The miracle of Mozart in Perugia today with Angela Hewitt ,Enrico Bronzi and The Chamber Orchestra of Perugia. Mozart’s most perfect concerto K488 played with such sparkling ‘joie de vivre’as Angela wove Mozart’s magic web in and out of an orchestra that under Enrico Bronzi’s hands was truly listening to each other and above all to Angela.
There was magic in the air as the sublime Adagio was played with such poignant meaning from the very first notes. This is the only movement by Mozart in F♯ minor and the middle of the movement contains a brighter section in A major announced by flute and clarinet that Mozart would later use to introduce the trio “Ah! taci ingiusto core!” in his opera Don Giovanni .The clarity and Angela’s ability to live through every note meant that Mozart’s simple outline needed no embellishing as the utmost simplicity touched the sublime.An almost ecstatic outpouring of melody was the natural outlet for such emotion and gave such architectural shape to the entire movement .The quiet opening of the rondo and its every reappearance just added to the build up of exhilaration that was quite overwhelming .
Scarlatti’s famous E major sonata as an encore was a way of thanking the audience from what has been her home for many years. It was played with a freshness and subtle colouring that had the orchestra as enchanted as the public.
Angela tells me that she has been able to organise her 16th annual festival of Lake Trasimeno at this late hour .Last year it was cancelled as were so many things due to the pandemic.This year with her indomitable spirit she has organise her festival as she herself said :’You must do what you love best.’It is just this love and spirit that have carried her great artistry around the world many times.It would appear that the world is beginning to start turning again.It was interesting that she will include the Dvorak Quintet in one of the concerts in programme.Enrico Bronzi will play the cello with other distinguished colleagues.Angela exclaimed that she had not played it since her student days but she got great consolation knowing that Menahem Pressler had played it at his 90th birthday concert!
It reminded me that the last time I heard this Mozart concerto was with Pressler in Oxford.I remember trying to calm him down at the rehearsal as the ‘ad hoc’orchestra of brilliant musicians ,down from London for the day,had been engaged principally to play the Mozart Requiem and were just anxious to play through the concerto and get to the pub before the main rehearsal!Pressler already in his 90’s could not understand how they could be so nonchalant about the rehearsal as he sweated tears over every single note.I tried to calm him down pointing out that he was in the historic Sheldonian and I was sure the musicians would pull out all the stops at the concert.And they certainly did under Marius Papadopoulos,the innovatore and driving force behind the Oxford Philomusica.In the audience were many distinguished musicians taking part in his important summer festival.
Dame Fanny Waterman was in the front row ,nodding her head as she listened to every single note with rapt attention.She too had played this concerto at her Prom debut in the 40’s.Great discussions with Pressler afterwards about his magnificent performance.In fact as I told Pressler both he and Dame Fanny were two of the very few musicians who actually listen with rapt attention to every single note.
He told me that Dame Fanny always wanted him to sit next to her on the jury of her competition in Leeds.Unfortunately in the after lunch session during some dreary performances many of the jury might take 40 winks but not Dame Fanny and those near to her ( Pressler!)as she was always wide awake to every single sound that was played !
Here it is! The programme of the 16th edition of the Trasimeno Music Festival, to be held in Umbria from July 23-26, 2021. This year it will be only four days instead of the usual seven, and we cannot use our beloved Castle of the Knights of Malta in Magione, but we have five stunning venues in Perugia, Spoleto, and Trevi, and wonderful musicians joining me in concert. The Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus will sing Rossini in the Teatro Caio Melisso in Spoleto (which Rossini visited); a wonderful group of chamber musicians from Italy and Switzerland (including cellist Enrico Bronzi) will perform Dvorak, Borodin and Clara Schumann in the Basilica of San Pietro in Perugia; I will perform solo Bach in the stunning Baroque surroundings of the Oratorio di San Francesco dei Nobili in Perugia; and the one and only Rudolf Lutz of St Gallen, Switzerland (organist, improvisor, composer, conductor) is FINALLY coming to Trasimeno….which I’m really thrilled about. He will perform both in the Cathedral in Perugia (original Bach and Mozart and improvisations on Schubert and Dvorak) and with me in the church of San Francesco in Trevi–a concert in which we will play off each other and discuss how Bach used to the full the expression of each key. Of course space is very restricted due to social distancing, but the atmosphere will be very intimate. If you become a Friend of the festival you can book right away. As of tomorrow we are selling subscriptions and packages (which include tickets to all the concerts) to the general public. Tickets to individual concerts will go on sale at a later date. I hope to see some of you there! https://trasimenomusicfestival.com/festival/programme/tmf-2021/
Returning to listen to Enrico Bronzi’s G minor symphony we were rewarded a performance of relentless energy that was quite remarkable. The very opening was like a great gust of wind but also with such refined shaping ,the Andante with searingly beautiful counterpoints .The minuet was played with such militant authority that the final movement came as a great relief,returning to the great waves of sound similar to that of the opening of the symphony.Schumann described it as “Grecian lightness and grace” but Charles Rosen saw in it “a work of passion, violence, and grief.”In Enrico’s hands it was all those things and held the audience spellbound from the first to the last note,swept along on a relentless wave of rhythm and passionate involvement .
Enrico as I have said before is a great trainer of orchestras as his technical skill as a cellist and great musicianship allows him to push his players into playing better than they ever thought they could.An orchestra that listens to themselves is an orchestra to be reckoned with indeed.