Ruben Micieli triumphs in London for the Keyboard Trust at Steinway Hall

A standing ovation for Ruben Micieli after his scintillating performance of Fazil Say’s fantasmagoric manipulation of Mozart’s Turkish March!
Chopin Mazukas op 24,the second Ballade and Polonaise Heroique opened his recital before Ruben lifted the lid to his discovery of opera paraphrases and fantasies by long forgotten virtuosi of the 1800’s.
Immersed in a style from another age this young Sicilian musician,disciple of the much missed Aquiles delle Vigne, gave scintillating not to say titivating accounts of ’songs from the shows’ Thalberg style.

Founders of the Keyboard Trust still following the great young talents that they offer a step in the ladder to a career in music .John Leech who celebrates his 98th birthday tomorrow and is looking forward to his letter from King Charles 111 in two years time!

As a child near Catania and an aspiring young pianist he was shown the scores of Ignace Leybach by an elderly ex pupil of this long forgotten virtuoso.
She bequeathed her entire library to Ruben entrusting him with her invaluable archive.
It was in Catania the birthplace of Bellini whose bel canto was to be such an influence on music of the nineteenth century.
Chopin and Field above all brought it to the piano with refined aristocratic elegance.
Liszt and Thalberg used the famous opera melodies for an intricate web of virtuosity where they gave the illusion of having many more hands than just the two that God gave them.
The Norma fantasy by Liszt has become a standard piano showpiece often played by great virtuosi of our day such as Hammelin and Arrau.
Mark Viner another Keyboard Trust alumni has made a special study of this legendary period seeking out and recording the works of Alkan,Thalberg,Liszt and many other pioneers of a past age.
The golden age of piano playing when pianists were feted like pop stars by the aristocratic salons of the time.Refined gentry were turned into a hysterical mob seeking out souvenirs of their idols to take home perchance to dream.

Sir Geoffrey Nice a long time trustee of the KT taking time off from negotiating peace in the world,introducing his grandson Leo to the much more beautiful world of music

Ruben had gone a step further after this childhood discovery and now has been commissioned by Naxos recording company to seek out further gems in the archives of the musty libraries and institutions where these scores have lain undisturbed for centuries.
Ruben has a virtuoso technique acquired from the Russian school of his first Serbian teacher in Catania.
Much more importantly he has a sense of style and colour,nurtured by Jasinski and Delle Vigne,that brings these works vividly to life with the same love and sense of showmanship for which they were born.
There was a crescendo of cheers and applause as Ruben unraveled this magic in transcriptions of Gluck,Mozart,Verdi and Bellini that cast the same spell on today’s audience as they had obviously done at their birth.
It was interesting to note that Leybach’s Norma fantasie uses many of the arias that Liszt chooses to ignore.Of course it is a sign of the genius of Liszt who knew how to transform and even improve on Bellini’s order.Leybach is a good workmanlike fantasy,black and white as compared to Liszt’s multicoloured score.

Ruben in discussion with Alberto Portugheis a true renaissance man

It was strange to hear Raff’s treatment of Gluck’s ‘Che faro’,having been so used to Sgambati’s magical transcription.It often cast it’s spell as an encore piece from the hands of the much loved Nelson Freire.The Raff transcription is much longer and more complex and was in itself a great discovery from a name that I have only ever seen as editor on the cover of early scores.

Two of the three artistic directors of the KT celebrating the success of this young Sicilian virtuoso.
Leslie Howard after his triumphant 75th birthday concert last night needed a much earned day of rest.

Duvernoy’s ‘Don Giovanni’ fantasy was simple and ingenious but of course not the masterpiece that Liszt had penned,but well worth hearing.
Eugenia Appiani ,a female virtuoso like Clara Wieck,in what was predominantly a man’s world in that period.A fascinating and beautiful Ballade on Verdi’s Rigoletto and as Ruben told us afterwarda he hopes to find many more pioneering ladies in the archives.
A fascinating conversation after his triumphant performances just whet the appetite for more discoveries.Watch this space!
His encore was a modern day caprice on Mozart by the now much feted Turkish pianist Fazil Say.A few years ago Say was made to suffer imprisonment from a regime he chose to challenge in his home country.
I have never seen an audience so enthusiastic giving a spontaneous standing ovation to this remarkably committed young artist.
Music hidden in musty archives and now given a new lease of life?!
Last night in this young artist’s golden hands it had the same effect as they would have received from the hands of long forgotten virtuosi of the past.
Hats off and more please !

What fun we had too with Cremonese Mario,ex head waiter at the Hilton,now at 89 an enthusiastic follower of the Keyboard Trust
Exciting times for the KT with one of the finest pianists of his generation opening the new season at the national Liberal Club.Four stars will be shining brightly thanks to the Robert Turnbull Foundation and Yisha Xue at the Liberal Club
Our general manager Sarah Biggs and administrator Richard Thomas leave no stones unturned in trying to raise funds to give more concert opportunities to the marvellous young musicians the KT is sworn to help
A very fruitful partnership has been forged with Roma 3 Orchestra University in Rome.Valerio Vicari,the artistic director,like us at the KT is dedicated to helping young musicians by giving opportunities with numerous public performances solo and with their magnificent orchestra

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