The sublime perfection of Chloe Jiyeong Mun in Warsaw

Chloe Jiyeong Mun in Warsaw with playing of such subtle artistry,ravishing colours and passion.

From three Mazurkas op 56 played with an improvisatory freedom of such colour and fantasy with a pervading feeling of nostagia and yearning.There was frenzy too in the folk dance of the second but such a wondrous sense of the subdued passion of a great statement in the last.

The sheer beauty of her hands was of Michelangelo proportions

This was just a preparation for the 24 Preludes op 28.
A series of jewels that were allowed to sparkle and shine with such subtle poetry.An aristocratic sense of line that allowed her to shape what Fou Ts’ong described as 24 problems into an architectural whole that was quite enthralling.

The opening improvisatory statement was followed by a barely whispered second prelude.The third of a melodic line over a gentle breeze to be followed by the almost heartbreaking simplicity of the fourth.The gentle unravelling of the 5th led so naturally into the yearning beauty of the 6th with it’s sublime final breathtaking comment.The little waltz that follows just bridged the gap to the passionate outpouring of the 8th spilling over to the ecstasy of the 9th.

Such beauty and subtle colouring of the 11th before unleashing the controlled passion of the 12th.Sublime beauty and aristocratic shaping of the 13th led to the breeze that takes us to the simplicity and subtle beauty of the so called ‘raindrop’ prelude .Sokolov turns this into a great drama but Chloe’s vision is of a more pastoral and intimate scene.The B flat minor was thrown off with such passionate assurance and led to deep bass notes of rare eloquence of the seventeenth.Passion was unleashed with the octaves of the 22nd before the gentle mellifluous stream of sounds of the twenty third that just unleashed all the turbulent passion of the twenty fourth and the final three great gongs each played with growing intensity.

The two books of Images by Debussy were played with a luminosity of sound,crystal clear purity,subtle colouring and startling changes of mood.Have Gold-fish ever been treated to such a luxuriant bath with water reflecting radiance and bells appearing as if by magic as the moon glowed over the temple?Sounds and movements of jewel like precision and beauty and the Hommage à Rameau had the same aristocratic perfection and simplicity that was so unforgettable in Artur Rubinstein’s performances.

The same passion and colour that she brought too,to Scriabin’s fourth Sonata were reminiscent of Emil Gilels with its undercurrent of energy about to explode.It was Rubinstein who was beseeched to listen to a teachers star pupil.On hearing the young red headed boy he announced that if he ever came to the west he would pack his bags and disappear.There was room for them both and as today has proven artists of such inspiration are a rarity and a joy forever in any age Ravishing fragments,in this sublime Scriabin sonata,gradually uniting with the building up of turbulent energy played with such subtle transcendental mastery until the ‘star’ is unleashed shining with burning intensity.

Claire de l’une as an encore was of such wondrous magic and subtle control of sound as her unshakable concentration kept us mesmerised throughout all these performances of quite sublime beauty.

Zilberstein in Siena

Zilberstein Masterclass final concert at the Chigiana
LILYA ZILBERSTEIN docente Nel corso del concerto saranno attribuite le Borse di Studio “Matilde Neri Sclavo”

Lilya Silberstein with the duo Diego Benocci and Gala Chistiakova

Fryderyk Chopin
Żelazowa Wola 1810 – Parigi 1849
Scherzo n. 3 in do diesis minore op. 39 (1839)
Francesco Maria Navelli (Italia) Fryderyk Chopin.Some fine very solid playing maybe misjudging the very resonant acoustic of this beautiful hall in the Chigiana Academy.He gave however an architectural shape that kept the rhythmic energy from the first to the last note.Very assured playing missing the finer filigree of the cascades of shimmering sounds that accompany the great choral that appears so magically out of the exuberance of the outward octave declarations .

Barcarole 9op. 60 (1846) Giulia Toniolo (Italia).Some beautiful playing of great musicality as one would expect from the school of Maddalena De Facci ( teacher of Elia Cecino) .There was a spaciousness to her performance that allowed the music to breathe so naturally as this song born on gentle rippling waves was allowed to unfold with great beauty.A pianist who listens to herself and plays with such loving care as she coaxes such ravishing sounds in what is surely Chopin’s most perfect work.The sumptuous climax was born on the most exquisite bel canto melody that Perlemuter described as being in heaven.The final washes of sound that Ravel admired so much were played with real musicianship and the final four chords played as the very opening note had been – sounds resonating without a trace of any percussiveness.

Giulia Toniolo from the school of Maddalena De Facci about to study at the RCM in London

Franz Liszt
Raiding 1811 – Bayreuth 1886
da Années de pèlerinage. Deuxième Année. Italie, S 161
V. Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (1858) Agitato assai – Adagio
Gabriel Giannotti (Italia)A very assured performance but one that made me wonder if he had ever heard the song.The opening was rather slow and do not think a singer would have thanked him for such a tepid introduction.But as soon as he reached the melodic line he played with a great sense of balance and colour with the great embellishments thrown of with the ease of a true musician.

VI. Sonetto 123 del Petrarca (1846-1849) Lento placido – Sempre lento – Più lento Louyiheng Yang (Cina)From the very first note there was a fluidity and sense of line with a natural sense of colour and flexibility.There was a clarity as the melodic line was allowed to shine with jewel like precision as she built up to the inevitable romantic climax

Johannes Brahms
Amburgo 1833 – Vienna 1897
dalle Danze ungheresi per pianoforte a quattro mani (1852) n. 1 in sol minore – Allegro molto
n. 6 in re bemolle maggiore – Vivace
n. 5 in fa diesis minore – Poco sostenuto
Gala Chistiakova (Russia)I have heard this duo many time before and listening to their new CD I could only comment that they play as one.Husband and wife team with their own remarkable festival in nearby Grosseto their performance of Brahms illuminated this beautiful hall with all their assurance and natural musicality.It should be mentioned that Gala like la Zilberstein was trained at the Gnessin school in Moscow for talented young children (she met her husband in the class of Petrushansky in Imola.)Together with Diego they invite hundreds of young talented children to Grosseto from Russia filling every corner of their home town with music from these remarkably talented children.

Unfortunately I was not able to hear the entire concert and missed the following students chosen to perform in this concert which started at 9.15 and was still continuing at 10.30 when I had to leave .I did however bump into them all in the streets with a celebratory pizza around mid-night.It reminded me of my old teacher Guido Agosti whose 80th birthday concert at the Chigiana finished around 1.30!

Madame Zilberstein’s post concert celebrations with her complete class

Claude Debussy
Saint-Germain-en-Laye 1862 – Parigi 1918
dai Préludes

  1. La Cathedrale engloutie (Premier livre) (1888) 8. Ondine (Deuxième livre) (1911-1912)
    Maya Oganyan (Russia)

  2. Aleksandr N. Skrjabin
    Mosca 1872 – 1915
    Sonata n. 9 op. 68 “Messa nera” (1912-1913)
    Bella Schütz (Francia)
  3. Sergej S. Prokof’ev
    Soncovka 1891 – Mosca 1953
    dalla Sonata n. 2 in re minore op. 14 (1912) I. Allegro ma non troppo
    II. Scherzo. Allegro marcato
    Eden Lorenzen (Israele / Germania)

  4. Paul Hindemith
    Hanau 1895 – Francoforte 1963
    dalla Sonata n. 3 (1936) III. Mäßig schnell
    IV. Fuge. Lebhaft
    Virgilio Volante (Italia)

Sergej V. Rachmaninov
Semenovo, Velikij Novgorod 1873 – Beverly Hills 1943
Sonata n. 2 in si bemolle minore op. 36 Allegro agitato – 2a versione (1931)
Matteo Giuliani Diez (Spagna / Italia)
Non allegro – 1a versione (1913) L’istesso tempo – Allegro molto Tommaso Boggian (Italia)

Lilya Zilberstein ha iniziato lo studio del pianoforte con Ada Traub all’età di 6 anni presso la Scuola di Musica Gnesin di Mosca, per perfezionarsi con Alexandr Satz all’Istituto Gnesin (oggi Accademia) fino al 1990. Nel 1987 ha vinto il Concorso Busoni di Bolzano e ha intrapreso una intensa attività concertistica internazionale, che la vede suonare con grandissimo successo in tutto il mondo. Dal debutto a Berlino nel 1991 sotto la direzione di C. Abbado ha suonato con i più importanti direttori e le più prestigiose orchestre, incidendo un vasto repertorio per l’etichetta discografica Deutsche Grammophon. Ha svolto tournées internazionali in duo con M. Vengerov, M. Quarta e M. Argerich, con la quale nel 2009 ha festeggiato 20 anni di attività. Nel 1998 le è stato attribuito il Premio Internazionale “Accademia Musicale Chigiana”. Dal 2009 al 2013 ha insegnato alla Hochschule für Musik und Theater di Amburgo ed ha tenuto corsi alla Royal Academy di Londra, alla Musikhochschule di Weimar e in numerose Università di Corea del Sud, Taiwan e Stati Uniti. Dal 2014 insegna alla MDW-Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst a Vienna.
È docente presso l’Accademia Chigiana dal 2011.

Guido and Lydia Agosti with Count Chigi.I had met my wife Ileana Ghione in 1978 helping Lydia with the course that she held under the title ‘Da Schoenberg ad oggi’(a title that perplexed Franco Ferrara ).Many actors would come to this remarkable lady for interpretation of song and how to use the diaphragm-something most actors no longer have!The Agosti’s had a wedding breakfast for us in Siena in 1984 after our marriage in London

Maurizio Pollini doing what has come naturally for the past 70 years!
Cortot,Casals and Cassadò with Count Chigi
John Williams playing to Segovia
Ugo Ughi with Van Kempen
The little house perched on the top of the Comune in Piazza del Campo where the remarkable Hilda Colucci lived having retired as head of music for the British Council in Rome.A great friend of Signora Neri they would both be seen with Lydia Agosti gossiping while the Maestro -Guido Agosti -held his famous summer course for three months every year which he was bequeathed by Alfredo Casella .Lovely to know that there is a Scholarship bequeathed by Signira Neri
The famous statue at the entrance to the Chigiana
Inspired artistic director Nicola Sani ( my ex neighbour in Rome) with our duo
The remarkable new CD by husband and wife duo
William Nabore of the Piano Academy Lake Como
No words needed here

Elia Cecino – in Grosseto -The birth of an artist

Elia Cecino in Grosseto – a superb recital from a pianist who has acquired in the past year an authority and mastery way beyond his 20 years. The Indian Diary n.1 by Busoni was played with an extraordinary sense of architectural line and a kaleidoscopic sense of colour that immediately brought these rarely heard pieces vividly to life and made one wonder why they have been neglected for so long.
His Scriabin 3rd Sonata I have heard many times but never as today,when he played with a clarity of vision that brought this extraordinary brooding work to life with a sensuality of impending drama and doom that was like sitting on a knife edge waiting to see what would happen next.
Mendelssohn’s Variations Serieuses were thrown off with all the jeux perlé charm of another age -the golden age of piano playing of Rosenthal Lhevine or Godowsky .
Prokofiev’s 7th was played with a demonic barbarity that took us by surprise as did the remarkable sensuality and simplicity of the hollywoodian slow movement before the unrelenting energy exploding with such force in the last movement.
A sublime transcription by Busoni of Bach’s Ich ruf zu dir was answered by the spotless precision of Shostakovich’s Prelude and Fugue in B flat.

The final two concerts in the summer series of Recondite Armonie organised by the remarkable Benocci family in the beautiful little town of Grosseto in Tuscany.Diego and his wife Gala Chistiakova were in the front row with their child Leonardo to applaud this remarkably talented young pianist from the school of the indefatigable Maddalena De Facci.Tomorrow it will be the husband and wife duo who will close the season with a concert of works taken from their new CD.

It is refreshing to see all these talented people dedicating their time to encouraging the next generation.Vitaly Pisarenko is little Leonardo’ s God father who was playing and giving Masterclasses yesterday in Colombia!Gala and Diego were just back from the Chigiana in Siena where they will play on Friday mentored by Lilya Zilberstein.

Little Leonardo with his mother enjoying the concert together

Maddalena fresh from Stradella Academy and on her way to Rome where she has a series of concerts with Elia and his sister Vera before accompanying Elia to the International Busoni Competition in Bolzano,which Zilberstein won many years ago.

Maddalena De Facci rehearsing with Elia

Small world that of music – but the one thing they transmit and is so rare and uplifting these days is the absolute passion which drives them to superhuman feats as they are able to share it with the next generation who today have a real need of direction and dedication.

Ferruccio Busoni (1 April 1866 – 27 July 1924) began composing in his early years in a late romantic style, but after 1907, when he published his Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music, he developed a more individual style, often with elements of atonality. His visits to America led to interest in North American Indigenous tribal melodies which were reflected in this remarkable work written in 1915 :Indianisches Tagebuch. Erstes Buch. [Indian Diary. First Book],BV 267 in four sections:Allegro affettuoso,un poco agitato;Vivace;Andante;Maestoso ma andando.The tribes and song names in the four sections are :Hopi: “He-Hea Katzina Song”,Cheyenne: “Song of Victory”,Pima: “Blue-Bird Song” and Lagunas: “Corn-Grinding Song”Wabanakis: “Passamquoddy Dance” and Hopi: “He-Hea Katzina Song”.His original works are catalogued in Busoni Verzeichnis from n.1 in 1873 to 303 in 1923 with his unfinished masterpiece Doktor Faust.

This work by Busoni was quite a discovery when played with the authority and a melodic line beautifully shaped with a true sense of style and subtle colouring.But it was the architectural shape and rhythmic energy that allowed for unusual clarity of line and direction of a deep mature understanding.The washes of colour in the final section allowed a platform for the almost desperate melodic explosion with which the work finishes.

It led to the imposing opening of Scriabin’s 3rd Sonata that I have written in detail about in the recent recitals streamed live by Elia during the pandemic.Today,though,there was an unexpected maturity where the architectural line was so clearly etched that the subtle kaleidoscopic colours from the luminous whispered confessions to the vehemence of Romantic declarations never lost it’s overall sense of line.The Allegretto was of a fleeting lightness alternating with a melting fluidity of melodic line that prepared the way for the extraordinary Andante. It gave the unmistakable sense that this is the very core of a work that is conceived in one large breath.The beauty of the tenor melodic line accompanied by shimmering golden sounds of sumptuous beauty was really quite sublime as this young man managed to reveal the very heart of the work with such disarming simplicity and sincerity.The subtle menacing reappearance of the opening motif allowed the Presto con fuoco to take flight in a scintillating display of transcendental pianistic fireworks that was pure magic.

The Variations Sérieuses op 54 was Mendelssohn’s contribution to the Beethoven monument in Bonn that Liszt had taken in hand- Schumann contributed his Fantasie op 17.These variations are masterly crafted and something of a showpiece for pianists with it fluidity and trasparent flights of scintillating virtuosity.But there are also moments of great beauty that in the right hands can add a profundity to a work that can all too often be thrown of with a nonchalance of only great effect.In Elia’s hands there was a simplicity and subtle sense of phrasing from the very opening where Mendelssohn’s very detailed indications were scrupulously noted.An unrelenting rhythmic drive did not preclude detail of extraordinary sensitivity.There was pure magic in the almost whispered quieter variations before the exultation of the final excitement generated with ever more rhythmic impetus.Mention must be made of the tenor melody in the variation of such subtlety as it was accompanied by a fleeting staccato every bit as worthy of a Midsummer night’s dream!

Prokofiev 7 I have written about in Elia’s past streamed performances but it was again the absolute authority and brazen sense of character that took me by surprise.I had noticed this change in a performance of Chopin first piano concerto streamed from an International piano competition in Spain having heard it just six months before with string quartet in his home town near Venice.It is the difference between a top of the class student and a real artist.Someone who has scrupulously followed the indications of his teachers but that now he has absorbed them into his own being as he allows the music to flow through him .There was an interview with Shura Cherkassky in Le Monde de la Musique back in the days where quality not quantity was the rule for the media.’Je joue,je sens,je trasmet’.It was exactly this that was so evident in Elia’s playing today.Even Gala Chistiakova who knows this fine Kwai piano – the best instrument to be found in Grosseto- was astonished by the sounds and colours that Elia could coax as if by magic out of this box of hammers and strings.It was the barbaric rhythmic drive of Prokofiev that never before has been so evident that this was part of the war trilogy of sonatas.A brazen sense of character and the menacing melodic meanderings played with a fluidity and sense of line that was quite extraordinary.There was a masterly sense of balance as he was able to expose the bass melody even on this seemingly weak piano.An Andante caloroso of such subtle sensitivity without a trace of sentimentality that allowed the melodic line to sing with a disarming sensitivity and simplicity.A depth of sound and control with a kaleidoscopic sense of colour in constant change.The extraordinarily whispered return of the opening melody allowed to disintegrated before our very eyes before the subtle entry of the precipitato (similar to the control that is needed in Chopin’s B minor sonata)led to a gradual crescendo of enflamed vehemence and energy to the final desperate outburst with which the sonata ends.

‘Ruf su dir ,Herr Jesu Christ‘BWV 639 was the only answer to the declaration of war as Elia’s hands brought sublime peace to reign once more in the magic atmosphere of this cloister of San Francesco.The Prelude and Fugue op 87 n.21 in B flat was thrown off with a clarity and simplicity that made us realise that the recital had been just a dream from which we were awoken refreshed and enlightened and just thankful of the cultural events that Gala and Diego are bringing to this beautiful town.

Elia Cecino dal 2014 si esibisce con continuità in recital spaziando nel repertorio presso numerose sale europee quali il Teatro Verdi di Trieste, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Fazioli Concert Hall di Sacile, Teatro Toniolo di Mestre, Teatro Olimpico di Vicenza, Conservatorio di Bolzano, Sala dei Giganti di Padova e molte altre. Nel 2016 ha preso parte a un tour di concerti negli Stati Uniti.Si è proposto da solista con la Simfònica del Vallès, Sinfónica de Galicia, Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra, Sichuan Philarmonic, Bacau Philarmonic, FVG Orchestra, Orchestra Vivaldi di Morbegno, Joven Orquesta Leonesa, Orchestra Busoni di Empoli, Complesso d’Archi del Friuli e del Veneto, Orchestra Concentus Musicus Patavinus, Orchestra San Marco di Pordenone.Nell’ottobre 2020 la casa discografica Suonare Records ha pubblicato il suo CD di debutto e un secondo album monografico su Chopin é stato pubblicato da OnClassical nell’aprile 2021. Sue interpretazioni e interviste sono state trasmesse da Rai Radio 3, Radio Popolare, Rai Friuli Venezia Giulia e Radio MCA. Nel dicembre 2020 ha collaborato con il violoncellista Mario Brunello in occasione del 250esimo anniversario della nascita di Beethoven.Vincitore del XXXVI Premio Venezia, Elia si è affermato in Italia e all’estero in concorsi internazionali tra i quali spiccano il Viñes di Lleida, Ciudad de Ferrol, Pozzoli di Seregno, Casagrande di Terni, Schumann di Düsseldorf, Luciani di Cosenza, Città di Albenga, Bajic di Novi Sad, Chopin di Budapest, Marciano di Vienna, Brunelli di Vicenza, Bramanti di Forte dei Marmi.Nato nel 2001 a Treviso, Elia comincia lo studio del pianoforte a 9 anni con Maddalena De Facci sotto la cui guida si diploma da privatista con 10 e Lode presso il conservatorio di Cesena nel 2018. Nel 2020 ottiene il Diploma di Specializzazione dell’Accademia del Ridotto di Stradella studiando con Andrzej Jasinski. Si sta perfezionando con Elisso Virsaladze presso la Scuola di Musica di Fiesole.

Gala Chistiakova and Diego Benocci

Elia Cecino and Maddalena De Facci

After concert celebrations