Ilaria Cavalleri at Teatro Palladium Roma 3 Beauty and musicianship illuminate the magnificent sounds of their Schimmel concert grand.

Missing an actual biography of this very talented young pianist I came across this very interesting interview instead.It was obvious from her very sensitive musicianship that although no longer studying officially with Maurizio Baglini she obviously has been very influenced by his musical values which have established him as one of the foremost pianists of his generation.

It was apparent from the very first notes of the F sharp Prelude and Fugue that here was a pianist of unusual sensitivity that allowed this most pastoral of Preludes to be shaped with such luminous tone and sparkling ornaments.The Fugue too had a sense of serenity as the subject was allowed to sing so naturally unimpeded by the knotty twine of the counterpoints

The Three Intermezzi for piano, were described by the critic Eduard Hanslick as “monologues”… pieces of a “thoroughly personal and subjective character” striking a “pensive, graceful, dreamy, resigned, and elegiac note.”It was exactly this atmosphere that Ilaria created with her barely whispered sounds where the first Intermezzo is prefaced by two lines from an old Scottish ballad, Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament: Balow, my babe, lie still and sleep!It grieves me sore to see thee weep. There was a beautiful question and answer in the più Adagio middle section and a truly magical return of the opening melody in the poco più Andante.The second Intermezzo in B flat minor flowed beautifully although I fear in a big hall her intimate style may not have reached far into the audience.Luckily in these strange times her beautiful sounds are captured and transmitted to our homes by the superb streaming facilities of the Roman3 University.I missed the contrast of the middle section which portrays a “man as he stands with the bleak, gusty autumn wind eddying round him.”A magical end though led straight into the haunting unison octaves of the third Intermezzo which also has an autumnal quality suggesting the cold wind sighing through the trees as leaves are falling.Beautifully suggested in Ilaria’s sensitive hands with a flowing sense of shimmering colour in the più molto ed espressivo disappearing so magically as it prepared the subtle colours of the water splashing and shimmering in the fountains of Villa d’Este that Liszt visited on his grand tour of Italy

– Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este Liszt placed the inscription, “Sed aqua quam ego dabo ei, fiet in eo fons aquae salientis in vitam aeternam” (“But the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life,” from the Gospel of John).It was well suited to her exquisite delicate playing and sensitive musicianship missing slightly the more explosive gusts of water it nevertheless created the atmosphere of tranquility and beauty of Liszt’s extraordinary vision of eternal life.

Summoning all her strength for the opening of Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy it came as a shock Schubert’s youthful call to arms.It is widely considered Schubert’s most technically demanding composition for the piano. Schubert himself said “the devil may play it,” in reference to his own inability to do so properly. It is not only a technically formidable challenge for the performer, but also a structurally formidable four-movement work combining theme-and-variations with sonata form. Each movement transitions into the next instead of ending with a final definitive cadence, and each starts with a variation of the opening phrase of his lied “Der Wanderer”.The second movement, marked “adagio,” states the theme in virtually the same way it is presented in the song, whereas the three fast movements begin with variants in diminution:the first movement, “allegro con fuoco ma non troppo,” a monothematic sonata form in which the second theme is another variant, the third, “presto,” a scherzo in triple meter, and the finale, marked simply “allegro,” starting as a quasi-fugue and making increasing demands on the player’s technical and interpretive powers as it storms on to its conclusion.

All Ilaria’s musical pedigree was evident in the way she kept the structure together with an overall architectural understanding.Her beautifully mellifluous playing allowed Schubert’s second subject in the first movement to sing so beautifully and even the rhythmic outbursts were played with great sense of contrast and unusually musical solutions to the ‘devil’ that Schubert describes.Schumann called it Floristan – the devil and Eusebius – the introspective angel.The lead into the Adagio was finely managed and the Wanderer theme was played with magic sonorities and beautiful shading.The Presto interrupted the brooding tremolandi at the end of the Adagio as she threw herself into the fray.But it was in the more melodic sections that she distinguished herself so well.Throwing herself into the swirling arpeggios leading up to the Allegro finale she managed to galvanise all her energy for the great technical challenges of the Fugue.Having to rely on the sustaining pedal to give her the force that Schubert demands from the pupil of the virtuoso Hummel to whom Schubert dedicated it .Schubert had hoped of obtaining a good fee and if one counted all the notes involved a tidy sum should have been assured!

It was the final piece of a recital that was a lesson in beauty and subtle musicianship.The Wanderer together with Brahms Handel variations and Beethoven 32 variations in Cminor(that the composer hated hence posth. publication) are all works given to advanced students of the piano to acquire a musical piano technique.Advice and encouragement coming from Maurizio Baglini is advice to write in gold indeed .

Some beautifully delicate playing from Ilaria Cavalleri ,the young pianist chosen to appear on the live stream from the Teatro Palladium in Rome for Roma 3 Orchestra.Florestan got short shrift this time!A very sensitive musician who when she has had time to acquire more weight to her delicate touch she will discover the full orchestra that she has in her hands.This Schimmel concert grand beautifully restored by Mauro Buccitti is a very powerful instrument and sometimes the bass overpowered the extreme delicacy of Ilarias very sensitive playing.Bursts of fire in the Wanderer Fantasy were short lived but give hope that her great talent will mature as she acquires more fingers of steel and wrists of rubber,to quote Guido Agosti.Hats off to Valerio Vicari to allow us the chance to hear a talent in the making.Only 19 and inspired by Maurizio Baglini,I am told.It was Clifford Curzon who said piano playing was 90% work and 10% talent.Ilaria certainly has great musicality and a sensitivity to sound but as Joan Havill said to Jonathan Ferrucci when he declared that he was preparing Brahms 2nd concerto.Oh,she said,you’ll need a lot of muscle for that.Luckily Jonathan is an expert in Yoga.I wonder if Ilaria could be too,one day.

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