Simone Tavoni in Viterbo a recital of poetic sensitivity and intelligence

Simone Tavoni in Viterbo a recital of poetic sensitivity and intelligence

Simone Tavoni in Viterbo,city of the Popes – 80 km from Rome.
Florid Mendelssohn Variations op 83 were played with a ravishing jeux perlé that were just streams of gold.Mendelssohn’s enticing melodies were allowed to float on a magic wave of sounds due to Simone’s very sensitive sense of touch.
Two Schubert Impromptus,the first of his late set, revealed Simone’s superb musicianship as Schubert’s irrepressible outpouring of song was given an underlying structure and sense of architectural shape that made one marvel at the maturity of an already mortally sick composer at such an early age .
Simone brought sumptuous orchestral colour and power to the two Brahms Rhapsodies op 79 but it was the heart rending simplicity and ravishing beauty of the op 118 n.2 intermezzo,that was to be the final work for piano of Brahms, that was so aristocratically poignant.
The frenzy and passion in Schumann of the outer movements was calmed by the beauty and subtle shaping of the ‘lied’ that Schumann had chosen to weave into his Sonata op 22
Simone was happy to offer to an enthusiastic public his own improvisation in the style of a Chopin mazurka which just added the final touch to a recital that had been a demonstration of intelligence and sensitive musicianship.

The beauty of the theme was contrasted by the fluidity of the first variation and the clarity but also delicacy of the counterpoints that followed .There were clouds of drama on the horizon followed by the legato right hand with insistent brief interjectory comments from the left.Gentle leaps reminiscent of Saint Saens were followed by the final flowing beauty and passionate virtuosity of the ending,burning itself out so beautifully with an elegant flourish before the gentle final chords that signalled the end of the dream.Played by Simone with a sense of style and simplicity that avoided all rhetoric as the music was allowed to speak for itself quite simply without any complications.

The variations op 83 were written in 1841 and the four hand adaptation was published after his death as op 83a.The theme and variations that Simone plays today have five whereas the four hand adaptation have eight.Mendelssohn made his first public concert appearance at the age of nine and was a prolific composer from an early age. As an adolescent, his works were often performed at home with a private orchestra for the associates of his wealthy parents amongst the intellectual elite of Berlin.Between the ages of 12 and 14, Mendelssohn wrote 13 string symphonies for such concerts, and a number of chamber works.His first work, a piano quartet, was published when he was 13.He suffered from poor health in the final years of his all too short life, probably aggravated by nervous problems and overwork. A final tour of England left him exhausted and ill, and the death of his sister, Fanny, on 14 May 1847, caused him further distress. Less than six months later, on 4 November, aged 38, Mendelssohn died in Leipzig after a series of strokes.His funeral was held at the Paulinerkirche, Leipzig, and he was buried at the Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof I in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The pallbearers included Moscheles, Schumann and Niels Gade.Mendelssohn had once described death, in a letter to a stranger, as a place “where it is to be hoped there is still music, but no more sorrow or partings.”

Simone played the Schubert Impromptus with great authority and intelligence.The opening declamation of the F minor impromptu dissolving into the deeply meditative central episode with its heart melting treble melody answered by the bass.There were a stream of sounds rippling unobtrusively throughout played with a transcendental control of balance.I had not heard before the legato treble contrasted so clearly with a non legato bass but it was nevertheless very authoritative and totally convincing.The A flat Impromptu that followed was played with great delicacy as one of Schubert’s most poignantly beautiful melodies was allowed to unfold so naturally.The slightly chiselled right hand of the melodic line towards the end showed Simone’s sensibility to Schubert’s sublime mellifluous sound world.The gradual unfolding of the central episode produced some sumptuous rich sounds of great beauty and contrast.

The Schubert Impromptus are a series of eight pieces for solo piano composed in 1827. They were published in two sets of four impromptus each: the first two pieces in the first set were published in the composer’s lifetime as Op. 90; the second set was published posthumously as Op. 142 in 1839 (with a dedication added by the publisher to Franz Liszt).As the first and last pieces in this set are in the same key (F minor) the set bears some resemblance to a four-movement sonata.It has been suggested that these Impromptus may be a sonata in disguise, notably by Robert Schumann and Alfred Einstein ,who claim that Schubert called them Impromptus and allowed them to be individually published to enhance their sales potential.It is also believed that the set was originally intended to be a continuation of the previous set, as Schubert originally numbered them as Nos. 5–8.

High drama and sumptuous orchestral sounds heralded the opening of the two rhapsodies op 79.There was also a beautiful fluidity and simplicity to the central episode of the first with a melodic line that was allowed to shine so clearly due to Simone’s impeccable sense of balance .He allowed the excitement to mount in the coda of the first that then seemed to be searching a way out with Simone creating a magic atmosphere as it dissolved to a mere whisper.The same orchestral sounds burst onto the scene with fervid passion in the second rhapsody with chordal exhilaration of great rhythmic energy and menace.The two rhapsodies had opened up a completely different sound world of sumptuous orchestral sounds that Simone shared with us thanks to his kaleidoscopic palette of colours.

The Rhapsodies, Op. 79 were written in 1879 during Brahms’ summer stay in Portschach,when he had reached the maturity of his career. They were inscribed to his friend, the musician and composer Elisabeth von Herzogenberg .At the suggestion of the dedicatee, Brahms reluctantly renamed the sophisticated compositions from “Klavierstücke” (piano pieces) to “rhapsodies

  • No. 1 in B minor.  Agitato is the more extensive piece, with outer sections in sonata form enclosing a lyrical, nocturne-like central section in B major and with a coda ending in that key.
  • No. 2 in G minor.  Molto passionato, ma non troppo allegro is a more compact piece in a more conventional sonata form.

In each piece, the main key is not definitely established until fairly late in the exposition.

There was ravishing beauty to his playing of the A major Intermezzo which he played with poignant strength that did not allow any sentimentality or rhetoric.A beautiful fluidity to the central episode allowed the two voices to converse with such delicacy.Barely touching the keys at the end as he stroked the utmost meaning from one of Brahms’ most beautiful utterances.

The Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118, were completed in 1893 and dedicated to Clara Schumann ,the collection is the penultimate composition published during Brahms’ lifetime. It is also his penultimate work composed for piano solo. Consistent with Brahms’s other late keyboard works, Op. 118 is more introspective than his earlier piano pieces, which tend to be more virtuosic in character. Simone played the second piece the Intermezzo in A major. Andante teneramente

Driving rhythm and passionate involvement burst onto the scene with Schumann’s op 22 Sonata.But there was beauty too as the melodic line was allowed to shine through all the fervent outpourings of notes that litter the score with such youthful exhilaration and virtuosity.Even with Schumann’s quixotic changes of mood the driving tempo was never allowed to sag in Simone’s authoritative hands.There was great delicacy in the second movement reaching moments of fervent exultation and the even more tender return of the opening theme ‘avec un sentiment de regret’ to quote Alfred Cortot.There was the absolute frenzy of the scherzo where a more legato syncopation of the chords that followed would have given more startling contrast.The last movement burst impatiently onto the scene with driving passion and a technical prowess that was quite overwhelming.A young man’s convincing performance of the still youthful and passionate composer Robert Schumann.

Clara Schumann claimed to be “endlessly looking forward to the second sonata”, but nevertheless Robert revised it several times. At Clara Schumann’s request, the original finale, marked Presto passionato was replaced with a less difficult movement in 1838.Clara considered it “not too incomprehensible,” though she admitted that she would “play it if necessary, but the masses, the public, and even the connoisseurs for whom one is really writing, don’t understand it.”The Andantino of the sonata is based on Schumann’s early song “Im Herbste”; It is dedicated to Schumann’s friend the pianist Henriette Voigt and was published in September 1839.


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