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.
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.
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.
Elia Cecino and Maddalena De Facci