Leslie Howard and Ludovico Troncanetti at St Mary’s A wondrous voyage of discovery

Sunday 12 June 3.00 pm



A work for solo piano op 83 and four hands op 83a however rarely heard in either form in the concert hall.Roberto Prosseda a disciple of Fou Ts’ong who has carried the same crusade for Mendelssohn that Leslie has carried for Liszt and Rubinstein bringing many works of this much neglected composer from the archives to the concert platform.The weight that Leslie brought to the opening Andante was mirrored by his pupil as they proceeded to embellish this beautiful melody with ever more intricate variations of startling virtuosity.Missing the luminosity of the Rubinstein but had an exemplary clarity and rhythmic drive and was just another work that could be added to the ‘standard’ four hand repertoire.

Fascinating to hear master and ex pupil playing completely unknown works for piano duet by Mendelssohn ,Rubinstein and Liszt .
Leslie Howard and the Sienese pianist Ludovico Troncanetti are fresh from their two piano tour of Italy.

Fascinating to hear this work rarely if ever played in concert.Suddenly these two extraordinary musicians brought a luminosity and sense colour to the piano as they gave an impassioned account of quite considerable logistical virtuosity.A beautiful melodic opening and the grandiloquent final flourishes of the Moderato as the diabolical Scherzo entered with scintillating sparkling virtuosity with playing of astonishing agility.A Mendelssohnian final Andante seeming like an anticlimax until it suddenly came to life with the astonishing excitement of the final pages.It was played as one with an ensemble that was never allowed to wane even if the work on first listening seemed rather overlong.Of course Leslie would never agree to any shortening of the composers intentions but I could not help feeling that some judicious cuts would make it a more appetising bed fellow for the sublime but over exposed Schubert Fantasie in F minor.

If it was a bit of a tight squeeze in Perivale today on one piano but it was a small price to pay to hear a monumental work by Anton Rubinstein for the first time.
Rubinstein was the founder of the St Petersburg Conservatory whose younger brother Nikolai founded the Moscow Conservatory.He wrote 5 Piano Concertos,6 Symphonies,20 Operas and much else but all that we remember these days is his Melody in F and really not even that after the passing of Cherkassky!
Leslie Howard is a tireless promoter of the neglected works of Liszt ,Rubinstein and others.His 100 CD ‘s of the complete works of Liszt has entered the Guinness Book of records and his series of 10 Wigmore recitals of Liszt has gone down in legend.

Lydia and Guido Agosti with ‘Artur Rubinstein’ .Agosti a beacon of humility and integrity who brought great honour to Italy on the jury of the first ‘Rubinstein’ Competition in Tel Aviv.

No stopping the intellectual curiosity of a young Australian pianist who Guido Agosti,a disciple of Busoni- a pupil of Liszt,took under his wing in Siena sixty years ago!

Fascinating to hear these two short extracts from the first part of one of Liszt’s finest works.In piano duet form who am I to comment when played with the absolute authority of a master.

Two pieces from the first part of Liszt’s Oratorio Christus -written in Rome-were but candles shining brightly on a cake ready to be savoured and enjoyed after too many years in oblivion.

The piano duo Troncanetti-Howard was born in 2016 making its debut at the Teatro dei Rinnovati in Siena in October of the same year. It is formed by Leslie Howard, internationally acclaimed pianist, musicologist and composer, best known for being the only pianist to have recorded the complete solo piano works of Franz Liszt, a project which included more than 300 premiere recordings and more than 99 CDs, and Ludovico Troncanetti, italian international concert pianist and former pupil of Howard himself through whom he also met the music of Anton Rubinstein of whom he now makes himself the standard-bearer in the world .

They have performed in the most prestigious festivals and concert halls of Italy, Russia, Portugal, India etc offering a variety of programmes including some remarkably fine rarities as well as a rich selection from the great masters both four-handed and two pianos.

They gave the italian première of the gargantuan Fantasy for two pianos by Anton Rubinstein in 2018 and in April 2019 in India the world première of a marvellous set of concert variations for 2 pianos from an unpublished Liszt’s manuscript: Grandes Variations de concert sur un thème des Puritains, S654.

Mumbai India 2019
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op 22 by Saint-Saens was composed in 1868 – the same time as this daguerreotype portrait. It was dedicated to Madame A. de Villers (née de Haber). At the première on 13 May the composer was the soloist and Anton Rubinstein (pictured here) conducted the orchestra.
Ludovico a disciple of Leslie Howard has taken on the crusade for the music of Anton Rubinstein having recorded two of the four Sonatas ……….Leslie,of course,has recorded all four
The visiting book of Siena Cathedral visited by Liszt, Wagner and Joukowsky in 1880 guests of the Sergardi Family in the Villa Fiorentina
Rubinstein’s third sonata .Sacriligious(!) music heard for the first time in the Cathedral of Ludovico’s home city Siena
Reform Club London on 10th June two days before Perivale


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