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A DEXTEROUS JOURNEY

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Alessandro Taverna at London's Steinway Hall,
reviewed by BILL NEWMAN

 

Born at Caorle, near Venice, in 1983, pianist Alessandro Taverna studied at the Music Academy of Santa Cecilia, Portogruaro (where he teaches, today) with Laura Candiago Ferrari. Here he attended masterclasses, pursuing his knowledge of chamber music and obtaining his final Diploma. At Imola in 2008, he attended classes by Petrushansky, Lortie and Rattalino. His awards and live performances are too numerous to list, but perhaps his recordings for Radio Classica, Italy, the Slovenian National Radio Television and Classic fm radio in South Africa have given added prestige to his many cultured live activities.

As happens occasionally, I arrived late [Steinway Hall, London, 1 April 2009, recital for the Keyboard Charitable Trust] and lay down at the back of the piano, where I witnessed Taverna's perfect pedaling, synchronized with long fingers scaling their dexterous journey through J S Bach's seven-movement English Suite No 5 in E minor, BWV 810. An interesting new perspective -- listener-viewers should indulge, occasionally. Exit an artist-sketcher, and I seated myself.

The remainder of the programme with its Russian-German tinges of mysticism, ornate versatility and pictorial stage craft really brought the whole thing alive. Skryabin's Sonata No 10, Op 70 -- the last in a line of weirdly strange experiments in keyboard fantasy -- was very much my métier. As a follow-on to the 'Black Mass' Ninth, it has an almost Mahlerian quality that compels imaginative players, and proved the ideal foil to Mendelssohn's rarely performed Sonata 3 in B flat, Op 106. The interest here lies in the three Allegros -- vivace, non troppo and moderato -- that enshroud the interlinking third movement -- Andante quasi Allegretto. The amazing thing about dear Mendelssohn Bartholdy is his ability to always sound fresh and convincing in his ideas that are never clogged up with sheer repetition.

Stravinsky's eternal barnstormer in his truncated three-movement reduction for Artur Rubinstein -- Petrushka -- left the piano still intact. Brilliant!

Copyright © 28 July 2009 Bill Newman,
Edgware UK

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KEYBOARD CHARITABLE TRUST

STEINWAY HALL

LONDON

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN

FELIX MENDELSSOHN

IGOR STRAVINSKY

PETRUSHKA

UNITED KINGDOM

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