Matteo Bevilacqua for Roma 3 Clarity and Fantasy combined with great Artistry

Matteo Bevilacqua at Teatro Palladium Rome for the Young Artist’s Piano Solo series of Roma 3 University.
Amazingly assured Scarlatti and Beethoven with crystal clear articulation and rhythmic drive.
But it was Liszt’s strangely haunting Sunt Lacrymae Rerum that lit a spark that illuminated from that moment on everything that he did.The sparkling opening of El Puerto with the sultry atmosphere of Spain to the high jinx of the clowns that Debussy depicts on Eastbourne Promenade.There was magic in the air as he discovered a kaleidoscope of colours with playing of fantasy and total conviction as his imagination was ignited.Ravishing sounds and astonishing virtuosity was enthralling as it was mesmerising to see this young artist illuminate this magnificent piano as he recounted such magic tales.

Matteo Bevilacqua made his debut at age of ten as an actor, performing in theater productions for “CSS Teatro stabile di Innovazione” travelling around Italy on several tours.He studied with Ferdinando Mussutto and Luca Trabucco in “J. Tomadini” conservatory and obtained Bachelor with highest marks and “cum laude”, then Master degree with 110/110, laude and special mention.Continuing his studies also with Luca Rasca.
He obtained more than 20 awards in International piano competitions such as: “Ars Nova, Paolo Spincich” in Trieste; “Nuova Coppa Pianisti” in Osimo; “Giuliano Pecar” in Gorizia; “Premio Filippo Trevisan” in Palmanova; “Tomaz Holmar” in Malborghetto; “Empoli “; “premio isola del sole” in Grado; “Don Oreste Rosso” in Martignacco; “Maria Grazia Fabris” in Trieste. In 2017 he was awarded with the 3rd prize in the “Murai Grand Prix” International piano competition in Varaždin and 2nd prize in “Palma d’Oro” international competition in Finale Ligure. In 2018 he was given the special prize at “Stefano Marizza” International competition in Trieste. In 2019 he won the 3rd prize and the public award at “S. Donà” International piano competition, the 3rd prize at Albenga International piano competition, and a special mention at Vienna piano prize (cat. Virtuoso)
He is the winner of the 46^ edition of the “Palma d’oro ” International piano competition.
He performed more than 50 solo/chamber recitals, around Europe (Germany, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Republica Moldova) for prestigious festivals and season such as “Mittelfest”; “Carniarmonie” ; “Festival dei suoni nei luoghi” , “Roma Tre Orchestra” and others. In 2016 he played in duo 4-hands with M° Bruno Canino at “Palamostre” theater in Udine.
He has also attended several masterclass with renowned pianists such as Maurizio Baglini, Bruno Canino, Massimiliano Damerini, Johannes Kropfitsch, Daniel Rivera, Jerome Rose, Daniel Rivera, Pierluigi Camicia. in 2015 he was assigned a scolarship from the International Keyboard Institute & Festival to take part at the festival and study in New York with Arnaldo Cohen, Alexander Kobrin and Victor Rosembau

Looking at Matteo’s CV I could not help but be struck by the name Luca Rasca who I remember playing the Brahms 1st Piano Concerto in the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic in the presence of Prince Charles who was honorary patron of Sulamita Aranowsky’s London Power International Competition. won a top prize for his brilliant performance as the 18 year old Behzod Abduraimov was to do in the subsequent competition in 2009.It is nice to know that he is sharing his knowledge and experience with young artists such as Matteo.

The Sonata in B minor by Scarlatti is one of the most beguiling of Scarlatti’s vast output of over 500 sonatas.It showed off Matteo’s superb crystalline fingers that can play with such clarity and precision.It was a favourite of Emil Gilels who playing at a slower tempo was able to turn a bauble into a real gem.Matteo adopted a very fast tempo that did not allow time to savour the beautiful modulations in the midst of such an intricate web of notes.The choice of tempo may have been attributed to nerves at the beginning of a recital without the company of an audience but only cameras following your every move and taking your performance in that very instant who knows where!

The Sonata op 31 n.1 was well suited to Matteo’s crystalline technique.A very rhythmic performance although somewhat lacking in Beethoven’s very precise dynamic indications.A movement in which Beethoven is playing with the syncopated rhythms and Matteo did not seem to fully enter into the spirit of the fun of being continually wrong footed .Nevertheless there were some beautiful moments,in particular the transition from the development to the recapitulation and the final tongue in cheek coda.He gave an exemplary clear account,that is no mean achievement,but just missed the sense of character that he was to find later with the more atmospheric works in the programme.The long operatic Adagio grazioso -almost Rossinian as the op 106 is Verdian- sang beautifully with a very fine sense of balance that allowed the staccato bass to follow the beautifully mellifluous melodic line.I think for that reason the staccato note embellishments should have the weight of a singer rather than the staccato of a pianist.The longer fiortiori were played with a clarity and flexibility especially in the two beautiful cadenzas.The scintillating Rossiniana question and answer over repeated notes,though,was rather disturbed by sforzandi where Beethoven only asks for forte piano and it stopped the charming natural flow that Matteo had created with the outer melodic episodes.The Rondo was given a scintillating performance even though Beethoven’s indication of two instead of four would have given the lift that Schnabel describes as ‘con buon umore,senza pensieri,un poco capriccioso.’It was however a ‘tour de force’ how he maintained the tempo and rhythmic pulse with such an intricate web of notes certainly an inspiration to Mendelssohn with its scintillating jeux perlé.

Années de pèlerinage is widely considered as the masterwork and summation of Liszt’s musical style. The third volume is notable as an example of his later style and includes the better known ‘Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este.Composed well after the first two volumes, it displays less virtuosity and more harmonic experimentation.Lacrimae rerum is the Latin phrase for “tears of things.” It derives from Book I, line 462 of the Virgil’s Aeneid.’Sunt lacrimae rerum’means ‘there are tears of (or for) things.’It is the fifth piece in the suite of seven and is dedicated to Liszt’s son in law Hans von Bulow (who gave the first performance of Liszt’s masterpiece the Sonata in B minor).Suddenly it ignited the imagination and commitment of Matteo who until now had seemed to be afraid of allowing himself to get too involved in the more classical works.If only he could have experienced the extraordinary commitment that Serkin astounded us with on his all to infrequent visits over the Atlantic.He would throw himself into the fray and come out as exhausted as his audience after a complete emotional and physical experience (memorable were his performances of this and the ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonatas).Matteo has learnt his lesson well and can now put the rule book to one side and allow himself full reign to his considerable artistry as he demonstrated with a highly charged performance of this rarely heard work of Liszt.It was played with a sense of mystery illuminated by a sense of fantasy and colour.

‘El Puerto’ too was played with biting rhythms and crystalline ornaments like rays of sunshine but with such a feel for the style and the sultry moods of Albeniz’s Iberia with an ending full of sensuality and melancholy.Here was a story to be told by a true raconteur.I am not surprised to read that Mattheo started his career as a child actor!

The five Preludes from the first book by Debussy were pure magic in his hands especially on a piano so lovingly cared for by Mauro Buccitti.’Voiles’ was bathed in atmosphere through a superb use of the pedals,with strands of sound like boats passing in the night and intermingling in the breeze.Sails or veils as Debussy suggests at the end,but does it matter which ,where imagination and sound are so much more evocative than the printed word.’Les collines d’Anacapri’ was full of light at the awakening of the day and the bustling of the crowds.There were sultry nightclub sounds in the sleezy middle section too.‘C’è qu’a vu le vent d’Ouest’ was a tour de force of brilliance and a technical control of notes and sound that was as terrifying as Debussy intended.Following with the complete stillness of ‘La Cathédrale engloutie’ with the mysterious sonorities of the spires appearing through the mist.The atmospheric plain chant contrasted so well with the amazing bass notes on this magnificent Schimmel piano.Given the chance,in this artist’s sensitive hands,to ring out in all their glory as the Cathédrale gradually disappeared into the depths.Some wonderfully suggestive sounds very reminiscent of Michelangeli who could play with such clarity combined with such multifaceted colours.In ‘Minstrels’ that ended this group he could have had even more fun as Debussy depicts the black faced clowns on Eastbourne Pier.If Paderewski could let his hair down there is no excuse for this brilliant young artist now he has found his way!


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