Words and Music – Nicola Losito. Poetry and Virtuosity

Words and Music – Nicola Losito Poetry and Virtuosity
For the second time The Keyboard Charitable Trust has been invited to take part in the Summer Music series in City Churches.
Last year the concert was dedicated to the Myra Hess famous National Gallery concerts during the war years. https://www.facebook.com/notes/christopher-axworthy/adrian-brendle-at-st-giles-cripplegate-the-myra-hess-national-gallery-concert/10155790748672309/
This year it is dedicated to Words and Music.
”Music celebrating words and words illuminating music”.
But surely music takes over where words are just not enough?
The postludes to the Schubert Lieder are evidence enough of that.
But today we received even more evidence from a slight 23 year old Italian pianist who regaled us with such sumptuous sounds of pure poetry and sublime beauty that the literary connotations of the works he was invited to play paled into insignificance as he brought to life such scenes and emotions as rarely experienced on stage.
Nicola Losito from Trieste in Italy already has an enviable curriculum of prizes awarded in International Competitions and has already great experience of playing with fine orchestras.
He studies still with that magician  Leonid Magarius at the Academy in Imola whilst concluding his formal studies in Trieste Conservatory with Massimo Gon.
He played for the Keyboard Trust in a concert in the Hall of Fame in Steinway Hall this time last year.
His talent was noted by such  piano connoisseurs as Bryce Morrison and Alberto Portugheis.
It was good to hear him again in a varied programme from Bach to Tchaikowsky.
He had just played a programme the day before in Trieste with the two sonatas op 27 by Beethoven but it was the transcription by Myra Hess from the Bach cantata BWV 147 “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” that opened todays hour long programme.
It immediately set the seal on what was to follow.
For here was a pianist who was actually listening intently to the sounds he was making.
Like Myra Hess from the school of Tobias Matthay creating unforced sounds of great beauty by illuding us that the piano is not a percussive instrument where a sound struck immediately starts to die away.
By their supreme artistry the great pianists can make us think the opposite.
By a very subtle sense of touch but above all by an ultra sensitivity to balance they can give the illusion that the piano is the greatest singing instrument of all.
And so it was today the beautiful chorale melody sang out as it must have done in Dame Myra or Dame Moura’s hands.
Completely unforced with the fluid accompaniment caressing like waves the sublime melodic invention of J S Bach.
This led without a break into the first of Brahms’s four Ballades based on the Scottish ballad Edward.
From the opening magical sounds and the gradual reawakening to a great orchestral climax .From a young Brahms this surely must have been one of the works he astounded the Schumann’s with when he exclaimed:”What he played to us is so masterly that one can only think the good God sent him ready-made into the world.”
This was just a prelude to the main work on the programme that was the “Dante Sonata” by Liszt.
It is a work more often played by young virtuosi than the B minor Sonata that is one of the recognised masterpieces of the Romantic repertoire.
It is full of octaves and startling virtuoso passages and very often receives performances that do not portray the significance of the reaction Liszt had to reading Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Liszt once confessed :”My piano is the repository of all that stirred my nature in the impassioned days of my youth.I confided to it all my desires ,my dreams,my sorrows.Its strings vibrated to my emotions ,and its keys obeyed my every caprice.”
And so it was today in the hands of this young poet.
Such a gentle opening with the menacing silences pregnant with meaning.
A remarkable technical command on the double octaves and snarling scales that adorn the more dramatic episodes but always at the service of the music.
Crystaline sounds pungently chiselled in the central section where the dawn appearing gently on the horizon was so magical.
Helped by the very subtle outlining of the left hand thumb creating sounds of almost unbearable beauty with a quite extraordinary range of colour.
The extraordinary feats of virtuosity in the final section were quite breathtaking in their audacity.
But this was a pianist on the crest of a wave who was being driven by a deep poetical force and had all the technical means to follow his impassioned feelings.
Here was enacted a true drama worthy of Words and Music………….

Nicola Losito with Sarah Biggs general manager of the Keyboard CharitableTrust
An absolute impish clarity and fleetness of touch signaled the opening of Prokofiev’s Suite from “Romeo and Juliet”.
The demonic grandiloquence of the great Romeo theme was every bit as impressive in the hands of this young musician as it ever is from a full symphony orchestra.
The final work was the “Nutcracker Suite” by Tchaikowsky in the virtuoso arrangement by Mikhail Pletnev.

Roy Emerson master recording engineer
An uninhibited unravelling of swirling notes and truly magical sounds.
From the absolute control and rhythmic clarity of the opening march to the beautiful bells of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
The swirls of sound in the Intermezzo on which seemed to float unimpeded the heartrending  melody of great nostalgia leading to a great climax spread over the whole range of the keyboard.
An enormously rhythmic Trepak leading to the purely orchestral sounds of the chinese dance.

CD signing after the concert
The final Andante Maestoso filled this mighty building to the rafters with sumptuous sounds.
Notes thrown off with an exilarating abandon in a transcendental display of virtuosity from another era.
Pletnev does indeed belong to the Golden era of piano playing and it was Sandor who could not understand why someone who can play like that only wants to conduct.
Such is genius.Unpredictable,uncontrolable and in life totally impossible to live with!
By great public demand Nicola chose to play two Chopin Studies as encores.
The first and the last of the 24 Etudes.
Op 25 n.12 and op 10 n.1.
An amazing show of virtuosity with a total command of the keyboard both digitally and musically.
I have never heard the melodic line sing out so clearly in the study op 25 n.12 or such an overwhelming build up to the last mighty chord.
Op 10 n.1 was so clearly shaped from the bass with a seemless accompaniment over the whole range of the keyboard.

with family friends from Italy

St Giles without Cripplegate

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