on this modern instrument as a true artist should strive to do.
There was great weight too to the sound and nowhere more evident than in the Andante con moto that Agosti likened to a procession or corteo.Some extraordinarily beautiful sounds in the variations and great sense of always being anchored to the bass that allowed such sumptuous sounds elsewhere on the keyboard.
An Allegro ,ma non troppo taken at such an exciting pace.Maybe a little too fast to contrast fully with the Presto coda but played with such control and contrasts it had us on the edge of our seats until the final tumultuous outburst.

Giulio Potenza with Giancarlo Tammaro artistic director of “Liszt at Villa D’Este”
It was indeed a wildly exciting performance that as Giulio had said was inspired too by an audience that had been so attentive to every nuance.
One encore offered from Schumann’s Kinderscenen (Scenes of Childhood).
What better way to end than a magical performance of “Of Foreign Lands and Peoples.”


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