mercoledì 13 febbraio 2013

INNOVATIVE CONTENT in Music & Vision 23 January

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A piano journey on the Danube,

I seldom report on the concerts offered by the Istituzione Universitaria dei Concerti (IUC) operating within the major state university of Rome (Università La Sapienza) since 1945. Its season has thirty-two concerts (mostly chamber music but also jazz and live electronics) in the main University Hall; prices are kept quite low (the top seats in the full subscription series cost 355 euros for the thirty-two concerts, but students can buy seats at 5 euros for each individual concert or have a special full subscription for 250 euros). The quality is quite good; performers who started their career at the IUC, such as the internationally known ensemble I Solisti Veneti, offer a concert at no cost to the institution every 'season'.
I am quite interested in Central European music. Thus, in two concerts (12 and 19 January 2013) I followed a piano journey on the Danube. The pianist was Andrea Lucchesini, a well-known performer with a long list of CDs, including the full Schubert Impromptus.
Andrea Lucchesini. Photo © Andrea Marchionni
Andrea Lucchesini. Photo © Andrea Marchionni.
Click on the image for higher resolution
The trip included two musical stops (or tours): on 12 January, we visited Budapest. We started with the programme's most recent composer, György Ligeti (1923-2006), a protagonist of twentieth century music. Ligeti started out as the inheritor of Béla Bartók (1881-1945), but quite soon he adopted the twelve note row system to move on to experimental music -- live electronics, polyrhythmics, micropolyphony -- and to nineteen sixties and seventies avant-garde. During the communist regime, Ligeti was able to keep (mostly due to his friendship with Pierre Boulez) close contacts with the most advanced forms of musical development, but this did cost him a long exile from his beloved homeland. Lucchesini played Musica Ricercata (1951-53), consisting of twelve short fundamental pieces from Ligeti's younger period, and widely known, as Stanley Kubrick used it as a sound track for his film Eyes Wide Shut. Lucchesini's performance brought out the score's strong innovative content.
Andrea Lucchesini
Andrea Lucchesini. Click on the image for higher resolution
Then, Lucchesini went back a few decades to play Béla Bartók's B minor Sonata, composed in 1926, and to show the work's severe concentration, wealth of ideas and violent percussion. The last Budapest stop was Franz Liszt's B minor Sonata (1852/53), a grandiose and very audacious work in only a single movement.
The second stop entailed a difficult choice for Lucchesini due to the enormous number of musicians who operated in Vienna between the eighteenth and the early twentieth centuries. He focused on Franz Schubert (three short pieces composed in the last year of his life), Johannes Brahms (his three Intermezzi Op 117, also in the composer's last creative phase) and Ludwig van Beethoven's monumental Sonata No 29, Hammerklavier, which took him two years to write. An excellent sample, perfectly played. The audience loved the concert, requested and received an encore.
Copyright © 23 January 2013 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy
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