Emanuele Stracchi recital -White Christmas with bells jingling for Roma 3 – swan song 2020

The last concert of a very difficult year was streamed live for Roma 3 Orchestra from Teatro Palladium in Rome.Emanuele Stracchi ,a very popular former student of the University showed of his versatility as a composer,arranger and pianist.

In a programme that opened with a crystal clear account of Bach’s D major Prelude and Fugue Book 1 with the same majesty in the Fugue that he was to bring to the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue later.Not only clarity but he was obviously in his element with the chordal arpeggiated chords that led to the poignant recitativi .The fugue entering almost unnoticed grew to an ever more impressive conclusion.

Three very early works by Beethoven followed and were obviously written for his own early performances as a virtuoso.
The novelty was a first performance of the early variations in A,Unv.-14 written in 1794 and now reconstructed by Graziano Denini ,full of charm in the style of his master Haydn.
The rondò in A WoO49 written in 1783 was followed by the well known ‘Rage over a lost penny’ published as op 129 by Diabelli,after Beethoven’s death,but written in 1795-98. Robert Schumann wrote that “it would be difficult to find anything merrier than this whim… It is the most amiable, harmless anger, similar to that felt when one cannot pull a shoe from off the foot.”It’s full title is “Rondo alla ungherese quasi un capriccio” in G major, Op. 129 but is better known by the title Rage Over a Lost Penny, Vented in a Caprice (from German: Die Wut über den verlorenen Groschen, ausgetobt in einer Caprice).It is a showpiece for the likes of Evgeny Kissin and although Emanuele played with the same intelligent musicianship as his Bach he did not quite have the scintillating ‘fingerfertigkeit’that it was obviously written to show off.

The Bartòk Suite op 14 began to open a world that is Emanuele’s.
Abandoning the score he played the four short movements with a sense of wonder and improvisation.There was a clarity in the Scherzo and an unrelenting rhythmic impetus in the ostinato third movement from which emerged the magic sounds of the final sostenuto.

It was though in the unexpected encore that one could savour the true talent of this versatile young musician.
His own improvisations on Christmas themes.
Here a whole world opened up of subtle magic sounds with a freedom of expression and sense of natural rhythmic pulse.Even ending with a boogy-woogy version of White Christmas that out of the final reverberant chord appeared the bells on high,truly Jingling!
A fine pianist but when you let him free and off the lead I begin to see why he was chosen to give the final concert of the year.
Hats off indeed


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