Beatrice Rana takes the Wigmore Hall by storm

Beatrice Rana takes the Wigmore Hall by storm
I heard Beatrice Rana in Rome last november with a recital in the two thousand seat orchestral hall of S.Cecilia and remember being completely overwhelmed by her authoritative stylish playing.Today in the more intimate surroundings of the Wigmore Hall it was the power and range of sound that was so remarkable for this quite beautiful but slender young artist.
My first impression jotted down on the way home after an extraordinarily powerful recital rapturously received by the very discerning Wigmore Hall audience:
“Beatrice Rana takes the Wigmore by storm.
From a very masculine Italian Concerto,a sublimely passionate Concerto without Orchestra of Schumann an unbelievably acrobatic work out in Albeniz Iberia Book III to a glorious orchestral explosion of sounds with Stravinsky’s Petrushka.
But it was the hushed silence at the end of Schumann’s Romance in F sharp that will remain with us forever.”
What does it mean ‘very masculine Italian Concerto’?
Well this slender young artist came onto the Wigmore stage to be received by a hall, completely sold out, and without any fuss proceeded to play the opening of the Italian Concerto in a very robust almost martellato way.
I have got used to Rosalyn Tureck playing this work in a similar robust way but here was a different sound that filled the hall in an almost Beethovenian way.
But then midway through the first movement she modified the sound almost as though moving to a different manual and immediately created the magic that was to bewitch us for the entire recital.
Of course always played with impeccable style as one would expect from the school of her mentor Benedetto Lupo but there were so many  very subtle things that she did, but always in perfect taste ,that illuminated a work that I have grown up with since I was a child.
And if the first movement was very masculine the second was very feminine !
Beautifully played with great control but I found it a little too fussy at the beginning but then at the ritornello she changed colour to an almost whispered confession and it was sheer magic.
Beatrice  had waved her magic wand again!
The coda was quite simply sublime and led the way to the Presto that was too fast!
Presto in two,played without any varying of the very fast  but rock steady tempo that she had set herself.An extraordinary technical feat in which also the phrasing and part playing was all perfectly etched.
It was  a quite magnificent ‘tour de force’ that in the end was totally convincing.
It added the stamp to the whole evening of a musician with something authoritative and new to say.
Each work she had looked at afresh and with her great musicianship and technical command had thrown herself into the fray so fearlessly.
It opened the flood gate for the quite imperious romantic opening of Schumann’s Concert without Orchestra.
Here in this young pianists hands was an orchestra of such power and beauty even Schumann’s usually irritating dotted rhythms vanished in a cloud of magical sounds with an overall sense of architectural shape that only Pollini has ever convinced me of in this work until tonight!

After concert greeting from Umberto Laureti a former student of Benedetto Lupo too
There were three versions of this Sonata :
A five movement sonata composed in June 1836 and the revised version was published in September 1836 (both scherzos
were dropped and a new finale added and retitled Concert sans orchestre)
Second a very substantial revision published in 1853,with a very considerable revision especially of the first movement; entitled Grande sonate, with the second scherzo of the June 1836 sonata restored (but not the first ).
Throughout all this only the variation movement on a theme of Clara Wieck (later Clara Schumann) remained basically untouched throughout all the revisions.
It is the three movement Sonata of 1836 that Beatrice played at the Wigmore Hall with a very imperious first movement contrasting with the magical beauty and colour that she brought to the Clara Wieck variations.
The final strident chords of the variations were played quite fearlessly and allowed to die down to an almost inaudible whisper from which emerged the last movement’s romantic meanderings that were thrown off with great virtuosity but allowing Schumann’s sublime melodic invention to emerge out of a mist of transcendental sounds.

With Jack Buckley,critic,who has followed her career from her early studies with Elisso Virsaladze in Sermoneta Italy
As Beatrice herself exclaimed afterwards it was a very complicated programme indeed.
The Albeniz and Stravinsky I have written about above when she played them in Rome.
But the opening of El Polo with its monotonous rhythmic insistence was just a prelude to the most amazing sense of colour and romantic fervour that she found in these three remarkable tone poems.
As she herself said a real ‘work out’!
Her Petrushka was even more remarkable than that of the young Pollini who took London by storm many years ago.
A standing ovation by the Wigmore public, not easily conquered as they were tonight, was rewarded by a most magical account of Schumann’s Romance in F sharp.
The absolute stillness and beauty of the work that Clara Wieck had asked to listen to on her death bed created one of those rare moments when an audience do not dare to move or breathe until well after the last magical notes have died away completely.
Not suprisingly she has been invited to form that elite group of musicians resident at the Wigmore Hall.

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