César Franck illuminates Roma 3 ‘Che meraviglia’

Giovedì 11 maggio ore 20 Accademia di Danimarca.
La Musica è una cosa meravigliosa: César Franck, parte seconda
Sonata in la maggiore (versione per violoncello e pianoforte); Quintetto in fa minore per pianoforte e archi
Ruben Micieli, pianoforte vincitore Young Artists Piano Solo Series 2020 – 2021
Roma Tre Orchestra Ensemble

In questo omaggio a César Franck le eccellenze della nostra orchestra si uniscono ad una delle eccellenze della nostra Young Artist Piano Solo Series: Ruben Micieli è stato il vincitore dell’edizione 2021-2022 della nostra rassegna per giovani pianisti e con lui sono coinvolti per il Quintetto in fa minore alcuni dei migliori giovani musicisti che fanno regolarmente parte delle produzioni sinfoniche.


Roma Tre Orchestra vuole essere un’unica grande famiglia che supporta i giovani musicisti di tutta Italia nello sviluppo di una carriera musicale, permettendo loro di percorrere tutte le possibili vie professionali messe a disposizione da ciascuno strumento, dal repertorio sinfonico, a quello solistico e alla musica da camera.


Marvels at Roma 3 guests of the Danish Academy in one of the most beautiful parts of Rome where amongst others are the British,Romanian ,Egyptian and this splendid Danish Academy.It was a week dedicated to César Franck with these two chamber works and one of his greatest works for piano:the Prelude Choral and Fugue played by Alessio Santolini the 20 year old prize student of Roberto Prosseda.


Roberto Prosseda together with Maurizio Baglini are two important musicians that work together with Valerio Vicari and Prof.Pujia to help aspiring young musicians to reach their goal. https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.com/2022/11/10/roberto-prosseda-a-phoenix-hovers-over-roma-3/

And what a goal it is indeed with the orchestra created twenty years ago and beginning to make a mark all over Italy where it is regularly invited.Of course an orchestra does not create itself but is created by it’s talented players who unselfishly listen to each other and weld together for the glory of the music that they are creating together.It was Pappano who almost twenty years ago was invited to direct the S.Cecilia Orchestra which he has turned into one of the great orchestras of the world.It was done by creating opportunities for the orchestral musicians to play chamber music together and to learn how to really listen to each other rather than just following the man at their helm with the stick!The responsibility lies with each and every musician in an orchestra and it is the joining together of each individual player to create a whole that is the real secret behind every important ensemble.It was refreshing today to hear some of the members of the orchestra playing chamber music together with a star pianist who had also played concertos with them.Alessandro Guaitolini,the right hand man of Valerio Vicari,today gave a remarkable performance of the Franck Sonata.I have often thought that it’s passion and romantic sounds are better suited to the cello than the violin and was glad to discover that it may have been the original inspiration for the composer.Alessandro and Ruben gave a remarkable performance each one listening to the other as their passions raged and seduced.Never overpowering the other but sustaining the overall architectural line of this great work.The deep brooding sounds of Alessandro ‘s cello were answered by the ravishing beauty of Rubén’s playing.There was great virtuosity and excitement in the Allegro second movement especially from the piano with it’s notorious difficulty and unrelenting drive.The weight that Alessandro brought to the Recitativi brought to mind the Tortelier’s who had asked me if I knew what they meant by weight!The beautiful overlapping of the last movement was of pastoral beauty as it built up to the final passionate outpouring from them both united as they brought the sonata to fever pitch of excitement.

Daniele Sabatini

Daniele Sabatini’s beautiful romantic violin playing with such eloquent discreet slides was just one of the wonders in a superb performance of the piano Quintet.Alessandro uniting with Carlotta Libonati to reply to the passionate beauty of both Daniele and Enrico Massimiliano Cuculo.But they were all united around Ruben who gave a musicianly performance integrating and creating a sumptuous whole with his colleagues.The actual technical difficulties disappeared in a picture of passionate drive and a real ‘explosion’ of sumptuous music making .

The Violin Sonata in A was written in 1886, when César Franck was 63, as a wedding present for the 28-year-old violinist Eugene Ysaye .Twenty-eight years earlier, in 1858, Franck had promised a violin sonata for Cosima von Bulow .This never appeared; it has been speculated that whatever work Franck had done on that piece was put aside, and eventually ended up in the sonata he wrote for Ysaÿe in 1886.Franck was not present when Ysaÿe married, but on the morning of the wedding, on 26 September 1886 in Arlon,their mutual friend Charles Bordes presented the work as Franck’s gift to Ysaÿe and his bride Louise Bourdeau de Courtrai. After a hurried rehearsal, Ysaÿe and Bordes’ sister-in-law, the pianist Marie-Léontine Bordes-Pène.played the Sonata to the other wedding guests.The work is cyclic in nature, all the movements sharing common thematic threads. Themes from one movement reappear in subsequent movements, but usually transformed. Franck had adapted this technique from Liszt – his friend, and Cosima von Bülow’s father.Vincent d’Indy described the Sonata as “the first and purest model of the cyclical use of themes in sonata form”, and referred to it as “this true musical monument”.

The setting for cello and piano was the only alternative version sanctioned by Franck.This was created by the renowned cellist Jules Delsart.After thorough historical study based on reliable documents, Delsart’s transcription for cello (the piano part remains the same as in the violin sonata) was published by G.Henle Verlag as an Urtext.Based on oral history (Pablo Casals)and written document (letter written by Antoine Ysaye, Eugène Ysaÿe’s son),it has often been speculated that the work was first conceived as a sonata for cello and piano, and only later reset for violin and piano when the commission from Eugène Ysaÿe arrived.

The Sonata was given its first public concert performance on 16 December of that year,at the Museum of Modern Painting) in Brussels.Ysaÿe and Bordes-Pène were again the performers.The Sonata was the final item in a long program which started at 3pm. When the time arrived for the Sonata, dusk had fallen and the gallery was bathed in gloom, but the museum authorities permitted no artificial light whatsoever. Initially, it seemed the Sonata would have to be abandoned, but Ysaÿe and Bordes-Pène decided to continue regardless. They had to play the last three movements from memory in virtual darkness. When the violinist Armand Parent remarked that Ysaÿe had played the first movement faster than the composer intended, Franck replied that Ysaÿe had made the right decision, saying “from now on there will be no other way to play it”. Ysaÿe kept the Violin Sonata in his repertoire for the next 40 years of his life, with a variety of great pianists, and his championing of the Sonata contributed to the public recognition of Franck as a major composer.This recognition was quite belated; Franck died within four years of the Sonata’s public première, and did not have his first unqualified public success until the last year of his life (on 19 April 1890, at the Salle Pleyel , where his String Quartet in D was premiered).

Piano Quintet in F minor was composed in 1879 and has been described as one of Franck’s chief achievements alongside his other late works such as Symphony in D minor ,the Symphonic Variations,the String Quartet and the Violin Sonata .The work was premiered by the Marsick Quartet with Camille Saint-Saens playing the piano part, which Franck had written out for him with an appended note: “To my good friend Camille Saint-Saëns”. A minor scandal ensued when at the piece’s completion, Saint-Saëns walked off stage leaving the score open at the piano, a gesture which was interpreted as mark of disdain.The work has been described as having a “torrid emotional power”, and Lalo that it as an “explosion”.

Cover of the 1st edition of the piano score (Hamelle, 1880), with dedication À Camille Saint-Saëns


It was Peter Frankl one of the great chamber music players of our time who confided that the Franck Quintet was one of the most challenging of all the chamber repertoire.He was alarmed that the late Menahem Pressler had chosen to learn it and play it in Berlin at the age of 90.It turned out to be Peter’s last public performance and one of his greatest too in this historic performance only two years ago.

Enrico Massimiliano Cuculo
Ruben Micieli
Ruben with Ing Tamarro owner of an 1876 Erard who organises concerts dedicated to Liszt on a piano that Liszt would have known at the Villa d’Este
The Danish Academy
The British Academy in Rome in the Valle Giulia
The Romanian Academy in Valle Giulia
The Egyptian Academy in valle Giulia


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