Wednesday, December 4, 2013
As a preview to its upcoming American premiere, composer Huang Ruo and the creative team of the Santa Fe Opera introduced excerpts of the strikingly lyrical, modernist opera sung in Mandarin and Cantonese dialects at the Asia Society on December 2nd.
In a panel discussion moderated by journalist Ken Smith and featured composer Huang Ruo, stage director James Robinson, costume designer James Schuette, choreographer Sean Curran, and conductor Carolyn Kuan discussed the inherent challenges of production; creative solutions to these struggles were touched on from the varying perspectives of all the collaborative artists involved.
“The opera creates a metaphor for the historic figure Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, founding father of modern China…” explains Ken Smith.
Most of the opera’s content is based on actual historical material, such as Yat-sen’s political speeches, letters, and photographs. Yet his politically revolutionary status serves only as the colorful background of an unfolding personal drama, set in three acts each of which depicts differing locations: “It is rather the personal story of his life I wanted to show, which is rather unknown,” says Ruo, “his passionate and revolutionary personality.” And it is the deeply gripping artistic expressiveness of such delicate arias, like Lu Muzhen’s (Yat-Sen’s abandoned first wife) lament, that portray a perception of the human truism, personal faith, sorrow, and fulfillment that characterize Yat-sen’s personal story. “These bound feet cannot keep up with the times,” sings Lu Muzhen, bringing the compelling essence of the impact of historic change within Chinese civilization into direct contact with the story of her own personal transformation, sensitively universalized through the heroes and victims of the saga.
In traditional Chinese opera – and there is a variety of opera styles – characters are symbolized explicitly by their outward appearance; Ruo explains how through this unambiguous illustration, one need not know the story to recognize the personality of the participants on stage. Ruo connects a musical introduction to the appearance of each character, comparable to Wagner’s ‘leitmotifs,’ using these musical phrases to establish an aesthetic association between musical theme and the characters’ dramatic portrayals. “You will hear the character before you see him or her on stage,” he concludes. Photo: Zhou Yi, pipa and gu quin (GetClassical)
The production of the opera has an interesting angle. Commissioned by the Opera Hong Kong in 2011, it was premiered at the Hong Kong Culture Centre Theatre in October of 2011 with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, establishing the first ever Western-style opera accompanied by an entire orchestra of Chinese, traditional instruments. There are two versions of the score in existence, which are wittily distinguished by Ruo: “These are not two entirely different scores, but different instrumental versions of the same. One for exclusively Chinese instrumentation, the other adapted for Western ones, in addition with Chinese traditional instruments. I would describe this as a mirrored transcription: You hold up a mirror and one can recognize its own reflection.” Photo: Huang Ruo (GetClassical)
Additionally the score underwent textual revision, eliminating portions of spoken lines in order to provide a more accomplished display of Ruo’s Dimensionalism, his applied method of composition. Certainly the production also heeded the patience of a Western audience, not fluent in Cantonese dialects. Ruo describes this way of creating and perceiving music as allowing for multiple layers of musical and textual meaning: “I was not intentionally trying to create a stylistic fusion. I just looked at the libretto and considered what it should sound like and how each line should be interpreted. Looking back, I do not see it as presenting neither a strictly Western operatic nor a Chinese folk style. Even though I wrote for Western-style voice types, singing Chinese words makes it a unique combination.”
The opera’s westernized version’s first act received a preview in 2011 at New York City Opera.
In January 2012, Ruo conducted an ensemble he founded called FIRE in a concert version of excerpts at Le Poisson Rouge, followed by a performance at Asia Society in May 2012.
This December’s sneak peek of Santa Fe’s planned full production of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen made clear what an extraordinary undertaking Ruo’s masterpiece represents in both the US and China. The concert in Hong Kong marked the first performance of a contemporary opera by a full orchestra of traditional Chinese instruments. “I was motivated to write this opera, hoping to add to a small body of contemporary opera written in Chinese to date. After all, Chinese is a very rhythmic and musical language. Although China has a long, rich history of traditional operas, this tradition is becoming endangered with diminishing audiences and lack of new repertoire,” says Ruo, expressing a concern that is certainly reflected internationally.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen will be performed in its entirety at the Santa Fe Opera on July 26th, 2014.
Excerpts from ' Dr. Sun Yat-Sen'
Sunday, December 1, 2013
To provide a uniquely joyful musical experience and to celebrate the October release of Joshua Bell’s new album, Musical Gifts, WFYI Public Media and Adrienne Arsht sponsored a special event at violinist Bell’s private New York residence. This extraordinary evening took place November 26th, and featured the amazingly gifted violinist performing a diverse assortment of festive Christmas (and Chanukah!) melodies with some of his collaborators on the album. The august presenters included: Renée Fleming, Michael Feinstein and Frankie Moreno, Rob Moose, and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. This was the first ever broadcast of its kind: “Musical Gifts: Joshua Bell and Friends – Live from Joshua’s New York Home.” The webcast of the event will be available for streaming until January 31st, 2014 on medici.tv.
The eminent group of performers casually gathered around an antique Steinway grand piano in the center of Bell’s large, elongated living room, while the children of the Young People’s chorus sat decoratively along a candlelit staircase, leading to the rooftop terrace.
The heartwarming performances included singers, pianists, and even a harpist, who all took turns partnering with Bell, who humorously referred to the slight hint of inherent exhibitionism that accompanies being a lifelong, prodigal performer. “After all,” he remarked on his place as the center of attention and the fact that he was participating in every number, “…this is my house.”
Photo: Courtesy of Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullen.com
While my coat was being checked at Joshua Bell’s remarkable home in New York’s Flatiron district, I couldn’t help but admire his personal autograph collection that includes iconic figures such as Albert Einstein posing with Bronislaw Huberman, the founder of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, precursor to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Huberman also happens to be the previous owner of the 300 year-old Stradivarius that Bell now plays, and lovingly acknowledges as his most prized and precious possession.
Heidi, Bell’s personal assistant of ten years, gave a grand tour of the two floors and rooftop of Bell’s luxurious penthouse, in which he has lived for the past decade. She explains: “It’s designed by the great architect Charles Rose and it was deliberately laid out for evenings like this in mind. The space can host around 150 people.” As I passed a sparingly decorated media room on the lower level, where the medici.tv crew had put up their wildly cabled domain, I espied another obsession of Bell’s. When not involved with performing, travelling or rehearsing for performances, Bell, who is turning 45 on December 9th, “is also a huge football fanatic who records every game so as to not miss a single one. He is an especially hardcore fan of his home team: The Indianapolis Colts,” according to Heidi.
Fundraisers and other musical house soirées, which serve up both great music and culinary treats to a mixed host of guests including celebrities, press, musicians, friends, and colleagues, are not a rarity at Bell’s home.
Evidently, this Grammy award-winning artist, who started to play violin at age 4, doesn’t leave his love for sharing music behind on the world’s stages, but rather feels inclined to transform his private space into his own, personal performance venue, reminiscent of the style of the great salons.
Bell’s enthusiasm for the up-close experience of making and presenting music within the familiar surroundings of smaller-sized spaces to achieve a more direct, intense, and intimate emotional exchange, represents a current trend within the classical music world.
Even the New York Philharmonic has realized the potential of new interest in smaller, eclectic presentations, scheduling concerts at New York’s downtown venue SUBCULTURE, which has joined the onrush of classical music events at downtown music hubs like Le Poisson Rouge and Joe’s Pub.
Classical Salon events like GetClassical are also being featured in aesthetically sophisticated, yet prominently ‘cool’ New York night-life lounges like the Gramercy Park Hotel’s Rose Bar. These new venues promote classical music to new audiences and enhance the experience through the element of a relaxed environment; they also add the enticing prospect of enjoying a glass of wine during the performance, not just during intermission.
photo: Alex Federov, GetClassical - Salon held at the Rose Bar, guest: pianist Evgeny Kissin
The personal element of these new presentations of classical music is something in the air that was without a doubt picked up on by the charming Frenchman Hervé Boissière, founder of medici.tv, inspiring him and Joshua to plan this event. This program represented medici.tv’s first broadcast of Bell in New York, and the channel’s first broadcast directly from a private home: “I had previously broadcasted Joshua’s performances at the Verbier Festival and on several other occasions. The decision to make this happen took place in May, when we last broadcast him while concertizing in Germany,” says Hervé.
Medici.tv launched in 2008, but was already renowned in Europe before becoming a household name in the U.S. as well. The innovative medici.tv team brought in remote-controlled cameras to enable a direct focus on the performers, and a close-up perspective of instrumental details during the live stream. Bringing together a worldwide community of music lovers via subscription-based, technologically advanced, live concert streaming, and a diverse on-demand video library, medici.tv now features client universities including Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia, the Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music.
Photo: Hervé's Facebook Page
Hervé works closely with his teammates, the majority of whom, including the production’s director, are part of his French crew; his team usually consists mostly of individuals from medici.tv’s French staff, even when they are shooting in the US. But things are changing slowly: “In the beginning, we brought the entire crew over from France, but in the meantime, we also worked in collaboration. This time, in partnership with WFYI Public Media, five of the crewmembers and producers are American-based, and we merely brought ten members of our original set along.”
Granting public access to the closeness of a private concert performance such as “Musical Gifts” seems like the ultimate remedy for sleepy crowds, and a magical tonic for energetic concert attendants.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
For Yuja, truth lies in music. “I play my best when I am sincere,” she explains. “That’s when I am able to move people. But the perception changes easily: for example, when I started recording, what I thought I was doing was very different from what I heard in the recording. Sometimes it had nothing to do with what I felt – it’s a whole butterfly effect.” She goes on to describe the process of finding the honesty she aims for in her playing, here for example during a recording session: “I play, then I go listen, I hate it. I think to myself, I can play so much better. Then I try three times, four times, five times and listen again and compare… only to find that the first time was the best.”
All photos courtesy of Yuja Wang.
Yuja’s fifth recording with Deutsche Grammophon: Piano Concertos/Rachmaninov, Prokofiev featuring recordings of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 op. 30 and Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 2, Op. 16 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela will be released in January 2014.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Saturday, November 9, 2013
all photo credits for this article: Chris Lee
The relatively new venue, (read article) which is quickly establishing its own identity within a small colective of 'to go to' downtown music hubs, offfered a great backdrop for Salonen's nonchalant yet highly charged, energetic and innovative personality that is reflected in his work.
Just that week, Salonen conducted the new York premiere of his Violin concerto with soloist Leila Josepfowitz performing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall.
At his 92nd Street Y debut at SUBCULTURE now, the smaller ensemble groups performed a selection of his not-that-short pieces and made them shine and sound as if they were meant to be played in an environment as this one.
The athmosphere was totally friendly and welcoming; the lighting and sound adapted adequately to the changing formations of musicians on stage. Despite the close quaters, Salonen, who seemed genuinely in his element, as he tenaciously kept sweeping his strands of hair away from his
Except for the fact that the room was a bit too warm for people sitting with their coats on their laps, it was a captivating production, which surely won over some new fans for Salonen's work as well as some future collaboration opportunities for SUBCULTURE.
The next CONTACT! event planned at this venue is taking place on January 13, 2014. Pianist Yefim Bronfman, new York Philharmonic's Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in -Residence, will perform with musicians from the Philharmonic.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Jerome Rose at home
For 15 years now, Jerome Rose’s piano recital has opened the annual International Keyboard Institute and Festival (IKIF), which he founded in 1999. Taking place at Mannes College The New School for Music, one of Rose’s alma maters, the intensive, two week-long celebration of the piano features lectures, master classes, and faculty recitals, as well as two guest artist performance series. That’s a lot of piano - even for New York City. The festival shines by its musical diversity and vast variety of different approaches to the instrument, and so promotes an open-minded and low-key atmosphere. It also sponsors a competition whose winner is honored with the Dorothy MacKenzie Competition prize ($10,000) and a recital at the next festival (this year’s first place prize winner was Kho Woon Kim). “With the sheer volume in organizational tasks, such an undertaking needs to be driven by two equally important entities: a fountainhead that creates the concept, and the person who executes the event,” says Rose, whose wife, Julie Kedersha, serves as the festival’s executive director.
During each of his opening concerts, which have been recorded by WFMT Chicago and NPR for worldwide radio broadcasts, Rose immerses himself in a selection of works by a single composer. He records this repertoire on his own Medici Classics label at Yamaha’s Artists Services New York, which for seven years has featured a compilation of DVDs that reflect his concert programs and the composers he features in the “Jerome Rose plays: [featured composer] live in concert.” This year’s selection is devoted to Beethoven sonatas. In addition to his personable, verbal introduction on the DVD, in which he explains his own place within the pianistic tradition, he delivers a “Waldstein” live in concert that attests to his pianistic patina, gained through mature musicianship and fervent radiance at the piano.
A conversation with the now seventy-five year-old entrepreneurial pianist and educator reveals a consuming, highly energetic man with a vision that demands relentless pursuit, no matter how much effort, or how high the stakes.
Presenter Jerome Rose at IKIF
If it is true that pianists “play who they are,” which is Rose’s famous maxim, his reputation as “one of the last true romantics” fits the depiction perfectly. Rose understands romanticism as “playing on the edge…as if your life depends on it.”
‘The Romantics’ also happens to be the title of London’s First International Festival of the Romantic Movement in the Arts at London’s Royal Festival Hall in 1981, under Rose’s artistic direction and the auspices of H.R.H. Princess Alexandra. Combining scholarship and the performing arts, Rose was an early adapter to interdisciplinary arts festivals. An animated raconteur, he recalls how he managed to delve into this extraordinary undertaking: “I was challenged by the fact that I was told it could not be done,” says Rose, who refused to give up on his vision of bringing a broader perspective to the close connection he felt for the composers whose art he had studied and lived with intensely throughout his pianistic career.
While curating the festival, Rose never abandoned his attempts to convince the director of the UK’s Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges, James Platt, of his concept. Finally, Platt responded to Rose’s vision, ultimately even becoming the festival’s chairman. “In my heart I knew it could be done” he says about his decision to support the pianist’s project. What also helped to make it happen was that Rose had come prepared with an airtight budget that did not leave any wiggle room. He wanted to avoid repeating the mistakes he had made pursuing another great vision of his almost a decade earlier: In 1973, Rose had initiated a concept for a national festival of American symphony orchestras for international broadcast. With Emmy award-winning producer Curtis Davis and Channel 13 interested, Rose had already received acceptance letters from major symphony orchestras, yet finally saw his high-flying proposal shattered by politics and conflicting interests. “Who was I to tell everyone what to do?” he asks with a pinch of irony.
Emerging almost unfazed by this experience and still feeling the need to present music culture in an interrelated manner, he remained true to his powerful convictions. “You realize that all great composers were generally cultured individuals; it just transcends, being a pianist,” he says, and includes his own life experience in this statement. Undeterred, Rose went on to curate the Schubert and Brahms Festival at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and a comprehensive Liszt celebration in 1986.
Rose with Rudolf Serkin at Marlboro (courtesy of the artist)
Rose readily acknowledges that it was Marlboro Music and its annual Vermont-based festival, which is devoted to artistic excellence, and development of new talent that gave him a true understanding of what music can do. Marlboro pioneered the concept of having master artists play together with exceptional young professionals. Says Rose: “My whole view of what it is to be an artist and a musician, a spokesman for the arts, was transformed when I came to Marlboro in 1956, under Rudolf Serkin and Leonard Shure. I have never been exposed to a richer way of inspiration.”
It is exactly this idea of learning and performing together that Rose has always intended to embed into his lifelong pianistic career. The high standard of musicianship and the diverse and immensely cultured personalities of his fellow artists at Marlboro made Rose want to carry the flame: “Being placed in a setting with many of the greatest talents of our time - James Levine, Van Cliburn, Claude Frank, Alexander Schneider of the Budapest Quartet, and so many others … and then the production of ‘Cosi fan Tutte’ in the cafeteria … the camaraderie … it was exhilarating,” he recalls. It was at Marlboro where he had the cathartic experience of how the love for music can become eternally transcendent, something he also aspired to impart onto the younger generation. Beyond the cultural impact of his festivals, Rose certainly achieved this through his influence as a pedagogue.
Among the students the 1961 International Busoni Competition Gold Medalist ever took on is Polish pianist Magdalena Stern-Baczeswska who he first met at a 1996 master class in Warsaw. Stern-Baczeswska describes Rose as an invaluable mentor and father figure: “The moments spent with Mr. Rose at the piano are among my most vivid memories. Above all he has helped me find my identity as an artist, and expanded my personality and emotional range.”
And about his methodology as a teacher she says: “No two lessons were the same; Mr. Rose always knew what was on our minds, just by listening how we played. Sometimes a long discussion on a seemingly unrelated theme was the best approach; another time he would sit at the piano and break into a passage without saying a word. It was then when I understood another message of his: ‘the music will be only as important to your audience as it is to you.’ “
She also comments on Jerome Rose, the performer: “When he played, music was the only thing on earth that seemed to truly matter. For a man who can easily intimidate, Mr. Rose has been always humble when it comes to music. Once, before his Salle Cortot debut in Paris, he asked me into the hall for his dress rehearsal and made it my task to let him know when he was rushing. The master became the student when the music required it.”
Stern-Baczeswska concludes: “There are many pianists whose fingers never slip, and whose memory never fails. Yet one leaves the concert hall with a feeling of void. It is in Mr. Rose’s recitals when unforgettable moments take place … he plays who he is.”
The Iowa-born and San Francisco-raised Rose began his international career in his early twenties. By the time his career was abruptly interrupted by the U.S. military draft during the missile crisis in October 1962, he had already performed in many major concert halls around the world. Thanks to an educational deferment he became an artist-in-residence at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, which gave him limited travel opportunities to perform and give master classes for three weeks at a time.
Rose still contemplates his decision to opt out of an intense touring and concertizing career: “I asked myself many times if I sold out for security or if I was really smart. I got married and had four children and a university position with all the benefits of an institution. Everyone who has performed realizes that we are all victims of our own standards, and of the public’s and our own expectations. I did not like the insecurities of a performance career, and the dependency on critics, managers, and conductors.”
Interview with David Dubal at IKIF
But perhaps he’s too much of a people’s person to solely contribute as a performer to classical music. “It is my job to know a lot of people,” he says. And he has certainly touched a lot of people’s lives during his long and distinguished career. He has also inspired countless others with the activism and boundless enthusiasm he brings to music, both through his presentations and his performances.
Bonnie Barret at Yamaha Artist Services
One such person is New York’s Yamaha Artist Services director Bonnie Barret: “He is the reason I came to Yamaha,” she says. Having previously been involved with Steinway and later, with an artist management business, Barret attended Rose’s Schubert recital at IKIF, at which he played on a Yamaha CFX that had just come onto the market. “There was a brochure on each seat and I got curious. It prompted me to do some research about the new product and I contacted Yamaha to offer my services.” Beyond that, she was impressed by Rose’s great projection. For his DVD recordings at Yamaha Artists Services since 2007, Rose used both the predecessor of the Yamaha CFX, the Yamaha CF3, and the CFX, thus adding a visual connection to his already existing catalogue of classical repertoire recorded for Monarch Classics, Sony, Newport Classics and Vox on CD. His Liszt recordings for Vox were awarded the Grand Prix du Disque. “I am concerned with the tradition of the great masters and what these performances represent”, Rose says. “I want to put on record what I really believe in.”
Which might be why Jerome Rose has not only prevailed in his creative approach towards classical music in the widest sense, but he himself has transcended the expected model for success at the piano.
Pianists Marc-André Hamelin, Jerome Rose
Friday, November 1, 2013
Presented by the esteemed Keyboard Trust on October 10th, the Italian pianist Daniele Rinaldo impressed with a thoughtfully programmed performance, one of the last ones to be held at historic Steinway & Sons Hall, which is soon to be demolished.
The audience’s stormy applause was asked to be held back until the end of each part of the program, so as not to interrupt the special harmonic interrelation and correspondence of mood revealed through the progression of Rinaldo’s chosen works, which alternated between Claude Debussy (Etude No.8, “Pour les agreements,” Etude No. 5, ”Pour les Octaves,” and Etude No.10, “Pour les sonoritiès opposeés”) and Domenico Scarlatti (Sonata in C-major, K.132 and Sonata in G-minor, K.105).
With this unusual combination, Rinaldo deliberately created a unique correlative flow, which is again pointed out through his decision to link Liszt’s Verdi Transcription of “Misèrere” from Il Trovatore, Olivier Messiaen’s Prelude No.2, “Chant d’Extase dans un Paysage Triste,” and Robert Schumann’s Sonata in F-sharp minor, No.1, Op. 11, in the ambitious second half of his program. At the core of this pianist’s edifying program choices lies the motivation to make musical context audibly accessible to his audiences.
Rinaldo, who also studied mathematics and is currently entering a doctorial program in Geneva, feels compelled to guide his listeners toward a comprehensive understanding of music. “I enjoy learning,” he says, and this translates into something he likes to share with his audience. “The main misconception of presenting classical music today may be based on the assumption that classical music is for everybody. But indeed, it may be universal only in its message. But one can educate one’s audience,” says the pianist, “which means one has to guide the audience in a very comprehensive understanding of music.”
Another factor is the presentation of classical music: “Today, classical music needs to be offered in a way it appeals to its audiences. It can be channeled in an interesting way, away from its old-fashioned image and with a taste for its contemporary application and relevance. I don’t believe that anybody who is listening to Björk would not enjoy listening to Bartók or Stravinsky. No wonder classical music today, aims to be heard in buzzing scenes and new venues internationally, like the warehouse concerts in Berlin, Paris and London. As long as one does not take away classical music’s substance, it’s natural to realize that there may be different criteria of promoting it today….”
Rinaldo makes sure that the music’s substance does not suffer in his presentations, whether he is performing in one of the grand international concert halls, or at a venue that caters to a “special scene,” as he describes the Chelsea Music Festival (now in its fourth season), where he performed a Britten program this summer. It was held at the Dillon Gallery, one of the Chelsea Festival’s Venue Partners, owned by the artistic directors of the festival, Ken-David Masur (Kurt Masur’s son) and Melinda Lee Masur. The “spiced up” theme of the festival, according to Rinaldo, was showcasing a mix of musical genres fused with a neighborhood experience of local art and cuisine. “Music itself creates interesting connections,” says Rinaldo, whose career did not start out meteoric, but rather developed “[in] its own time,” as he says. “I always knew music [was] going to play an important part in my life, but I did not give concerts [at] 8. I rather found myself into music.”
Rinaldo connected with Keyboard Trust in 2011 through a coincidence that was brought about through a mutual friend and led to his performing for the eminent piano pedagogue, Noretta Leech. “I play regularly for Noretta,” whose sound advice he appreciates. “She is always straight to the point, and has great ideas for new fingering suggestions. And she encourages great, free playing that conveys everything that’s in your mind and projects through performing without tension,” Rinaldo says. It was not long before he got taken under the wings of Keyboard Trust, who boosted his performance opportunities.
Rinaldo indicates that his mentors have given him many gifts over the years. His deep understanding and appreciation of a broad spectrum of repertoire goes back to many important influences to which he was exposed. Among his teachers are Sergej Schepkin and Sergio Perticalori, both renowned for their Bach interpretations, Ines Scarlino at the Conservatory Pollini, an enthusiast of the modern repertoire, and Christopher Elton at the London Royal Academy of Music, also a great chamber musician. Elton, who has been declared a huge influence by his student, the prodigious Benjamin Grosvenor, a younger classmate of Rinaldo at the Academy, and especially Claudio Martinez have been singled out as Rinaldo’s most inspiring teachers. For seven years now, Martinez has taught Rinaldo in Basel, Switzerland, having served for three years as the pianist’s main mentor. “I owe everything to him,” Rinaldo says of Martinez, beginning to get excited. “I met him at the Dino CIani Festival in Madrid; he was Dmitry Bashkirov’s assistant. When he invited me to come to his house, I was blown away. When he points out the nature of the music at hand, its world just starts to open up for me. He teaches you how to look at music, what’s missing. And you know when it’s true, when the musical substance is there. Many accomplished musicians in their own right come to see him and to reconnect. He considers Ferenc Rados (also András Schiff’s teacher) his musical don,” shares Rinaldo. “You need someone to give you this honest feedback, someone you trust and whose judgment counts for you. I have my own take of performance, as a consequence of what goes on in your brain and ears. You present what is happening if you have a clear idea and emotional connection, passing it on.”
Partly because of his relationships with both Elton and Martinez, Rinaldo has inherited a poignant enthusiasm for chamber music. “I especially enjoy chamber music, the best emotions I have ever had were playing together, with the right guys, of course. The connection with your partner(s), enjoying myself on stage…that reveals something to the audience, as well. Sometimes the rehearsal is already exciting, and I like to share that intense experience with partners, I already made a good team with.” One such partner is violinist Lisa Ueda, with whom Rinaldo received the British Tunnel Trust award; another is his compatriot violinist Davide de Ascaniis, with whom he has performed regularly since 2008 as the Duo De Ascaniis-Rinaldo.
In performance, Rinaldo projects his ideas with great enthusiasm and consistent virtuosity. The many interesting facets of the stylistic nuances in his presentation of Debussy and Scarlatti represent an intellectual tour de force, expressed with the most sensitive pianistic touch, artistically differentiating the sound worlds of both composers.
“The chronological ritual of presenting composers according to their stylistic area from earliest to latest seems a bit outdated,” Rinaldo comments. “I rather highlight a certain influence: one composer – despite the stylistic differences—connecting to another.” The reason behind the Scarlatti–Debussy connection, according to Rinaldo, is that, “Scarlatti highlights the baroque influence in Debussy, especially in the late Debussy, in his works dedicated to the harpsichord player Couperin… They both start with some of the same gesture of vocal ornamentation: the cantabile in these pieces really can show a strong reference. In the Schumann and Messiaen, there is no stylistic reference, but rather a mutually strong, tonal structure. I find the match successful, which shows itself in the same leap of fourth….”
I personally found his performance even more enjoyable when he was not concentrating on following these precise correlations, and instead expressing purely indulgent submission to his refined virtuosity, which came to its fullest realization in Liszt’s paraphrase of “Misere.” The piece impressed with its enormously rich palette of sound and sustained phrasing. Listen to music performed by Daniele Rinaldo’s at the 2012 Santander Competition here: listen to Daniele Rinaldo playing:
Leoš Janáček - Piano Sonata 1
Robert Schumann – Fantasiestücke, Op. 111
Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata K.135, in C-major;
Claude Debussy Etude No.8 ‘Pour les agréments’ ;
Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata K.105, in C-major;
Claude Debussy Etude No.5’Pour les octaves’ ;
Claude Debussy Etude No.10 ‘Pour les sonorités opposèes’ ;
Guiseppe Verdi/Franz Liszt ‘Miserere, Il Trouvatore‘