Federico Colli in Poland

Wonderful recital by Federico Colli streamed live from Poland.

Shostakovich second sonata coupled with the little A minor Schubert just as I remember Gilels all those years ago in the Festival Hall in London.
A superb Shostakovich with the menacing opening motive played with total conviction as the sublime serenity of the slow movement gave way to the opening fugue type subject of the theme and variations played as if in a trance with the same magic pedal as the Rondo theme of Beethoven’s Waldstein.
It was exactly here that Gilels playing to an almost empty RFH came unstuck .
There were no doubts for Federico though where his total command,conviction and above all sublime colouring left no doubt that his lock down had been well spent!
Opening and closing with Bach played with great authority.
The Italian Concerto played with a rhythmic vitality that was quite hypnotic in its unrelenting journey.But a sublime slow movement in which the simplicity of the melodic line was imbued with some very subtle hesitations that in the coda was nothing short of sublime.The last movement was a tour de force with some intricate details that gave great character to the continual forward motion .
The Chaconne too in the Busoni transcription started with the theme played so beautifully it reminded me of the first time I listened mesmerised to Michelangeli.
This no simple transcription but the rewriting of a masterpiece based on Bach’s original Chaconne for solo violin.
It is quite unique -Busoni’s vision as Michelangeli showed us.
Federico’s interpretation was overwhelming too in its beauty,and grandeur and the insistent bass rhythm that gave great architectural shape to the whole.The stillness of the slow sections was something to cherish as was his total technical control allied to the passionate temperament of the great pianists of the past.
The little A minor Schubert – little only in length to its four movement sister- but in Federico’s very sensitive hands was nothing short of sublime
Radu Lupu’s performance in Leeds and Gilels in London have remained with me all these years as I am sure Federico’s will tonight.
Two encores from an audience on their feet .
His own beautiful transcription of Haendel’s ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ was his way of thanking his devoted audience and a Scarlatti to end where the trills seemed to glisten with such joy finishing with a rather out of style flourish but in this artists hands everything he does is totally convincing .
What a wonderful festival indeed and during the interval we were treated to a line up of pianists that have taken part over the last 75 years
Here it is …….not to be missed:

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