Pletnev in Bari streaming of ravishing beauty and seduction

X certificate for Pletnev recital at Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari.
Everything we are taught not to do blatently on show tonight.
One might say old style .
The whispered asides and a rubato that becomes distortion .But his superb sense of balance and colour I have only heard the like from Cherkassky or Horowitz.
Shura proudly told me that Horowitz had told him,at his home in New York after the death of Bolet, ‘there are only us two left now’
Oh boy did Pletnev prove him wrong tonight.


The longer works ,especially the Barcarolle and of course the Fantasie with just a drop of Polonaise,had so many magical moments.
But with the succession of Nocturnes with their continual fluctuations and flutterings together with half lights and diabolical suggestions it all became just too much.
Dare I say it but a bit like Cortots wonderful recordings that I can only listen to in small doses.Or Volodos’s superhuman playing of such beauty I just feel that even Schumann needed Floristan in order for us to savour Eusebius ……without contrast only small doses of such ravishing beauty can be really appreciated.
I remember Sandor exclaiming ‘why does Pletnev want to conduct when he is such a master pianist?’
I took him out to dinner once after a concert in my theatre in Rome where his teacher Nikolaeva was a great favourite.But he was a man of few words as he lives in a world of his own.
A fantasy world on and off the platform.


I remember going to a Pletnev recital with the students from Virsaladze’s class in Florence exactly this day a year ago.He played two Mozart sonatas and op.110 and 111 by Beethoven .I enclose what my impressions were on that occasion.
https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/02/16/the-return-of-a-legend-pletnev-in-florence/
He is a miniaturist and fear he does not spend time practicing which he now does in public.


A voyage of discovery as the practicing studio should always be.
But a public performance needs a conductor to light the way and to give an overall architectural shape just as an actor needs a director to see the bigger picture.
I confess tonight this Chopin recital I loved.
The old style that Rubinstein fought against all his long life!
Pletnev though is still an artist who loves the piano and it is above all this voluptuous ravishing love that shines through as he caresses the keys of the magnificent Shigeru Kwai that he played tonight.

Listening to the Fantasy op 49 this morning though that I had fortunately missed yesterday I am reminded of Arrau’s description of Cherkassky : ‘Oh, that pupil of Hoffman that finds all those little inner melodies ‘It was quite grotesque from beginning to end.Little inner voices that seemed to cover the more energetic passages in the right hand almost like an old violinist who no longer has any strength.The middle section that almost ground to a halt.Chords that seemed to take on an importance never imagined before or hopefully afterwards.I was going to listen on but like a colleague of mine yesterday I just gave up ,probably at this point too :’ Keats : “half in love with easeful death” kept occurring to me. I’m afraid I couldn’t take much of it.’

Teatro Petruzzelli is the historic theatre on the waterfront in Bari.It was privately owned opening in 1903 with Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots.It was completely destroyed by fire in October 1991 when Bellini’s Norma was on stage and the sets by the famous painter Mario Schifano also went up in flames.It lay in ruins for many years while battles raged as to responsibility and also as to who should now be the owners.Work started only in 2006 and was completed in 2009.The owners sued the manager Fernando Pinto who was convicted of negligence amongst insinuations of mafia associations.The courts awarded the owners the Messeni Nemagna family 57 billion lire in damages.But in the meantime the City of Bari had taken possession of the land and rebuilt the theatre with public funds.The court of appeal gave back possession to the family but not before finding they were in breach of the original contract of 1896 and so it was now the property of the City of Bari.Incredible machinations worthy of any operatic plot.

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