Josef Mossali Young Artists Piano Solo Series Youthful virtuosity and refined musicianship exult and excite Roma 3

Josef Mossali lo scorso anno nell’Aula Magna della Scuola di Lettere, Filosofia e Lingue dell’Università Roma Tre, in uno scatto di Diana Montini

Josef Mossali for the Young Artists Piano Solo series gave an astonishing recital beginning with the Schumann Fantasy the first note surprisingly played with the right hand deep in the bass .The recital finishing with a dance from Pletnev’s ingenious reworking of Tchaikowsky’s Nutcracker.Including two preludes by Rachmaninov played with the insinuating rubato of op 23 n 6 and the mellifluous fluidity of op 23 n.8.But it was the Debussy late studies that suddenly liberated the true interpreter in Josef as he brought the quixotic changes in the arpeggio study vividly to life identifying totally with the quick fire changes of mood interspersed with ravishing washes of sound .The octave study was a tour de force not only because of his extraordinary technical control but because of the character he gave to this remarkable work.
It was the same technical ease and sense of character that he gave to Masques before the passionate outpourings of L’isle joyeuse.
Played with passionate conviction and technical prowess for a piece inspired in Eastbourne by the island of Jersey!
Josef had given a remarkably mature account of the first movement of the Fantasy .Giving it a true architectural shape with its dramatic contrasts of passionate outbursts and serene longing.In the other two movements he was a little too involved and lost the simplicity that had been such a hallmark of the opening.
The March was played with enviable control and drive but he gave too much of himself too soon so the final explosion did not come as an inevitable conclusion but rather just another repeat.Some ravishing sounds in the last movement that is a great outpouring of song for his beloved Clara .But his youthful passion did not allow him to sit back and wallow in the sublime beauty of the melodic line and he lost his head or in this case sense of balance as the accompaniment became too involved in this intimate discourse.
Starting with Schumann and ending with a Couperin encore we could appreciate the remarkable qualities of this young artist still being guided by Massimiliano Motterle in Bergamo and Boris Petrushansky in Imola

The Fantasie in C, op.17, was written in 1836. It was revised prior to publication in 1839, when it was dedicated to Franz Liszt .It is generally described as one of Schumann’s greatest works for solo piano and is one of the central works of the early Romantic period.The piece has its origin in early 1836, when Schumann composed a piece entitled Ruines expressing his distress at being parted from his beloved Clara Wieck (later to become his wife). This later became the first movement of the Fantasy.Later that year, he wrote two more movements to create a work intended as a contribution to the appeal by Liszt for funds to erect a monument to Beethoven in his birthplace, Bonn.Schumann offered the work to the publisher Kirstner, suggesting that 100 presentation copies could be sold to raise money for the monument. Other contributions to the Beethoven monument fund included Mendelssohn’s Variations sérieuses.It was dedicated to Franz Liszt who replied in a letter dated June 5, 1839: “The Fantaisie dedicated to me is a work of the highest kind – and I am really proud of the honour you have done me in dedicating to me so grand a composition. I mean, therefore, to work at it and penetrate it through and through, so as to make the utmost possible effect with it.”Liszt returned the honour by dedicating his own Sonata in B minor to Schumann in 1853. Clara Schumann did not start to perform the Fantasie in her concerts until 1866, ten years after the composer died.The original title of Schumann’s work was “Obolen auf Beethovens Monument: Ruinen, Trophaen, Palmen, Grosse Sonate f.d. Piano f. Für Beethovens Denkmal”. Kirstner refused, and Schumann tried offering the piece to Haslinger in January 1837. When Haslinger also refused, he offered it to Btreitkopf & Hartel in May 1837. The movements’ subtitles (Ruins, Trophies, Palms) became Ruins, Triumphal Arch, and Constellation, and were then removed altogether before Breitkopf & Härtel eventually issued the Fantasie in May.

Schumann prefaced the work with a quote from Friedrich Schlegel:Durch alle Töne tönetIm bunten ErdentraumEin leiser Ton gezogenFür den, der heimlich lauschet.(“Resounding through all the notesIn the earth’s colorful dreamThere sounds a faint long-drawn noteFor the one who listens in secret.”)The musical quotation of a phrase from Beethoven’s song cycle An die ferne Geliebte in the coda of the first movement was not acknowledged by Schumann, and apparently was not spotted until 1910.The text of the passage quoted is: Accept then these songs beloved, which I sang for you alone]. Schumann wrote to Clara: The first movement may well be the most passionate I have ever composed – a deep lament for you. They still had many tribulations to suffer before they finally married four years later.

Achille) Claude Debussy22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Masques, L. 105, was composed in July 1904,and premiered on 18 February 1905 by Ricardo Vines at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. Its sombre character reflects Debussy’s difficult separation from Lilly Texier, his first wife. The title refers to the commedia dell’arte although Debussy confided to Marguerite Long that the piece was “not Italian comedy, but an expression of the tragedy of existence” – (“ce n’est pas la comédie italienne, mais l’expression tragique de l’existence.”)In the early summer of 1903 Debussy considered writing a series of three piano pieces; the first was to be entitled L’isle joyeuse , the second to be Masques and the third was to be a piece based on a sarabande rhythm ; , due to the slow rhythm in ternary time, this last piece could have been what would later become D’un cashier d’esquisses which was also published separately in 1904. The pianist Ricardo Vines wrote in his diary that the composer had made him listen in June 1903 to what was supposed to be the first version of the piece entitled L’isle joyeuse .

Watteau, Pèlerinage à l’île de Cythère

It seems that the piece was inspired by Debussy from a 1717 painting by Antoine Watteau .The happy island was also very probably that of Jersey , where the musician spent important moments with his new partner Emma Bardac in the summer of 1904; it was during this period that Debussy revised and prepared for printing L’isle joyeuse . The work was published on the following 10 October by the publisher Durand, to whom the musician had sold it, together with Masques, for the sum of one thousand francs

Études L.136 are a set of 12 piano études composed in 1915. Debussy described them as “a warning to pianists not to take up the musical profession unless they have remarkable hands”.They are broadly considered to be his late masterpieces.

Nato nel 2001, inizia lo studio del pianoforte con il M° Massimiliano Motterle e si forma con il M° Marco Giovanetti al Conservatorio “G. Donizetti” di Bergamo, dove, dopo aver terminato il Triennio Accademico, sta attualmente frequentando il Biennio Ordinamentale sotto la guida del M° M. Motterle. Inoltre prosegue gli studi all’Accademia di Imola con il M° Boris Petrushansky. Ha vinto il Primo premio in diversi concorsi tra cui il 27° concorso “J.S. Bach” di Sestri Levante; il “XX International Music Competition” di Cortemilia; il XII concorso “Città di Riccione”; il 19°concorso “Città di Giussano”; il concorso “D. Scarlatti” di Carpenedolo; il 10° concorso “Città di Piove di Sacco”; il 17° Concorso “Marco Bramanti” di Forte dei Marmi; il 1° concorso “Lombardia è musica” tra i conservatori lombardi, istituito dal Consiglio Regionale della Lombardia; la XVa edizione del Premio Nazionale delle Arti. Ha suonato per la Società dei concerti di Milano nella Sala Verdi del Conservatorio di Milano, per la Società del Quartetto di Milano, per gli Amici della musica di Firenze, per l’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia presso l’Auditorium Parco della Musica, per la Camerata Ducale di Vercelli, per l’associazione GIA a Brescia, per il Teatro Coccia di Novara, per Rai Radio 3 e per Rai 1, per il Festival Pianistico Internazionale di Brescia e Bergamo, debuttando al Teatro Donizetti nel 2022. Ha suonato sotto la direzione del M° Pier Carlo Orizio, del M° Fabrizio Maria Carminati, collaborando con diverse orchestre tra le quali la Filarmonica del Festival Pianistico Internazionale di Brescia e Bergamo, l’Orchestra dei Virtuosi Italiani e l’Orchestra del Conservatorio G. Donizetti di Bergamo.

With artistic director of Roma 3 Valerio Vicari

Viv Mc Lean goes to town Hollywood Style Ravishes and seduces Big Band Style

Thursday 23 February 3.00 pm

Viv McLean

There was magic in the air with Viv McLean in contemplative mood.
Two Scarlatti Sonatas in D minor were played very slowly and contemplatively with ravishing colours and sensitive phrasing that made them shine like the gems we sometimes take too much for granted.
It was Fou Ts’ong who fell in love with Scarlatti and played some of them so slowly too with ravishing beauty always in style with none of this Tausig business but scrupulous authenticity.
We forget with the fingerfertigkeit jeux perlé high jinx that are so often paraded before us that the genius of Scarlatti lay in his fantasy and mellifluous outpouring of melodic invention.
The human voice -the most expressive instrument of all – and of course like Bach ,Scarlatti’s inspiration is based on the song and the dance with a clarity and simplicity that with the arrival of the pedal was to add more soul of smoke and mystery.
The very things that Viv McLean was to reveal so beautifully with the arrival of Gershwin with its insinuating colours and ravishing heartfelt outpourings of hollywoodian sounds .
The beguiling horn call of the E major sonata was worthy of a part in ‘A Midsummer nights dream’ where the elves and fairies make light and fun of any pomposity.

And it was this in Viv McLean’s playing that was so refreshing with its simplicity which did not exclude real delicacy and feeling but encapsulated within the notes themselves and never externally added.
His Mozart too was beautifully fresh and simple with a clarity and purity of sound but I found him a little inhibited by his meaningful adherence to a non legato style.
Instead of the live operatic characters that abound in all of Mozart’s works there were porcelain doll like characters that seemed artificial and not the full blooded stage actors of Mozart’s real life theatrical personalities.
It was played with a purity of sound of clarity and elegance but somehow it did not penetrate the heart as Scarlatti had.The Andante was expansive and expressive with some very delicate changes of colour.The Allegretto was played with great dynamic contrasts and brilliance but just missed the elegance of a past epoque.

Then the curtain rose and the party began.We were treated to the nightclub elegance of the ‘30’s with an insinuating performance of subtle intensity and ravishing colours .Viv McLean had opened his heart strings creating a magic atmosphere of smokey intimacy before letting rip Hollywood style with the full big band of Rhapsody in Blue.
This was the real thing as we were transported back to an age of elegance and easy showmanship and an original light that illuminated Broadway for decades.’The man I love’ was the insinuating opening number.

It was the original talent that when Gershwin asked to study with the greatest guru of her age,Nadia Boulanger,she turned him away as she did not want to ruin such an original voice.
Viv McLean ignited his large audience as the house favourite charmed,astonished and excited them with a scintillating display of refined virtuosity.A truly dazzling ,fizzing you might say,performance of Rhapsody in Blue with the sumptuous orchestral sounds of the big band with amazing solo spots of such clarity and brilliance.As Hugh rightly said there are very few pianists who can play Scarlatti and Mozart with such beauty and intelligence and then switch to the improvisational style of Hollywood.A wonderful sense of balance allowed him to play the Gershwin with full sounds that were never hard but bathed on a glorious carpet of sumptuous rich velvet sonorities.His performance of ‘Summertime’ offered as an encore was beguiling with it’s subtle sense of colour and a fluidity of recreation that was quite simply sublime.

Since winning First Prize at the Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona, British pianist Viv McLean has performed in all the major venues in the UK, as well as throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA. He has performed concertos with orchestras such as the RPO, Philharmonia Orchestra, LPO, English Chamber Orchestra, Halle, BBC Concert Orchestra & the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of such conductors as Daniel Harding, Wayne Marshall, Christopher Warren-Green, Owain Arwell Hughes, Carl Davis, Rebecca Miller and Marvin Hamlisch. Viv has collaborated with groups such as the Leopold String Trio, Ensemble 360, the Ysaye Quartet, the Sacconi String Quartet, members of the Elias, Allegri, Carducci and Tippett Quartets, and artists such as Natalie Clein, Daniel Hope, Lawrence Power, David Le Page, Adrian Brendel and Mary Bevan. Viv has appeared at many festivals including the International Beethoven Festival in Bonn, the Festival des Saintes in France, Vinterfestspill i Bergstaden in Norway and the Cheltenham International Festival in the UK. He has recorded for Sony, Naxos, Nimbus, Stone Records, RPO Records and ICSM Records. Viv has also recorded regularly for BBC Radio 3 as well as for radio in Germany, France, Australia, Norway and Poland.

Thomas Kelly at St Mary’s Masterly playing from the Golden Age

Tuesday 28 February 3.00 pm 

Masterly playing from Thomas Kelly not only for his unique sense of colour and style but for his musicianship that guided us through everything he played with an architectural shape and aristocratic sense of style that marks him out as one of the most exciting young musicians of his generation .
He and Benjamin Grosvenor are magicians of the keyboard as the great pianists were in the golden age of piano playing.The era of Rachmaninov,Lhevine,Rosenthal Godowsky or Moiseiwitch and in our day Stephen Hough.A piano that is no longer a percussion instrument but a kaleidoscope of magical sounds that are created by the greatest of illusionists.Subtle use of the pedals and above all a sense of touch that can find infinite gradations in every note.The famous Matthay touch but also the pedal of Anton Rubinstein that he described as the soul of the piano.
A magnificent recital that was a lesson in musicianship and phenomenal technical control.The sounds he brought to Respighi’s Notturno played as an encore were the stuff that dreams are made of.

There was a fluidity to his sound from the very first Bagatelle with the driving rhythmic urgency of the second even if he was rather impatient with the rests as I expect Beethoven was too.A beautiful cadenza ‘grazioso’ in the first was a gentle relief from Beethoven’s most concisely profound outpouring.It was the same celestial harp that interrupted the third bagatelle.An expansive melodic line of quartet richness similar to the aria of his Sonata op 109.The final sparse notes bathed in pedal but with Thomas’s keen ear was given a subtle cleansing but never taking away from the overall effect.He had indeed digested Beethoven’s meaning and transmitted it to us with integrity and honesty.There was a rhythmic surge to the fourth played with drive and passion which contrasted so well with the bagpipe drone on which floated Beethoven’s disarmingly simple melodic line.The contrasting simplicity of the ‘quasi allegretto’ was a gentle oasis even though the legato contrasts could have been even more fluidly expressed.It was rudely interrupted by the Beethovenian explosion of the last Bagatelle and the contrasting long held pedal note on which Beethoven floated the magical simple mellifluous lines that were to characterise the serenity that he had at last found at the end of tumultuous life

Beethoven’s Bagatelles Op. 126 were published late in his career, in the year 1825 and dedicated to his brother Nikolaus Johann ( 1776–1848).Beethoven wrote to his publisher, Schott Music that the Opus 126 Bagatelles “are probably the best I’ve written”.In prefatory remarks to his edition of the works, Otto von Irmer notes that Beethoven intended the six bagatelles be played in order as a single work, at least insofar as this can be inferred from a marginal annotation Beethoven made in the manuscript: “Ciclus von Kleinigkeiten” (cycle of little pieces).Another reason to regard the work as a unity rather than a collection: starting with the second Bagatelle, the keys of the pieces fall in a regular succession of descending major thirds a pattern used in Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’Symphony and the String Quartet op 127

There was ravishing beauty to the full rich sound that he found for Baron von Fricken’s theme contrasting with the subtle rhythmic precision of the first variation .There was a shimmering beauty to the second that was also a passionate grandiose outpouring of timeless wonder.There followed the butterfly fluttering that accompanied the beauty of the tenor line and the lightweight precision of the chordal variations that follow .It was here that Thomas inserted the five beautifully lyrical posthumous studies .It made a superb contrast with the magical swirling sounds of the first and the subtle beauty of the duet between the treble and bass of the second.The contrasting rhythmic outpouring of the third and the sublime simple chiselled beauty of the fourth and fifth with mature masterly playing of great subtlety and colour.Returning to the passionate outpouring of the fifth of the original variations that was played with superb technical control and passionate simplicity.There was the hard driven rhythm of the sixth and the aristocratically architectural shape of the austere seventh likened by Agosti to the solidity of a Gothic Cathedral.Mendelssohnian lightness followed of true transcendental virtuosity.The solidity of the eighth contrasting with the magical bel canto of the ninth.The shimmering beauty of the accompaniment to the duet between the two glorious Belcanto voices enchanting with passion and exquisite delicacy.The Finale was played with great authority and architectural shape,the slight rallentando and drop in tension,before the final startling change of key was a masterly touch and led even more impact to the excitement and exhilaration of the final dynamic outpouring .

The first edition in 1837 carried an annotation that the tune was “the composition of an amateur”: this referred to the origin of the theme, which had been sent to Schumann by Baron von Fricken, guardian of Ernestine von Fricken, the Estrella of his Carnaval op. 9. The baron, an amateur musician, had used the melody in a Theme with Variations for flute. Schumann had been engaged to Ernestine in 1834, only to break abruptly with her the year after. An autobiographical element is thus interwoven in the genesis of the Études symphoniques (as in that of many other works of Schumann’s).Of the sixteen variations Schumann composed on Fricken’s theme, only eleven were published by him. (An early version, completed between 1834 and January 1835, contained twelve movements). The final, twelfth, published étude was a variation on the theme from the Romance Du stolzes England freue dich (Proud England, rejoice!), from Heinrich Marschner’s opera Der Templer und die Judin based on Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (as a tribute to Schumann’s English friend, William Sterndale Bennett to whom it is dedicated )The earlier Fricken theme occasionally appears briefly during this étude. The work was first published in 1837 as XII Études Symphoniques. Only nine of the twelve études were specifically designated as variations. The entire work was dedicated to Schumann’s English friend, the pianist and composer, and Bennett played the piece frequently in England to great acclaim, but Schumann thought it was unsuitable for public performance and advised his wife Clara not to play it.The highly virtuosic demands of the piano writing are frequently aimed not merely at effect but at clarification of the polyphonic complexity and at delving more deeply into keyboard experimentation. The Etudes are considered to be one of the most difficult works for piano by Schumann (together with his Fantasy in C and Toccata) and in Romantic literature as a whole.

Thomas Kelly was born in 1998. He passed Grade 8 with Distinction in 2006 and performed Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 in Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre two years later. After moving to Cheshire, he regularly played in festivals, winning prizes including in the Birmingham Festival, 3rd prize in Young Pianist of The North 2012, and 1st prize in the 2014 Warrington Competition for Young Musicians. Since 2015, Thomas has studied with Andrew Ball, initially at the Purcell School for Young Musicians and now at Royal College of Music, where he is a third-year undergraduate. Thomas has won first prizes including Pianale International Piano Competition 2017, Kharkiv Assemblies 2018, Lucca Virtuoso e Bel Canto festival 2018, RCM Joan Chissell Schumann competition 2019, Kendall Taylor Beethoven Competition 2019 and BPSE Intercollegiate Beethoven Competition 2019. He has also performed in venues including the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Holy Trinity Sloane Square, St James’ Piccadilly, Oxford Town Hall, St Mary’s Perivale, St Paul’s Bedford, Poole Lighthouse Arts Centre, Stoller Hall, Paris Conservatoire, the StreingreaberHaus in Bayreuth, the Teatro del Sale in Florence, in Vilnius and Palanga. Thomas’ studies at RCM are generously supported by Pat Kendall-Taylor, Ms Daunt and Ms Stevenson and C. Bechstein pianos. He recently won 5th prize at the 2021 Leeds International Piano Competition, and was the first British pianist to reach the finals of this prestigious competition for 18 years

Gala Chistiakova and Diego Benocci in Viterbo A duo that plays as one with beauty and style.

Gala Chistiakova e Diego Benocci

Duo Degas in Viterbo as winners of the International Rome competition founded by Marcella Crudeli.
The indomitable Marcella at 82 had given a moving duo recital in Rome with her young protégée Emanuele Savron three times her younger.
All 21 Hungarian dances by Brahms and two repeated made for 24

Franz Liszt was strongly influenced by the music heard in his youth, particularly Hungarian folk music, with its unique gypsy scale rhythmic spontaneity and direct, seductive expression. These elements would eventually play a significant role in Liszt’s compositions. Although this prolific composer’s works are highly varied in style, a relatively large part of his output is nationalistic in character, the Hungarian Rhapsodies being an ideal example.
Composed in 1847 and dedicated to Count Laszlo Teleki Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 was first published as a piano solo in 1851 by Senff and Ricordi. Its immediate success and popularity on the concert stage led to an orchestrated version, arranged (together with five other rhapsodies) in 1857–1860 by the composer in collaboration with Franz Doppler and published by Schuberth in 1874–1875. In addition to the orchestral version, the composer arranged a piano duet version in 1874, published by Schuberth the following year.the version that was played today was of Richard Kleinmichel/Franz Bendel.

It was Gala Chistiakova and her partner on stage and in life Diego Benocci who chose two of the better known dances as an encore today.
It followed an extraordinary performance of Liszt’s 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody where Gala’s refined tones were complemented by Diego’s dynamic theatricality in a performance of scintillatingly stylish playing that seduced and excited all the senses.

In the 1760s, when Wolfgang & his sister Nannerl were touring Europe as child prodigies, the keyboard duet was a popular novelty item on their programs, one that offered a fuller range of sound from a single instrument while still allowing each performer the opportunity for individual display.
When the Mozart children were touring, though, they would most likely have been playing the harpsichord, since the hammered fortepiano (progenitor of the modern pianoforte) did not replace in popularity its string-plucking keyboard cousin until the following decade. While the Sonata in D major K. 381 was composed in 1772, the lack of dynamic markings in the manuscript probably indicates that it was still written for harpsichord, not the fortepiano.

From the opening work on the recital for Tuscia University season with the very first notes of Mozart’s much loved D major Sonata we were treated to a refined performance of elegance and rhythmic energy.Gala’s pure golden sounds in the Andante were matched by Diego’s sensitive accompaniment.
A sense of balance where they played as one such was the overall architectural shape so clearly moulded together.

Grieg’s incidental music for Henrik Ibsen’s drama “Peer Gynt” contains some of his best-known compositions, such as “Morning mood” and “In the hall of the Mountain King”. Grieg later extracted the most beautiful pieces to form two orchestral suites and arranged himself these versions for piano solo and piano four-hands. Peer Gynt Suite no. 2 includes Solvejg’s Song op. 55,4. The decisive role that Norwegian folk music played for Edvard Grieg can be felt in almost all of his works. For his Norwegian Dances op. 35,Grieg took old folk tunes from a collection published by the musician and researcher Ludvig Mathias Lindeman and arranged them for piano four hands in 1880. Peer Gynt Suite no. 1 op. 46 Morning Mood op. 46,1
The Death of Ase op. 46,2
Anitra’s Dance op. 46,3
In the Hall of the Mountain King op. 46,4

There were moments of ravishing beauty as Grieg’s beautiful lyrical pieces unwound with such ease and natural charm.Solvejg’s song was allowed to pour from their sensitive fingers with a warmth that enveloped us all.Their encores of two Hungarian Dances by Brahms just underlined their elegance and style which had been the hallmark of such an enjoyable recital.

Il duo pianistico a 4 mani Gala Chistiakova e Diego Benocci si è formato nel 2014, quando i due pianisti si perfezionavano presso l’Accademia Pianistica Internazionale di Imola. 

Diego Benocci è nato a Grosseto, ha iniziato gli studi musicali presso l’Istituto Musicale della sua città con il M° Giuliano Schiano. Si è diplomato presso il Conservatorio “G. Frescobaldi” di Ferrara e ha concluso il corso di laurea presso il Conservatorio di Stato “L. Cherubini” di Firenze nella classe della Prof.ssa Maria Teresa Carunchio e l’Accademia Pianistica Internazionale “Incontri col Maestro” di Imola sotto la guida del M° Enrico Pace e del M° Igor Roma. Tiene regolarmente concerti in tutta Europa e in Asia come solista, musicista da camera e suona con orchestre in importanti festival. 

Gala Chistiakova è nata a Mosca in una famiglia di musicisti. Ha iniziato i suoi studi di pianoforte a 3 anni con sua madre Liubov Chistiakova. Dal 1993 al 2005 ha studiato alla Scuola Centrale del Conservatorio di Mosca intitolato a Pëtr Il’ič Čajkovskij con i professori Helena Khoven e Anatoly Ryabov. Nel 2014 Gala ha terminato il Conservatorio di Mosca e un corso post-laurea in una classe del professor Mikhail Voskresensky. Nel 2011 ha iniziato i suoi studi presso l’Accademia Pianistica Internazionale “Incontri col Maestro” (classe del Prof. Boris BorisPetrušanskij) in Italia. 

Vincitrice di oltre 30 concorsi internazionali, vive oggi con il marito Diego Benocci a Grosseto dove dirigono insieme il Festival Musicale Internazionale “Recondite Armonie” e il Progetto di Scambio Culturale “Giovani Musicisti del Mondo”. Nel 2022 sono stati nominati codirettori artistici e docenti del festival IMOC a Grosseto. Il duo ha un vasto repertorio e ha tenuto concerti in Russia, Italia, Francia, Portogallo, Germania, Regno Unito, per numerose stagioni musicali internazionali riscuotendo ovunque grande successo di pubblico e di critica. Nel 2021 in duo hanno vinto la borsa di studio all’Accademia Chigiana nella classe della prof.ssa Lilya Zilberstein. Hanno collaborato come duo con orchestre sinfoniche e da Camera e recentemente si sono esibiti al Conservatorio Čajkovskij di Mosca, alla Weston Recital Hall di Oxford, al Festival International de Musique de Chambre Est Ouest in Belgio, al Madeira Piano Festin Portogallo e in un concerto straordinario per G. Armani a Londra.

Il loro primo CD con musiche di Čajkovskij è stato pubblicato nel 2021 dall’etichetta italiana OnClassical e le loro registrazioni sono state trasmesse in più occasioni su Rai Radio 3. Di recente il duo è risultato vincitore del primo premio assoluto e del premio “Marche Musica” al XXXI Concorso Pianistico Internazionale “Roma”

In their festival in Grosseto ‘Recondite Armonie ‘ many young talents are generously given a platform

Michelle Candotti a Lioness let loose in Velletri ignites Liszt’s piano

Extraordinary opening concert in Velletri ’Suono di Liszt a Villa D’Este ‘ with Michelle Candotti and the Orchestra of CDM conducted by Federico Biscione.

The eleventh series of concerts all centred around a very special piano.An Erard of 1879 similar to the one that Liszt would have played in the Villa D’Este.

Infact a series of concerts initiated 11 years ago in 2011 for the bicentenary of the birth of Franz Liszt .
The series has now found a permanent home in the ex Convento del Carmine in Velletri.

Today a happy combination with an orchestra from the youthful formation in Tivoli directed by Federico Biscione joining Michelle Candotti in a performance of Chopin’s Concerto in E minor op 11.

An aristocratic performance of great weight and authority from this young pianist from the school of Dmitri Alexeev and Carlo Palese.
Living every moment of the concerto with intensity and extraordinary sensitivity she created a rapport immediately with her young companions .The cello in particular I had never been aware of this intimate relationship until today.
The sublime simplicity of the larghetto was something to cherish as was her intelligence in keeping the rhythm until the final bar a master stroke from a masterly musician.A rondo full of character and ‘joie de vivre’ with a command of the keyboard that was breathtaking .It was the real weight of her playing that was astonishing as she delved deep into the keys of a piano that had become her friend in the days she had been the guest of Ing.Tammaro and wife Celeste.Whose birthday was celebrated after today’s performance

It was a Chopin of great temperament and also sublime delicacy.Whether dramatic or lyrical.Poetic or passionate it was all played with aristocratic good taste and style.It was the weight that gives every note a meaning like the human voice.Digging deep into the notes extracting the velvet sounds that are the true voice of a piano destined for private salons for a select group of aristocrats and not the concert hall of today for a public of thousands.In this beautifully restored Casa della cultura e della Musica this piano was allowed to sing under Michelle’s very sensitive hands and the string orchestra of only eleven elements.It was the ideal group that just exulted the exquisite sounds in a performance of chamber music proportions that surely must have been how Chopin had intended it.

Michelle Candotti with Federico Biscione

Michelle and Federico Biscione were both aware of this and it gave them a freedom to shape and mould the magic streams of notes with ravishing results.I have never heard the Romanza played with such shimmering beauty or the belcanto of Chopin’s melodic outpouring so beautifully sustained.Playing of great passion too as her hands and whole body streamed up and down the keyboard with glittering displays of notes accompanying the orchestra and driving them on with Michelle’s same infectious sacred flame.A group of musicians created and trained with patience and remarkable musicianship by Federico Biscione who I had so admired last Christmas in Frascati.An orchestra giving these young musicians a passion and professional training and above all a love for music .They are from the CDM school based in Tivoli directed with dedication by Antonella Zampaglioni and Giancarlo Gregori

Antonella Zampaglioni of CDM di Tivoli who like Giancarlo Tamarro is a tireless promoter of young talent .Thanks to them and their colleagues the hills of Rome a truly ringing to the sound of music.

Getting to know this 1879 Erard which has been so lovingly restored by Giancarlo Tamarro and given pride of place in his home when it is not being used for public performances.A series of concerts run by the indomitable Tamarro gives a platform to so many talented young musicians for a series based on the original instrument of Villa D’Este.A series inaugurated to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Liszt’s birth.The original instrument which had been given to Liszt by the Casa Ducci in Florence had been completely lost until in 1991 when it was discovered in a Convent in Rome.It was completely restored and found a temporary home in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and is now in Vienna.Filippo Guglielmi who was a composition student of Liszt and visited him frequently on Liszt’s last visits to the Villa D’Este left this testimony :”one day in the music room Liszt awaited a brilliant young student who he thought very highly of ,Moritz Rosenthal.He was accompanied by his father of israelite Hungarian extraction and his eyes lit up when he saw the magnificent Erard that had been given to Liszt by Casa Ducci in florence”

After her astonishing performance of Chopin Michelle let rip with performances of the Liszt ‘Ernani’ paraphrase and the ‘Dante Sonata’.They were even more astonishing than her Chopin for her total self identification with the theatrical world that Liszt depicts so vividly in music.
She threw herself into this world with terrifying abandon but always with a total command and understanding of the story that Liszt depicts so vividly.
Sumptuous sounds and ravishing beauty went hand in hand with scintillating virtuosity and awesome octaves that could make this 1879 Erard roar as it surely has never done before.
A true lioness of the keyboard that with her sublime inspiration kept us all spellbound and on the edge of our seats with performances that will long be remembered.

A grandiose opening to the ‘Ernani’ paraphrase dissolved into magical flourishes as the heroic declamation of the theme in octaves took centre stage.There was sumptuous sound too as the tenor melody was accompanied by arabesques over the entire keyboard .Both Liszt and Thalberg were accused of having three hands such was the magic effect they could create and which Michelle today played with supreme mastery and passionate participation.There were scintillating birdlike cadenza’s of great delicacy but above all there was a grandiloquence and aristocratic control allied to an astonishing technical command that seemed to know no limit.Michelle had created on this Erard a past world where the greatest composer pianists were above all magicians who could create the illusion of a full orchestra from a box of strings and hammers.But it was above all the pedals that as Liszt’s illustrious student Anton Rubinstein said are ‘the soul of the piano.’Today Michelle revealed her soul as she uncovered the secrets that have been hidden away for too long in this antique instrument.

I can do no better that quote Leslie Howard the undisputed authority on Liszt who had chosen this as a set work for the Liszt Competition in Utrecht of which he is president.It is where Michelle was noted and much admired in 2016.”The standard Ernani paraphrase was issued with the paraphrases on Il trovatore and Rigoletto. It was based, in part, on an earlier, unpublished work, which is performed here: the later paraphrase confines itself to the finale of Act III – the King of Spain’s aria and chorus at Charlemagne’s tomb – and is an elaboration, transposed from A flat minor to F minor, of the second part of the earlier work (Verdi’s key is F minor). In the earlier piece the A flat minor section is preceded by an exceedingly florid transcription in E flat major (Verdi’s key) of a chorus from the finale of Act I: Elvira’s would-be lover is revealed to be Don Carlo, the King.”Leslie Howard will perform in this series with Ludovico Troncanetti on the 14th May.

Michelle’s performance of the ‘Dante’ Sonata where she immediately set the scene from the very first opening flourishes played with total conviction with a reenactment of the scene that was about to unfold.There was a demonic look in her eyes as she attacked the piano with fearless conviction and towering virtuosity.There was radiant beauty and the serene benediction of the central episode played with whispered delicacy and luminosity as the delicate web of sounds unfolded to ignite the piano with Recitativi of overpowering conviction.The final treacherous leaps passed unnoticed such was her musical involvement where technical difficulty just was not an option.But above all it was the silences that were even more menacing than the streams of notes that poured from her infallible fingers.These were fingers at the service of a heart that could beat with overpowering conviction and communication.

Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata also known as the Dante Sonata) is a sonata in one movement completed in 1849 and first published in 1856 as part of the second volume of Liszt’s of Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage).It was inspired by the reading of Victor Hugo’s poem “Après un lecture du Dante” (1836)

Unbelievably this seeming waif of a young lady could still offer Chopin’s Octave Study op 25 n.10 as an encore.Played with astonishing power and dynamism but also with the central episode unfolded so naturally with real legato as it was an integral part of an overall architectural whole.A musician at the service of music that she enacted with towering virtuosity and dynamism.
Celebrations of a birthday and opening concert of a season that will finish in June

‘Ballando con le Stelle’ ‘Marcella Crudeli ed Emanuele Savron could have danced all night!’for Roma 3 Orchestra Concert Season

Marcella Crudeli a force of nature who could quite happily have gone on playing all night.
Twenty one Hungarian dances rapidly, by public insistence,became twenty four!
Her young student Emanuele Savron,whom she shares with Leonid Margarius, looked exhausted as Marcella at least three times his anagrafical age looked ever more radiant.

Performances of great style and with Marcella’s infectious energy and ‘joie de vivre’ igniting the same fire and passionate involvement in her young companion joining in the obvious fun and enjoyment she was transmitting to us all.
But there was more than just that.From the passion and colours in the Isteni Czardas to the fun Marcella was already having with the syncopations of the Emma Csardas and the deliciously capricious Tolnai kakadalmas.The passionate outpouring from Emanuele in the Kalocsay-Emlek with the shimmering echo from Marcella before springing vividly into life again.The great elan and energy that Marcella injected into the Bártfai-Emlek was followed by the smalzy insinuations of Rozas Bogor bursting into continuous accentuated interjections of dynamic force and energy.There was the beguiling melody played with sumptuous rubato of the Volkslied and the great melodic fluidity of the Luisa Czardas.There was the deeply felt lament of nostalgia of the Poco andante n. 11 and the beautiful tenor melody from Emanuele’s hands in the Allegretto grazioso.The languid melodic line of the Andantino n.17 and to end with,the dynamic energy of the Vivace n.21.

Around the world of sentiments in only 21 days with these golden gems of Johannes Brahms.With the four hands of two artists that listen to each other with a sensitivity and sense of balance that they truly played as one!No greater compliment is possible for a duo pianistico on one piano where a sense of balance and use of the pedals is absolutely fundamental in creating a single whole satisfying performance!

Great artistry and an unerring sense of style with Marcella at the helm and Emanuele listening carefully as he regulated the balance between them to perfection.

Taking over the reigns from Marcella in a give and take that kept their audience enraptured by the rapport created together.
Different generations but united as one in their musical voyage of discovery together.

The Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms WoO1are a set of 21 lively dance tunes based mostly on Hungarian themes, completed in 1879.They vary from about a minute to five minutes in length.Brahms originally wrote the version for piano four hands (piano duet: two players using one piano) and later arranged the first ten dances for solo piano.In 1850 Brahms met the Hungarian violinist Ede Reményi and accompanied him in a number of recitals over the next few years. This was his introduction to “gypsy-style” music such as the csardas which was later to prove the foundation of his most lucrative and popular compositions, the two sets of Hungarian Dances (published 1869 and 1880).

Only numbers 11, 14 and 16 are entirely original compositions.The better-known Hungarian Dances include Nos. 1 and 5, the latter of which was based on the csardas “Bártfai emlék” (Memories of Bártfa) by Hungarian composer Bela Kéler,which Brahms mistakenly thought was a traditional folksong.A footnote on the Ludwig-Masters edition of a modern orchestration of Hungarian Dance No.1 states: “The material for this dance is believed to have come from the Divine Csárdás (ca. 1850) of Hungarian composer and conductor Miska Borzó.”

Giovedì 23 febbraio ore 20 Accademia Danimarca
La Musica è una cosa meravigliosa: Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms: Ventuno Danze ungheresi per pianoforte a quattro mani WoO 1
Marcella Crudeli – Emanuele Savron, pianoforte.

In questo appuntamento la celebre pianista Marcella Crudeli si presenta al nostro pubblico come interprete affiancata da uno dei suoi più talentuosi giovani allievi, Emanuele Savron.

Entrambi gli artisti della serata sono precedentemente apparsi in più occasioni nelle nostre programmazioni: Marcella Crudeli è l’anima del Concorso Chopin Roma ed Emanuele Savron è partecipante alla Young Artist Piano Solo Series tra i più apprezzati (finalista nell’edizione 2021-2022).

‘E’ stato un grande successo ieri sera il concerto all’Auditorium dell’Accademia di Danimarca a Roma per conto della Roma Tre Orchestra.
I protagonisti della serata sono stati Marcella Crudeli con il suo giovane e talentuoso allievo Emanuele Savron. Il programma era difficile ma nello stesso tempo accattivante per le musiche eseguite: l’integrale delle 21 Danze Ungheresi di J. Brahms a quattro mani.
L’esecuzione ha riscosso tantissimo successo con ovazioni e richieste di bis alla fine del concerto. L’interpretazione era focalizzata sulla dinamicità, sulla timbrica, e soprattutto sull’entusiasmo dei pianisti che hanno coinvolto tutti i presenti.
Sono intervenuti tanti amici, personalità anche del mondo dello spettacolo, che hanno tributato agli interpreti vivo apprezzamento per la validità dell’esecuzione e la gioia che hanno trasmesso al pubblico soprattutto in un momento così difficile per la cultura.’Marcella Crudeli

‘Questa foto rimarrà nella storia.
Marcella Crudeli, allieva di Alfred Cortot, dopo 2000 concerti in 80 paesi decide all’età di 82 anni di formare un duo con me.
Sono orgoglioso di questo e mi sento fortunato.
Grazie Maestro! ‘ Emanuele Savron

Marcella with President of Roma 3 Orchestra Prof Roberto Pujia
Valerio Vicari Artistic Director of Roma 3 Orchestra looking on from on high
Emanuele Savron
Marcella Crudeli.
Proud father Savron
With Prof Ricci of Tuscia University Concert Season
The distinguished audience gathered to applaud the indomitable Marcella Crudeli with her star student Emanuele Savron
Marcella and I photographed together with friends .
The Danish Academy opposite the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Valle Giulia Villa Borghese

Alberto Portugheis – A Renaissance man goes POSK to celebrate the 213th Birthday of Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin

A programme of some of Chopin’s greatest works

What a surprise but then with Alberto life is always such a voyage of discovery.A true Renaissance man of many parts.In the kitchen or at the piano or sending messages to the leaders of the world to stop creating wars to fill their own pockets!Eight years ago Alberto invited me to be part of his 75th birthday celebrations with his schoolchild friend Martha Argerich.A Wigmore Hall packed to the rafters for an unforgettable occasion.Now eight years on I receive an invitation to Chopin’s 213th birthday celebrations!A concert including some of the major works of Chopin but also a chance to enjoy an after concert dinner of Polish Cuisine.Alberto apart from being the pianist that we know and have loved for a lifetime he is also a ‘cordon bleu ‘ chef having shared in the running of a restaurant with his lifetime friend Martha Argerich.The restaurant was called ‘Rhapsody’ at the end of Alberto’s road at the crossroads of Holland Park,West Kensington and ……………Shepherds Bush!I remember Shura Cherkassky telling me all about it.Shura had asked me when we first met if we had any mutual acquaintances in common.Alberto was one of them.Shura was not convinced and thought I was just making polite conversation until I pulled out of my pocket a card that had recently been given to me by a pianist who had played too in our season in Rome.ALBERTO PORTUGHEIS chef ……….the ice was broken and Shura and I became great friends for the next ten years!

What a discovery of an oasis of peace and culture amidst the surrounding ever changing confusion that surrounds it .

Now an invitation to POSK Polish centre in Hammersmith.Opposite Latimer Upper School where Walter Legge and my brother had been students.

In the centre Ileana at our wedding in Kew in 1984 with the Sidney Harrisons top photo with Jack Rothstein and bottom with neighbour Ruth Eedy

Sidney Harrison,my first teacher and a father figure for me,Norma Fisher and many others had also been to school at Latimer Upper.He was a television personality and lived in a big river fronted house in Chiswick.His next door neighbour was Eamon Andrews of ‘Crackerjack’ and ‘This is your Life’fame!It was Sidney together with Ingrid Bergman that were invited to open this Polish Centre in the late sixties when I was still a schoolboy,having been taken under the wing of the Sidney’s .I had never been inside ,though,until I received this invitation from Alberto.A magnificent theatre,Polish restaurant,library and a real oasis that had been staring me in the face for the past fifty years until I received Alberto’s invitation.

A theatre full to the rafters for the Polish National hero’s birthday celebrations

And at 82 the indomitable ever generous Alberto had prepared a programme that could well have been fit for a Prince – that of Artur Rubinstein whose much awaited yearly visits to London in June were always an eagerly awaited feast.Joan Chissell a critic who was also a poet could illustrate and illuminate a performance in two well chosen words.’Mr Rubinstein,the Prince of Pianists,turned baubles into gems’ described the exquisite performance of his friend Villa Lobos’s ‘O Prol do Bebe’ suite.It was interesting to note that Alberto had chosen to include the much debated repeat in the first movement of the B flat minor Sonata.I had asked him about it and enquired which edition he uses.He told me he had recently added the Ekier National edition to his library and when asked about the hotly debated repeat simply said it depends how I have played before and what I want to do after!Martha Argerich replied similarly to Temirkanov when he asked her what she did in a certain passage…..’you choose’ ,she replied with an innocent smile!

Well today Alberto was obviously in pensive mood because he included the ‘Ekier’edition repeat of the first introductory bars .Instead of playing them Maestoso he played them piano and misterioso as Gadjiev had done in the Chopin competition a year ago.Then it makes musical sense and of course how could it be otherwise with such master musicians at the helm.I have often been astonished at Alberto’s total fidelity to the composers wishes when I have brought some students to his house for dinner and discussions around music.Like Menahem Pressler he can point out details in the score that can in the heat of youthful performance be overlooked or at least not sufficiently understood.Giovanni Bertolazzi a recent top prize winner in Budapest was invited to Alberto’s home to play his prize winning performance of Liszt before tasting Alberto’s sumptuous cuisine and he was surprised to be stopped after just one page of the Liszt B minor Sonata!

Nicola Losito,Gabriele Sutkute (recent winner of the Chappell Gold Medal)and Can Arisoy have all benefitted from Alberto’s discerning musicianship and the luckiest his cooking too – ‘che non guasta’ as they say!

Today’s Chopin celebration was a recital where Alberto’s love and passion for works he has lived with for a lifetime shone through all he did.There was a weight and timeless quality where every note was pregnant with meaning.Nothing was thrown away,even the quixotic runs in Chopin’s much loved waltz in C sharp minor op 64 played as an encore.It followed a military invasion from the symbolic Héroique Polonaise in which Chopin’s troups were kept under the strict surveillance of Alberto’s lifetime experience of dealing with military coups!The Mazurkas op 24 were indeed ‘canons covered in flowers’ and were played with great personal involvement and fervent conviction.These little gems would certainly benefit from Joan Chissell’s poetic turns of phrase.A fourth Ballade that together with the Liszt Sonata and Schumann Fantasie are the pinnacles of the Romantic piano repertoire.Can it just be coincidence that they are all dedicated to each other?It takes one to appreciate one we used to say as children!

Is it not the innocence of children that inspired Schnabel to describe the performance of Mozart as too difficult for adults but too easy for children!Let us not forget too the monumental opening performance in Alberto’s recital of the Fantasie op 49.A lifetime’s experience guided his hands that despite his 82 years never wavered in front of Chopin’s driving rhythms or leaping octave declamations.Two Nocturnes op 15 including the much loved F sharp major and the ‘sturm und drang’ of its sister in F major were played with such overpowering conviction .An ovation for Chopin or Alberto or both!A lesson in humility and love that they both share so generously with the world.Love after all is eternal and long may it stay that way!

It was nice to see Deniz Gelenbe in the Green room afterwards to greet her colleague and friend after her triumphant concert a few days earlier for the Chopin Society in London.

An unexpected admirer from Wales where Alberto gave many educational recitals with the late Gwyneth George.Clutching a photo of an even more youthful looking Alberto than today and wanting to thank him for inspiring her and her school friends to love and cherish music which has guided them through life ever since.

This lovely lady told us it was in Nice but on further assistance to incredulous elderly friends hard of hearing ,it turned out to be Neath!

Alberto refreshed and stimulated by his outing with Chopin was ready to taste the Polish Cuisine on offer with friends and admirers.I was sorry to leave but an early flight back home to Rome awaited,to applaud a colleague of Alberto’s from the same class of ‘41.A concert of the 21 Hungarian dances by Brahms for four hands with her young protégée ,Emanuele Savron,of sixty years younger!

It is with Bobby Chen that Alberto too will play four hands .

Marcella Crudeli is like Alberto very much involved with the organisation of EPTA – the European Piano Teachers Association founded by the indomitable Carola Grindea.Sidney Harrison was the first President ……..small world !Links.chains,circles and music makes the world go around.And if music be the food of love …….please please play on …………..and turn up the volume

Beautiful Polish restaurant POSK Cultural Centre
Hidden away …from me at least opposite Latimer Upper School whose playground behind was so cruelly divided in two by the M 4!
Alberto enjoying a break from a pre concert rehearsal.The elegance of Peter Katin and the same love for Chopin

Patrick Hemmerlé at St Mary’s The Mastery and Mistery of a fervent believer

Tuesday 21 February 3.00 pm 

Masterly performances of a fervent believer.
B minor obviously has a great significance for a true believer.
The most profound work of all time is surely the Bach Mass in B minor a true declamation of faith.
And so it was today that Patrick Hemmerlé chose a programme where every work was in B minor even the final encore with the Prelude in B minor by Bach/Siloti.
The Bach Prelude and Fugue in B minor Book 1 with it’s prophetic twelve tone yearning fugue subject after the religious procession of the prelude.The deep insistent yearning also of the appoggiaturas in Cesar Franck with its final declaration of glory and exultation.
The Liszt Sonata restored to its greatness by a true musician where the opening themes on the first page were leading to the fervent explosion on the second.Such aristocratic grandeur of timeless wonder in the passionate climaxes with the remarkable left hand marcato that led us into the Andante sostenuto and so to the heart of the sonata that is the Adagio.
It was all played with such inevitable logic, links in a chain and of course it is this that links too the Franck with the Liszt.
Not only the transformation of themes within a formula but the passion not of ‘gigoloistic’ virtuosity but of deep profound sentiment.
Remarkable performances that I knew from Patrick would never be less than musicianly but today there was an overwhelming authority and conviction that should be an example to all those that dare open the first page of this pinnacle of the romantic piano repertoire.

The Prelude is a model trio sonata. Above a calmly progressing bass, two upper parts blend together intimately. Five bars before the end comes the surprise of a ‘Trugschluss’, an almost-but-not-quite ending. And because this has already misled us, Bach then lets the bass usher in the real final chord half a bar ‘too early’.
The fugue, which is the longest one in the whole Well – Tempered Clavier is remarkably austere in construction. The theme, on the other hand, uses all the tones of the octave with the music is moving, but not without effort, as there are only a few interludes to break the chromaticism that is hard to understand. Bach biographer Spitta wrote that this stirring music “made the expression of pain almost unbearable”. And indeed, even though Bach did not really have a choice, the key of B minor did stand for melancholy in the Baroque.
As Patrick said in his introduction all the works on his programme are in B minor as they follow the path from suffering to redemption.
And it was this first work that was a holy procession played with absolute clarity and subtle pointing of the counterpoints with the deep bass notes that appear on the horizon leading us to the final magical major chord.
The four voice fugue was strangely detached and I felt it surely should be more legato with its yearning leaning appoggiaturas?It is the longest fugue of the ‘forty eight’ however,and it was played with serene authority of architectural shape with the deep bass entry of the subject of great poignancy.A stately procession played with respect and religious fervour.
Prélude, Choral et Fugue, FWV 21 was written in 1884 by César Franck with his distinctive use of cyclic form.Franck had huge hands ,wide like the span of emotions he conveys,capable of spanning the interval of a 12th on the keyboard.This allowed him unusual flexibility in voice-leading between internal parts in fugal composition, and in the wide chords and stretches featured in much of his keyboard music.Of the famous Violin Sonata’s writing it has been said: “Franck, blissfully apt to forget that not every musician’s hands were as enormous as his own, littered the piano part (the last movement in particular) with major-tenth chords… most pianistic mortals ever since have been obliged to spread them in order to play them at all.”The key to his music may be found in his personality. His friends record that he was “a man of utmost humility, simplicity, reverence and industry.” Louis Vierne a pupil and later organist titulaire of Notre-Dame, wrote in his memoirs that Franck showed a “constant concern for the dignity of his art, for the nobility of his mission, and for the fervent sincerity of his sermon in sound… Joyous or melancholy, solemn or mystic, powerful or ethereal: Franck was all those at Sainte-Clotilde.”In his search to master new organ-playing techniques he was both challenged and stimulated by his third and last change in organ posts. On 22 January 1858, he became organist and maître de chapelle at the newly consecrated Sainte Clotilde (from 1896 the Basilique-Sainte-Clotilde), where he remained until his death. Eleven months later, the parish installed a new three-manual Cavaillé-Coll instrument,whereupon he was made titulaire.The impact of this organ on Franck’s performance and composition cannot be overestimated; together with his early pianistic experience it shaped his music-making for the remainder of his life.
Patrick’s performance was created from the bass upwards which gave a very solid anchor to Franck’s etherial opening.There was beauty in the tenor doubling of the melodic line which gave great depth to the overall structure and created a velvet beauty of sumptuous sound.
The ‘religious’ silences were golden indeed and were just as expressive as the actual notes that surrounded them.There was a brooding build up of ever fuller sounds and a leaning on the appoggiaturas that gave poetic meaning to the yearning for religious faith.There were the deep meditative sounds of the chorale always from the bass upwards and even the stately interludes between the arpeggiated chorale were played with a deep significance where they are so often thrown off lightly,instead here was an organ like fervently rich melodic line.The absolute clarity of the fugue where the appogiaturas again took on a religious significance of yearning and there was magic in the air as the opening theme returned on a sumptuous carpet of etherial sounds.The gradual build up of sonority showed masterly control arriving at the glory and passion of a true believer.
The triumphant ending was a glorious outpouring or release of tension as the music reached for the visionary heights.
The Liszt Sonata was dedicated to Schumann,in return for Schumann’s dedication of his fantasie op 17 (published 1839) to Liszt.A copy of the work arrived at Schumann’s house in May 1854, after he had entered Endenich sanatorium.Clara Schumann never performed the Sonata despite her marriage to Robert Schumann; she is reported to have found it “merely a blind noise”The Sonata was published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1854 and first performed on 27 January 1857 in Berlin by Hans von Bulow.It was attacked by a critic who said “anyone who has heard it and finds it beautiful is beyond help”.Brahms reputedly fell asleep when Liszt performed the work in 1853.However, it drew enthusiasm from Wagner following a private performance of the piece by karl Klindworth on April 5, 1855.Otto Gumprecht of the German newspaper Nationalzeitung referred to it as “an invitation to hissing and stomping”.It took a long time for the Sonata to become commonplace in concert repertoire, because of its technical difficulty and negative initial reception due to its status as “new” music.The quiet ending of the Sonata was an afterthought; the original manuscript contains a crossed-out ending section which would have ended the work in a loud flourish instead.
The opening page of this Sonata is a true test of musicianship over showmanship but it is the rock on which Liszt builds this masterpiece that was to have such an impact on his father in law.Patrick had complete control where every note had a significance even in the most virtuosistic passages.His sense of weight and legato allied to an impeccable sense of balance made the overall musical line so clear.Even at the height of the most passionate outpourings as in the final great climax there was a sense of line,architectural shape and aristocratic grandeur that was remarkable and brought to mind the monumental performances of Claudio Arrau.
The original triumphant ending later changed with a stroke of genius for the final remarkable pages and visionary ending

Acclaimed for the originality of his concert programmes and the depth of his interpretations, Patrick Hemmerlé is a French pianist living in England. He can often be heard performing such works as the 24 Chopin Etudes, the 48 Bach Prelude and Fugues, or lesser-known composers. Recent engagements have taken him to New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and Prague, as well as many festivals and music society in England. Patrick has published 3 CDs, which have been well received by the international press. His latest recording project, to be issued in 2020 is a pairing of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier and Fischer’s Ariadne Musica. He is in demand as a lecturer. He has given talks for the Cambridge University, as well as a cycle of concert-lectures on French music, presenting composers little known to the general public,. This led to the recordings of the piano music of Jean Roger-Ducasse and Maurice Emmanuel. Patrick is laureate of the international competition of Valencia, Toledo, Epinal, Grossetto, and more recently the CFRPM, in Paris, where his interpretation of Villa-Lobos’s Rudepoema, raised a great deal of interest. He was trained in Paris at the Conservatoire (CNR), under the tuition of Billy Eidi.

The Arman Trio at the Chopin Society Sublime music making of weight and intimacy to ravish the soul

Deniz covered in flowers – gifts from ever grateful students

What a refreshing change to hear three musicians sharing their music together creating an intimate atmosphere where the music was allowed to speak so naturally and without any showmanship or rhetoric.It was Maude Tortelier who asked me one day if I knew what she meant when she spoke of ‘weight’.It is leaning into the very heart of a note like a limpet clutching a rock and it is in that weight that music can grow with an infinite variety of sounds without fear of explosive percussiveness.On the cello of course Paul Tortelier and above all his master Pablo Casals would dig deep into the note with the weight of the bow on the strings and the left hand never leaving the string – like an organist who has to find a way of never allowing the air to escape between the mechanically produced notes.Today we were privileged to have a violinist and cellist who have just such weight and could delve deep into the notes with a mastery that would allow their playing to follow their ears.Musicians listening so attentively to each other in a real musical conversation.Not a shouting match but as Menuhin described it:’mutual anticipation!’ (not quite in that context which was referring to English gentlemanly habits as opposed to Latin ‘mutual provocation’ but it applies the same).The wonderful ‘cello of Dorel Fodoreanu and the feeling we could trust his great musicianship to combine so unselfishly with the velvet beauty of the violin of Constantin Bogdanas of the ‘old’ school of Sandor Vegh or indeed Enescu himself! Two musicians who have been playing together for a lifetime with the magical link in the chain being Deniz Arman Gelenbe.The ravishing beauty of her playing and the sensitivity of her ears is a rare marvel indeed.To see the ‘arch’ of her small hand moving horizontally over the keys reminded me of Alicia de Larrocha who like Deniz was incapable of making harsh ungrateful sounds.Loud,passionate sounds of course but never percussive.Streams of sound that just seemed to pour from her fingers were like washes of colour that were enveloped into the sumptuous string sounds of her companions of forty years.Such glowing fluidity and beauty in the Beethoven Trio was followed by the nebulous washes of sound in late Fauré.A trio where the composer like Busoni was leaving his earlier mellifluous sounds for a secret world of nebulous atmospheres that no longer had sharp well defined edges.And the gaiety and light they brought to Dvorak’Dumky’ as they let their hair down and shared their delight in teasingly traditional nationalistic melodies.The most moving and finely spun performance,though,was kept to the very end with a short piece by Piazzola full of insinuating suggestive sounds and ravishing colours.

An afternoon of being allowed to share in intimate performances of ‘Hausmusik’ ( I wonder if google has ever heard of that!) where we,the audience,were drawn in to the music which we listened to in a hushed silence that belied the actual numbers that were privileged to be present.

Deniz Arman Gelenbe receiving an ovation after her exquisite performance of three Chopin Mazurkas – ‘canons covered in flowers’ to quote Schumann.
And flowers there certainly were from her numerous adoring students present to listen and learn from such a modest master.
An ovation from the Chopin Society audience who have already requested a return appearance of chamber music.Unfortunately the Chopin early Trio op 8 is not amongst his masterpieces but I am sure Lady Rose Cholmondeley will insist it gets a fair hearing in these hallowed surrounds.
A packed house at the Chopin Society in the Westminster Cathedral Hall
Beethoven’s op 1 is a set of three piano trios first performed in 1795 in the house of Prince Lichnowsky , to whom they are dedicated.The trios were published in 1795.
Despite the Op. 1 designation, these trios were not Beethoven’s first published compositions;this distinction belongs rather to his Dressler Variations for keyboard (WoO 63). Clearly he recognized the Op. 1 compositions as the earliest ones he had produced that were substantial enough (and marketable enough) to fill out a first major publication to introduce his style of writing to the musical public .Unlike the other piano trios in this opus, the third trio does not have a scherzo as its third movement but a minuet instead.
and was later reworked by Beethoven into the C minor string quartet op.104.The third Piano Trio in C minor, Op 1 No 3, is a work of startling explosive vehemence and dark lyric beauty. Haydn, recently returned from London, was among Prince Lichnowsky’s guests; and was full of praise for numbers 1 and 2 but taken aback by the C minor, Beethoven’s favourite.
Whatever Haydn’s misgivings, Beethoven’s earliest masterpiece in his most characteristic key gradually became one of his most popular chamber works. The mysterious, ‘pregnant’ unison opening is, coincidentally or not, reminiscent of Mozart’s piano concerto in the same key, K491 (still unpublished in 1795). But the music is profoundly Beethovenian in its abrupt, extreme contrasts, with violent rhetoric (the first page alone is peppered with sforzando accents) alternating with intense pathos and yearning lyricism. The famous heroic narratives of Beethoven’s ‘middle period’ are already in view.
Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Trio in D minor, op 120 is one of the composer’s late chamber works. The first public performance was given in May 1923 for the Société National de Musique in honour of the composer’s 78th birthday.The following month it was performed by the celebrated trio of Alfred Cortot ,Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals ,it is dedicated to Mme Maurice Rouvier,widow of the former prime minister.
Fauré had retired as director of the Paris Conservatoire in 1920 and in April he began work, at first in Paris, and later when staying with friends in the south of France.Work was temporarily halted by an attack of pneumonia after which Fauré went to his favourite resort,resuming work on the piece.
Fauré wrote to his wife, who remained in Paris, “The trouble is that I cannot work for long at a time. My worst tribulation is a perpetual fatigue.”
After returning to Paris Fauré completed the trio in mid-February 1923. And the premiere was given on 12 May by three young graduates of the Conservatoire: Fauré was ill, and could not attend.
Durand published the work the same year.The Parisian newspaper Comoedia commented enthusiastically after the first performance, greeting “a beautiful work that enriches the chamber music repertory”. The reviewer praised “the elegant clarity, the equilibrium of thought and the serenity” of Fauré’s recent compositions, and commented on the composer’s success in playing the most disparate musical ideas off against each other.
Fauré was actually present at the performance the following year, given by the Cortot- Thibaud-Casals Trio.
The Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor op 90 B 166 -Dumky trio is among Dvorak’s best-known works.He completed the trio on 12 February 1891 and it was premiered in Prague on 11 April 1891, with Dvořák himself on piano.The same evening,it was so well received that Dvořák performed it on his forty-concert farewell tour throughout Moravia and Bohemia, just before he left for the United States to head the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. The trio was published while Dvořák was in America and was proofread by his friend Johannes Brahms.
The form of the piece is structurally simple but emotionally complicated, being an uninhibited Bohemian lament. Considered essentially formless, at least by classical standards, it is more like a six movement dark fantasia—completely original and successful, a benchmark piece for the composer. Being completely free of the rigours of sonata form gave Dvořák license to take the movements to some dizzying, heavy, places, able to be both brooding and yet somehow, through it all, a little lighthearted.
Much loved teacher of so many illustrious students at Trinity Laban Conservatory where she was head of keyboard studies for many years
Here is one of them in a recent performance with Deniz present ,third from the right
Deniz’s students with the distinguished guest Prince Dr Donatus von Hohenzollern
Here is another of Deniz’s students in performance in Florence – second from right:

Six years ago I wrote about Deniz’s concert in her ‘All about Mozart series’ at St John’s Smith Square

Deniz an ex student of Gyorgy Sandor a great friend who used to play and give masterclasses regularly for us in Rome
Gyorgy Sandor with my wife Ileana Ghione after one of his many appearances in the Ghione theatre in Rome
Yisha Xue of the National Liberal Club with me and Simone Tavoni
Liza Peacock the distinguished concert manager
Deniz being covered in flowers
Flowers appearing unexpectedly from all directions
The triumph of the Trio

Carnaval Jest in Twickenham-A sumptuous feast of music – Mozart and Fauré Quartets Akiko Ono-Anna Dunne Sequi- Nina Kiva-Damir Durmanovic

St Mary’s Church Twickenham an oasis of music making of the highest order as serious Carnaval celebrations continued all around

An evening of Piano Quartets by Mozart and Fauré was indeed an evening to cherish .
A lesson of music shared with joy and dedication by four musicians whose enjoyment of playing together was evident from the freshness and spirit of spontaneous recreation they brought to the Mozart G minor and Fauré C minor Quartets.

Damir Durmanovic -Akiko Ono -Nina Kiva -Ana Dunne Sequi

Moving together with mellifluous sounds as they rode together on a great wave of musical discovery.

Damir Durmanovic

A pianist who hardly glanced at the score as it was so much part of his being.
Embellishing Mozart’s score as the composer himself would have done waiting for his colleagues to out do his spontaneous invention.

Fauré in 1875
Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1, in C minor op.15, is one of the two chamber works he wrote for the conventional the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello. In four movements :Allegro molto moderato,scherzo:Allegro vivo,Adagio,Allegro molto
In 1877, after wooing her for five years, Fauré had finally become engaged to Marianne Viardot, daughter of the well-known singer Pauline Viardot.The engagement lasted for less than four months, and Marianne broke it off, to Fauré’s considerable distress. It was in the later stages of their relationship that he began work on the quartet, in the summer of 1876.He completed it in 1879, and revised it in 1883, completely rewriting the finale. The first performance of the original version was given on 14 February 1880. In a study dated 2008, Kathryn Koscho notes that the original finale has not survived, and is believed to have been destroyed by Fauré in his last days.

The string trio of course were more at home in Fauré where they played with much less respect as they allowed their natural musicality unrestrained freedom.
A sumptuous performance of a fluidity and passion that swept all before it .

The pianist though had also unlocked the secret of Mozart as he dabbled so intelligently in the historic performance practices of the day.
His string companions,though,were too respectful of the written notes rather than the hidden meaning behind them.

Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor K.478, is considered to be the first major piece composed for piano quartet.
In three movements -Allegro- Andante- Rondo
Mozart received a commission for three quartets in 1785 from the publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister who thought this quartet was too difficult and that the public would not buy it, so he released Mozart from the obligation of completing the set. (Nine months later, Mozart composed a second quartet anyway, in E flat K. 493).
Hoffmeister’s fear that the work was too difficult for amateurs was borne out by an article in the Journal des Luxus und der Moden published in Weimar in June 1788. The article highly praised Mozart and his work, but expressed dismay over attempts by amateurs to perform it:
‘it could not please: everybody yawned with boredom over the incomprehensible tintamarre of 4 instruments which did not keep together for four bars on end, and whose senseless concentusnever allowed any unity of feeling; but it had to please, it had to be praised! … what a difference when this much-advertised work of art is performed with the highest degree of accuracy by four skilled musicians who have studied it carefully.Although the piece was originally published with the title “Quatuor pour le Clavecin ou Forte Piano, Violon, Tallie [sic] et Basse,” stylistic evidence suggests Mozart intended the piano part for “the ‘Viennese’ fortepiano of the period”.

A fascinating evening of rare music making by Akiko Ono,Ana Dunne Sequi,Nina Kiva and Damir Durmanovic.
And all around this beautiful oasis of St Mary’s Twickenham the bistros and pubs in the charming Church Street intent on letting their hair down in these final few days of Carnaval .

The Kew Academy supporting their courageous colleague Hariet Wu,Damir Durmanovic,Matthew McLachlan (page turner)José Navarro,Petar Dimov

A concert that had been pieced together in four days due to the indisposition of the original pianist.
But as Akiko said they had spent together two days full of fun,laughter and hard work.The result of their party together were two performances among friends sharing their superb music making with an audience who had decided that food for the soul was the way to celebrate this last weekend before spending forty days in the desert!

Mardi Gras refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is known as Shrove Tuesday.Day before Ash Wednesday 47 days before Easter Celebration period before fasting season of Lent Mardi Gras—also known as Shrove Tuesday—is Tuesday, February 21, 2023! From its origins as a spring fertility rite to the masked balls of medieval Italy to today’s Carnival festivities.