Leonardo Merlini -Premio Cafaro 2020 at Tuscia University Viterbo


Some fine playing from this eighteen year old Tuscan pianist winner of the Premio Sergio Cafaro 2020.
After the Easter lock down in Italy the streamed concerts at Viterbo University have been allowed to continue with a remarkable recital by Leonardo Merlini.
A pianist that immediately shows all the musical intelligence and integrity that was so much part of the Cafaro studio that is a stone’s throw from the Ghione Theatre in Rome.
Artists such as Roberto Prosseda,Alessandra Ammara,Francesco Libetta,Luisa Prayer,Laura Manzini ,all now distinguished artists were formed by Sergio Cafaro and his wife Annamaria Martinelli.
It is she who is still carrying the flame and has founded this prize for the most talented young musicians each year in the name of her beloved husband and their work together of a lifetime dedicated to helping to form real artists.

It was the absolute clarity of this young man’s playing that was so remarkable allied to a scrupulous attention to detail.
The Bach Italian concerto was played with a fine non legato touch with delicately placed ornaments of crystal clarity.There was also some very telling phrasing with some very slight punctuation that was of a true musician.The Andante too showed a remarkable control and the freedom of a bel canto singer that made for a great contrast with the relentless rhythmic drive of the outer movements.
Beethoven’s almost pastoral sonata op 31 had a crystalline freshness but could have had just a little more weight in the passage work to contrast with the simplicity of the mellifluous outpourings in what is one of Beethoven’s happiest sonatas. No clouds here as this is Beethoven in an unusually genial mood.
There was great beauty and sense of colour in the four pieces he chose from Schumann’s Fantasiestucke.
Des Abends was played with a touching simplicity and control that contrasted so well with the tempestuous Aufschwung that followed.The magical duet in Warum could have been even more to the fore with the accompaniment a mere murmur but Grillen was thrown of with aristocratic poise.
Ravel’s Ondine just flowed so magically from his fingers with a clarity and astonishing technical prowess.The glissandi flowed so naturally from his hands as they hovered over the keys and the climax was played with passionate involvement leading to the gentle single strand of melody drowned in pedal ,as Ondine disappears into the depths ,just as the composer asks in the score .
Of course the Liszt Trascendental study in Fminor was played with astonishing control and passionate excitement where Leonardo allowed himself to be totally involved in Liszt’s ravishing score of great virtuosity and emotivity.

Leonardo MerliniNato nel 2003, a Piombino, Leonardo Merlini inizia lo studio del pianoforte a cinque anni sotto la guida del M° Alessandro Gagliardi. Fin da piccolo risulta vincitore in vari concorsi, tra cui il “Riveria Etrusca” e il “J.S. Bach”.Nel 2017 vince il 2° Premio nella competizione Steinway di Verona e nel 2018 ottiene una borsa di studio per frequentare le masterclass del M° Aquiles delle Vigne.Tra i riconoscimenti più importanti: il Premio Maria Giubilei, il Premio Humberto Quagliata, il Premio Enrico Galletta e il Premio Sergio Cafaro.





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