Emanuil Ivanov in Capua the bells of their 100 churches tolling brightly -ignited by his mastery and dedication


Emanuil Ivanov. Premio Busoni 2020

Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757). Cinque Sonate:F major K.150 ;in C minor K.303 ;B flat major K.192; A minor K.188; D major K.137

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Sonata n.17 in D minor op.31 n.2 ‘Tempest’. Largo – Allegro; Adagio ;Allegretto

Emanuil Ivanov. (1998)

Tema e variazioni

Ferruccio Busoni. (1866 – 1924)

Sonatina n.6 BV 284 / Super Carmen (Fantasia da camera sull’opera di Bizet)

Franz Liszt (1811 – 1896)

Après une lecture du Dante – Fantasia quasi Sonata S.161 (dal secondo volume degli Années de pèlerinage)

The bells were certainly tolling brightly in the city of 100 churches as Emanuil Ivanov took Capua by storm.
A recital of scintillating piano playing of dynamic energy and passion that was truly overwhelming.
His extraordinary technical command though was always at the service of the music he was playing.
A scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s indications turned the ‘Tempest’ sonata into a declaration of the sturm und drang of the composers tormented soul.
Startling contrasts from the opening flourish that was played with such delicacy and concentration. The opening phrases perfectly shaped but rudely interrupted by tumultuous outbursts and beseeching replies.
Even Beethoven’s pedal indication in the recitativi were scrupulously ‘interpreted ‘.

Barely touching the keys with the right hand whilst his left rested above the keyboard.Emanuil crouched over the keys listening to the magically evocative sounds that reverberated in Beethoven’s soul.The magic only awoken by menacing staccato chords before bursting into flames ….the same fearful flames that were to ignite Liszt’s Dante Sonata that closed this cyclic concert programme.
The reverberation of the final bars that like his final thought in op 111 was a chord made to live with a long held pedal that was a mere vibration to the final pianissimi chords.
The weight he gave to the Adagio in what he revealed as a beautiful chorale with comments above and below was a revelation of clarity and musical vision.
I have never heard it so clearly expressed since Ashkenazy’s magical account of the op 31 sonatas together with two books of Chopin Studies taking London by storm half a century ago.I still remember this very movement as I will Emanuil’s today.The astonishing orchestral clarity of the vibrations of notes with such dry sterile clarity with the sumptuous Philadelphian string sound of the chorale.Even more extraordinary was the final bar with no ritardando but so wonderfully shaped with the final bass B flat barely touched to close this remarkable statement.
The infectious forward impulse of the Allegretto was accompanied by a dynamic drive .This was Beethoven with a capital’B’.Sforzandi like gun shots such was the surprise of the contrast from the mellifluous gentle flow and even music box colours to a most tumultuous rhythmic insistence.
When I saw this Sonata on his programme I was not expecting to be totally overwhelmed by a performance of such identity and character.In Capua today it was restored to its place amongst the greatest of Beethovens thirty two sonatas.Hallelujah!

The concert had opened with five Scarlatti sonatas with all the ritornelli as with Beethoven scrupulously observed which meant the Scarlatti was not the usual ’opener’. Like the great musician Emanuil has become,the Scarlatti Sonatas were given a weight and character that brought these gems vividly to life.With the elegance and crystalline clarity and ornaments like well oiled springs.Bright lights ignited as the light touched this prism of digital perfection in K.303 with trills of delicacy and brilliance like jewels shining with the question and answer between the hands.The Imperiously busy K.192 almost Haydnesque in its operatic characterisation.There was a joyous outpouring of rhythmic energy in K.137 played with burning intensity and drive.

When I heard Emanuil rehearsing just before the concert I exclaimed ‘so you are playing a jazz encore too’.’No it is my theme and variations’ he exclaimed.And what a beautifully shaped work it is with the subtle colouring of the mellifluous theme played with the sumptuous colours that Jazz pianists seem to be born to find often more than classical trained musicians.It is a freedom to experiment with colour and sounds that was immediately noticeable.A theme that returned so beautifully at the end after some variations of hair raising brilliance and quixotic character.It was the perfect foil for Busoni’s Carmen Fantasy that burst on the scene with a brilliance like a gust of wind suddenly blowing over the keys bustling and vibrantly alive .Giving way to the sumptuous tenor melody – con amore dolcissimo cantando – accompanied by jeux perlé cascades of notes and a hair raising Habanera of astonishing delicacy and brilliance.A build up to the complete brass band – quasi Tromba- of excitement before waves of notes spread over the keyboard taking us to the final tragic scene -Andante visionario – that was played with orchestral colour of heartrending beauty.The final staccato chords over a long held note were the perfect way to close this astonishing miniature tone poem .This was Busoni’s flurry at looking back with nostalgia to the world of the virtuoso before Liszt’s final prophetic years looking to the future that heralded the real birth of his true heir,Busoni.

The Dante Sonata was overwhelming in Emanuil’s complete identification with a world from the Inferno to Paradiso.Astonishing tumultuous sounds contrasted with intimate secrets.With never a light on his astonishing virtuosity as it was a story he was telling with total commitment and astonishing youthful passion.

We were witness today to one of the most remarkable reincarnations of what it must have been like to hear the master himself recount in music the world of Dante.

By great request from a discerning audience in this unique Museo Campano Emanuil let leash one of the most astonishing feats of pianism I have ever heard in public.The Rondo Toccata by the Georgian composer Revaz Laghidze.I have not heard the like since as a boy I used to listen astonished to the improvisations of Cziffra.’A Maiden’s Wish’ the transciption of Chopins Polish Song was a second encore of scintillating subtlety with passionate mellifluous outpourings of beauty that I have not heard since Moritz Rosenthal’s historic recording from the ‘Golden Age of Piano Playing’

Revaz Laghidze

Revaz Laghidze was a famous Georgian composerwho was born in 1921 in Bagdadi district. In 1939, he graduated from Tbilisi IV Music School, after which he continued his studies at the Vano Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire.He died in 1981 in Tbilisi,Georgia

I had been impressed by Emanuil’s digital clarity in Bolzano when he gave a ‘short back and sides’ performance of Brahms Handel Variations that missed the colour and weight of orchestral sound .His prize winning performance of Saint Saens second concerto where his scintillating trills and clarity were quite extraordinary. https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.com/2019/09/07/viva-busoni-the-final-parts-1-2-3-with-interlude/
Three years on Emanuil has matured into a master musician using his phenomenal digital dexterity to enlighten the composers message.

It has been inspiring to see his gradual maturity from the extraordinary streamed recital in a La Scala ,emptied by the pandemic, https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.com/2021/02/27/emanuil-ivanov-at-la-scala-to-the-glory-of-god-and-beyond/. To a recital he gave at Steinways in London for the Keyboard Trust. https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.com/2022/10/16/emanuil-ivanov-at-steinway-hall-for-the-keyboard-trust/

His mentor Pascal Nemirovski has often thanked me for my comments on Emanuil’s playing but it is we that should thank him for allowing brilliant young pianists to mature,keeping their own personality as they dedicate their youth to the interpretation of great art.

The Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, was composed in 1801–02 and is usually referred to as The Tempest (Der Sturm ), but the sonata was not given this title by Beethoven, or indeed referred to as such during his lifetime. The name comes from a reference to a personal conversation with Beethoven in which Schindler reports that Beethoven suggested, in passing response to his question about interpreting it and Op. 57, the Appassionata sonata ,that he should read Shakespeare’s Tempest .Some however have suggested that Beethoven may have been referring to the works of C.C. Sturm, the preacher and author best known for his Reflections on the Works of God in Nature, a copy of which he owned and, indeed, had heavily annotated.

The imposing entrance to the Capua ‘Museo Campano’

In Busoni’s hands Bizet’s masterpiece is sculpted with breathtaking creativity. This re-imagining forms the basis of Busoni’s sixth sonatina, the Kammer-Fantasie uber Carmen completed in 1920. It was premiered by the composer in the same year at Wigmore Hall. The work takes its thematic material from the opening chorus of the fourth act, Don José’s ‘Flower song’ in Act II, the Act I ‘Habanera’ (in its minor and major forms), and the prelude to Act I. The Kammer-Fantasie über Carmen bears all the Busoni hallmarks:

Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata (French for After a Reading of Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata; also known as the Dante Sonata) is a sonata in one movement , completed in 1849 and was first published in 1856 as part of the second volume of his Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage) and was inspired by the reading of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.The Dante Sonata was originally a small piece entitled Fragment after Dante, consisting of two thematically related movements, which Liszt composed in the late 1830s.He gave the first public performance in Vienna, during November 1839.When he settled in Weimar in 1849, he revised the work along with others in the volume, and gave it its present title derived from Victor Hugo’s own work of the same name.

Emanuil Ivanov attracted international attention after receiving the First prize at the 2019 Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition in Italy. This achievement was followed by concert engagements in some of the world’s most prestigious halls including Teatro alla Scala in Milan and Herculessaal in Munich.Emanuil Ivanov was born in 1998 in the town of Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. From an early age he demonstrated a keen interest and love for music. He regards the presence of symphonic music, especially that of Gustav Mahler, as tremendously influential in his musical upbringing during his childhood. He started piano lessons with Galina Daskalova in his hometown around the age of seven. He later studied in and graduated from the Bertolt Brecht language high school in Pazardzhik. Ivanov studied with renowned bulgarian pianist Atanas Kurtev from 2013 to 2018. He is currently studying on a full scholarship at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire under the tutelage of Pascal Nemirovski and Anthony Hewitt.Ivanov has won prizes in competitions such as “Alessandro Casagrande”, “Scriabin-Rachmaninoff”, “Liszt-Bartok”, “Young virtuosos” and “Jeunesses International Music Competition Dinu Lipatti”. He was also awarded the honorary Crystal lyre and the Young Musician of the Year Award – some of the most prestigious awards in Bulgaria. In 2022 he received the honorary Silver Medal of the London Musicians’ Company and later in the same year became a recipient of the Carnwath Piano Scholarship.His participations in masterclasses include those of Dmitri Bashkirov, Dmitri Alexeev, Stephen Hough, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Peter Donohoe, etc.
In February 2021, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ivanov performed a solo recital in Milan’s famous Teatro alla Scala. The concert was live-streamed online and is a major highlight in the artist’s career.Emanuil Ivanov has also performed at many festivals in Bulgaria and has also given solo recitals in France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Cyprus, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Poland. He has played with leading orchestras in Bulgaria and Italy.

With Antonino Cascio and wife Artistic director and President of Autunno Musicale – autunnomusicale .com

Nel 2019 si è affermato in due tra i più importanti concorsi pianistici internazionali, ottenendo il Primo Premio al Concorso Busoni di Bolzano e il Secondo Premio al Casagrande di Terni.Precedentemente era stato premiato in vari concorsi – Vivapiano, Scriabin-Rachmaninoff, Viktor Merzhanov, Pavel Serebryakov, Liszt-Bartók, Young virtuosos e Jeunesses International Music Competition Dinu Lipatti a Bucarest, e il secondo premio al Concorso Chopin di San Pietroburgo.È stato anche insignito di alcune tra le più prestigiose onorificenze bulgare: la Lira di cristallo e il Premio Young Musician of the Year; nel 2022, inoltre, ha ricevuto la medaglia d’argento della London Musicians’ Company e la Carnwath Piano Scholarship. Ha studiato con Galina Daskalova e con Atanas Kurtev, si è perfezionato al Birmingham Royal Conservatory con Pascal Nemirovski e Anthony Hewitt ed ha partecipato a masterclass di Dmitri Bashkirov, Dmitri Alexeev, Andrzej Jasinski, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Ludmil Angelov, Pavel Egorov. Ha tenuto concerti in Bulgaria, Italia, Austria, Regno Unito, Germania, Francia e Polonia, Russia, suonando in sale prestigiose, tra cui il Teatro alla Scala di Milano, La Fenice di Venezia, l’Herkulessaal di Monaco nonché al Festival Moscow meets friends. Ha suonato con l’eminente pianista bulgaro Ludmil Angelov al Palazzo Reale di Varsavia e ha debuttato a Sofia con la Classic FM Symphony Orchestra diretta da Grigor Palikarov, nonché con le migliori orchestre italiane e bulgare.

Antonino Cascio who will be conducting Bruno Canino in works by Giovanni Simone Mayr at the Reggia di Caserta -Cappella Palatina on 26th December with the Orchestra da Camera di Caserta founded by the remarkable Cascio family .
Johann(es) Simon Mayr (14 June 1763 – 2 December 1845), was a German composer . His music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era. He was an early inspiration to Rossini and taught Donizetti.He moved to Bergamo in 1802 and was appointed maestro di cappella at the Cathedral of Bergamo, succeeding his old teacher Lenzi. He held the post until his death, and became a central figure, organizing concerts and introducing Beethoven’s music there. By the end of his life, he was blind . He died in Bergamo and is buried in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore there, just in front of the tomb of his famous pupil.
Mayr’s works, among which there are almost seventy operas, are rarely performed today.

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