Giordano Buondonno crystalline clarity and mastery at St Marys

Thursday 23 June 3.00 pm

Giordano Buondonno (piano)

Having heard recently this young Italian pianist in the Solti studio I was very glad to be able to listen again not only to the Ravel and Scriabin but to hear also two works by Chopin in place of the previous Brahms Ballades op 10.These works of Chopin,Brahms and Ravel were all works that were immortalised by the legendary fellow Italian:Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

Solti Studio …Fabbrini Steinway that once belonged to Michelangeli

In the Solti studio he had the privilege to play on the Fabbrini Steinway ‘D’ piano that had once belonged to the Italian master.Wherever Michelangeli played there would be Angelo Fabbrini to insure that the piano had been fine tuned and in perfect running order like the racing cars that he also liked to fine tune himself and to drive as fast as possible.There was such a close relationship between Fabbrini and the Maestro that Michelangeli became the Godfather to his children.Often I would queue up a month in advance in London for tickets to hear the great masters like Rubinstein,Richter or Michelangeli .Michelangeli would regularly cancel at the last minute if he thought the conditions were not right for the piano and he could not produce the sounds that were ingrained in his being.Nothing less than pianistic perfection was possible!I never got to hear Michelangeli in London but I did hear him once in the Vatican City in Rome.The videos of his performances have become classics and his first recording of the Bach Chaconne has remained with me ever since .Watching and listening to Giordano again especially in this repertoire reminded me so much of the crystalline clarity and chiselled precision of Michelangeli.A pianist that listens to himself with such scientific care is indeed a very special artist.Giordano hardly moving but watching like a hawk about to pounce as his long fingers etched out the sounds with such crystalline clarity.One could see him pointing to the keys before striking the note,with his head down in total concentration on the sounds he wanted those fingers to make as they landed full centre on the note.I have written recently about his Scriabin and Ravel that he also played today on this fine Yamaha piano,playing with the same precision and clarity that he had on Michelangeli’s own Steinway.’Ondine’ was even more memorable today than it had been in the Solti Studio.His remarkable sense of balance allowed the water nymph to flit in and out of the flowing waters without ever for a second being overwhelmed by the enormous amount of notes that Ravel adds to his score.The desolation of Le Gibet was even more terrifying for its austere clarity and absolute control of sound.Scarbo was played with transcendental control and sense of drive in a work that Ravel wrote of such extraordinary difficulty putting to the test any pianist who could dare play it after Balakirev’s Islamey.There were no such problems for Giordano who etched out with clarity and precision the antics of the diabolical Scarbo.Scriabin too he played with ravishing colours and sense of balance.The end of the first movement suddenly becoming alive as the romantic outpourings of the second movement swept across the keyboard.

Hands on performance of Fazil Say

His encore of ‘Black Earth’ by Fazil Say had Dr Mather a little alarmed as he saw Giordano placing his hands inside the piano to mute the strings to make a drum like effect.(I remember being asked by Stockhausen if he could use my Steinway instead of the rather inferior piano that had been brought in especially for a performance of his 12 Klavierstucke …….How could I say no ? I did specify though that it should only be used by two hands and two feet in the traditional manner).However there was no need to worry about the sounds that Giordano manage to evoke from the piano.They were as unexpected as they were extraordinary,playing with the same precision and seriousness that had been a hallmark of the entire recital

There was absolute precision with Giordano’s long pointed fingers etching out sounds of such subtle clarity.A sense of balance where the left hand was a mere murmur (not sure sharing the opening with two hands was quite what Chopin intended).Playing of great beauty and clarity.If the orchestral tutti was kept to a minimum it just opened the gate to Giordano’s superb jeux perlé of such beguiling shape and aristocratic grandeur.Scintillating notes of silver just glistened as they spun their magic web around the Polonaise with such brilliance as Chopin himself might have done in the Parisian salons that announced his arrival as a musical genius to rival even Liszt.
A beautiful flowing tempo that allowed the melodic line to be played with such flexibility.There was clarity but bathed in velvet with a mysterious cloud of sound towards the end out of which emerged the melodic line creating an atmosphere of pure magic.Golden fingers but also a heart of gold!

Italian pianist Giordano Buondonno graduated from the Giacomo Puccini Conservatoire with Honours, receiving the highest mark in his class, and completed his MMus with Distinction in 2021 at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London.. He is studying for an Artist Diploma under the guidance of Sergio De Simone and Deniz Gelenbe. Giordano is a proud recipient of The Leverhulme Arts Scholarship, the Jaqueline Williams Scholarship and the Arthur Haynes Scholarship for his studies at Trinity Laban. At the age of 19, he won first prize at the Clara Schumann Competition and performed for the Piano City Festival in Milan. He also came first in the PianoLink Concerto Competition, playing Chopin’s First Piano Concerto with the PianoLink Philarmonic Orchestra in Milan. Giordano’s performance highlights include a recital at Steinway Hall London, King’s Place Hall, and a recital at Henley Park Manor in Surrey, for His Serene Highness Prince Donatus von Hohenzollern; representing Trinity Laban as a finalist at the 2019 Beethoven Society Intercollegiate Piano Competition; the Sheepdrove Intercollegiate Piano Competition, the Young Artist concert series organised by Roma Tre Orchestra, South Hill Park Arts Centre in the International Conservatoire series, Paganiniano Festival in Italy, the Old Royal Naval College, St. Alfege Church and St. James’s Piccadilly in London.


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