Axel Trolese, pianoforte
Some remarkable playing from Axel Trolese at Roma 3 University streamed live in Rome from the Teatro Palladium.This young musician from the hills around Rome showed off his scrupulous musicianship and refined virtuosity in a flowering of music by Beethoven,Liszt,Fauré and Albeniz.
I have heard Axel before in the final concert of Benedetto Lupo’s master course at the Academy of S.Cecilia and was astonished then by the crystal clear clarity that he brought to the Chopin B minor Sonata.Of course he graduated with honours and went on to play a memorable Beethoven 4th piano concerto with the Roma 3 Orchestra.
Now invited to give an on line recital he chose an eclectic programme in which his crystalline playing allied to his extreme sensitivity to sound allowed him to bring vividly to life the music with an aristocratic control and respect for the composers wishes which was worthy of the teachings of Claudio Arrau.Beethoven’s Sonata quasi una fantasia op 27 n.1,the twin of the so called ‘Moonlight’Sonata.All the startling originality of this work was expressed simply by following so closely the precise indications of the composer.From the very first notes there was a delicacy of sound but with a very clear sense of direction as the music flowed in two with the question and answer in the left hand melodic line so poignantly played.There were some sumptuous sounds from the sombre chordal motif that appears throughout the sonata.The allegro interruption was played with a crystalline clarity with Beethoven’s bold chordal comments allowed to burst in on this seemingly pastoral scene.The Allegro molto e vivace flowed so beautifully from Axel’s sensitive hands and there was an infectious rhythmic drive to the trio section where his precision and attention to detail were quite remarkable.The hauntingly beautiful Adagio made one realise just how similar it is to the third piano concerto that was shortly to follow.It was played with such sensitive control and scrupulous attention to detail that the rumbustuous Allegro vivace completely took us by surprise after the delicate final cadenza of the Adagio.There was a relentless forward movement and clarity of detail to this movement played with a continuous input of energy never allowing a moment of respite until the miraculous reappearance of the Adagio.Played with ever more tenderness and inner feeling until the rude interruption of the Presto played with astonishing rhythmic drive until Beethoven’s final slam of the door.Beethoven with these sonatas had broken loose from his Haydnesque heritage and was beginning to point the way to the visions that were as yet on the horizon.A remarkable performance that I remember Arrau playing in London on one of his memorable visits when he show us as today what wonders these early sonatas can be when interpreted with scrupulous attention to the composers intentions.
It was the same attention to detail that brought so vividly to life the Liszt second Ballade in B minor.This miniature tone poem that Claudio Arrau who studied under Liszt’s disciple Martin Krause said that the Ballade was actually based on the Greek myth of Hero and Leander, with the piece’s chromatic ostinati representing the sea: “You really can perceive how the journey turns more and more difficult each time. In the fourth night he drowns. The last pages are a transfiguration”The opening swirling bass sounds created the atmosphere for this remarkable work with the melodic line emerging from the depths.Answered by such fluid magical sounds before the military interruption of astonishing virtuosity.There was great control and musicianly sense of style that never allowed this miniature tone poem to turn into a mere showpiece as is so often the case.A simplicity and sensitivity to sound and colour where his complete technical command with seamless streams of notes thrown off with a knowing ease,allied to a musical understanding of architectural shape together with a real sense of fantasy ,was able to bring this much neglected work to life.
The Fauré nocturne in E flat minor was played with an aristocratic sense of style .Sentiment but never sentimental as his pupil Vlado Perlemuter used to insist.In fact I was following from Perlemuter’s own score with all his fingerings that searched for that perfect legato that the fingers would play with weight deep into every note where the true meaning lay.Perlemuter when he played for us in Rome wanted me to tell the audience that he lived in the same house as Fauré.The composer would send his works down to the very young student of the Conservatoire where he was director to try out whilst the ink was still wet on the page!Too rarely performed these days it was refreshing to hear such a sensitive musicianly account from Axel today.
The three pieces that make up the first of the four books of Iberia by Albeniz were played with the brooding contemplation of Evocacion through the evocative El Puerto to the glorious beatification of Fete -dieu à Seville.A remarkable sense of colour and feeling for atmosphere and a technical command that one just took for granted as he portrayed these musical sketches so ravishingly.It is interesting to note that the first performances in 1906 were given by the completely forgotten Blanche Selva whose historic recordings to be found on YouTube can still astound! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdlM-nK8ppM
The Italian pianist Axel Trolese was born in Genzano, near Rome, in 1997 and started to play the piano at the age of five. Since then, he’s followed the natural path for a musician in Italy, achieving the Conservatory Diploma in Cremona with Maurizio Baglini. He’s just graduated from Paris’s Conservatoire National Supérieur, studying with Denis Pascal, and from Rome’s Accademia di Santa Cecilia, with Benedetto Lupo, obtaining both times the highest grades. He’s now an “Artist in Residence” at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, studying with Louis Lortie.
Being a fine interpreter of French music, he recorded in 2016 his first album “The Late Debussy: 12 Etudes & 6 Epigraphes Antiques”, which was praised with numerous reviews in La Repubblica, Musica and Amadeus.
Also after becoming a laureate of the “Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition”, the “Grand Prix Alain Marinaro” and the “Premio Venezia”, Trolese has performed in many important concert halls as a soloist, with orchestra and as a chamber musician, including Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica, Venice’s La Fenice Theatre, the Italian Cultural Institutes of Paris and Budapest, Beijing’s Millennium Concert Hall, the Beaulieu Abbey in the Hampshire, Paris’ Salle Cortot, the Académie de France, the Quirinal Palace, the Amiata Piano Festival, Weimar’s Weimarhalle and the Fazioli Concert Hall. Some of his concerts have been broadcasted by some of the most important radios, such as Radio3, France Musique and Venice Classic Radio. He has also performed with the Jenaer Philharmoniker, the Roma 3 Orchestra and worked together with conductors such as Massimiliano Caldi, Jesús Medina, Pasquale Veleno and Ovidiu Balan.
Trolese has attended masterclasses of some of the most important pedagogues and concert pianists in the world, such as Arie Vardi, Pavel Gililov, Michel Béroff, Philippe Entremont, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Roberto Prosseda, Joaquín Achúcarro and Jerome Rose.
Axel Trolese has appeared in a documentary by ARTE about the Italian composer Roffredo Caetani (explaining and playing his pieces on his Bechstein grand piano gifted by Franz Liszt) and in the masterclass-documentary “Inside the music” with Roberto Prosseda by SkyClassica. He’s the main character and pianist in the short film “Danse Macabre” by the Italian director Antonio Bido, which is inspired by Saint-Saëns homonymous tone poem.