“El inmenso pianista que es Alessandro Taverna llegó desde Venecia para estar al lado de Maragrita y nos sirvió un Stravinsky de reclinatorio.”
Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
7 Diciembre 2013
By Martin Dreyer
The talk of the town before this Russian evening on Saturday was the appearance of Alessandro Taverna, the young Venetian pianist whose multiple prizes have included being a finalist in the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition. His masterclass at York St John University the day before had done nothing to calm the hype.
But his solo role in Prokofiev’s Third Concerto turned heads for unexpected reasons. One expected fireworks, maybe even some Mediterranean temperament. Not a bit of it. Here was a cool head on extremely musical shoulders.
Simon Wright’s orchestra, looking – and sounding – a little more svelte than in recent concerts, was restrained in the opening bars. Taverna, seeking no spotlight, fitted right in. There was no lack of passion, merely that it was subjugated to the confidentiality of the moment. He flickered over the keys with exceptional lightness of touch, more accompanist than soloist at first.
The theme and variations were delightfully varied. He took slightly more leeway in the finale, but always tastefully, without presumption, keeping a polite balance with the surrounding textures. Only in his Friedrich Gulda encore, a lightning moto perpetuo, typically jazzy, did he allow himself to reveal his ultimate mettle. Let’s have him back – soon.
Rachmaninov’s long Second Symphony might have paled by comparison. But Wright kept his players focussed, gently working up a controlled lather. The horns, so often this composer’s engine-room, excelled themselves. The Adagio had tenderness rather than unbridled schmaltz. The finale, by contrast, enjoyed a crisp, rhythmic blaze.
Il concerto “perfetto” di Beethoven per il pianista veneto Alessandro Taverna
“È una musica talmente perfetta che sembra provenire da una dimensione celeste”. Con queste parole il pianista veneto Alessandro Taverna descrive il Quarto concerto di Beethoven, che esegue domani venerdì 30 agosto alle 21 al Teatro “Luigi Russolo” di Portogruaro, per il Festival Internazionale di Musica della città. “In quest’opera – prosegue Taverna – Beethoven sembra voler superare i limiti fisici della tastiera, che non riesce a contenere il suo straripante genio creativo. È una pagina che ho suonato altre volte, anche a York, in Inghilterra, e al Bowdoin International Festival, negli Stati Uniti. Ogni volta cerco di immergermi nel respiro di questa musica, capace di raggiungere i vertici della poesia beethoveniana. Io sono originario di Caorle, ma sono cresciuto a Portogruaro, dove mi sono anche formato musicalmente, ed è sempre una grande emozione suonare qui, nell’ambito di un festival che ha un respiro sempre più internazionale”. Tra i prossimi impegni di Alessandro Taverna una tournée in autunno in Inghilterra e Scozia, e nel 2014 due debutti prestigiosissimi: al Gasteig di Monaco, con la direzione di Lorin Maazel, e al Musikverein di Vienna, la celebre sala dorata del concerto di capodanno. Il programma del concerto a Portogruaro è completato dalle prime due Sinfonie di Beethoven, eseguite dall’Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto con la direzione di Reinhard Goebel.
published Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Alessandro Taverna played a fascinating program with some contemporary pieces that are rarely played because of their difficulty for both the pianist and the audience. He did a remarkable job and should get extra credit for programming music by composers of our own time. If this were the case, perhaps we would be spared the constant diet of Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert and Liszt.
He started with Mendelssohn’s Sonata No. 3 in B-flat Major, op. 106. This is another composer who wrote delightful—and difficult—piano music and who has not yet made an appearance in this competition. Taverna completely captured the style of the composer, especially in the Scherzo, which was typical of the composer in that it is light, bright, staccato and scampering. It was good that he took the repeats because it would have made the movement too short. Taverna brought the sonata to a stylish close. This was a wonderful performance of a refreshing work and helped to clear the palate from all the German romanticism that has permeated the competition so far.
Medtner’s Sonata in F Minor, op. 53, no. 2, subtitled “Sonata Minacciosa” (“menacing sonata”) is another rarely heard work. In fact, Medtner himself is rarely heard in this country although he is popular elsewhere. Taverna gave it a fine performance, and it actually did sound rather menacing from time to time. The first movement was slightly blurred because of overuse of the pedal. However, once he got to the staccato fugal passages and eschewed the pedal altogether until adding it judicially later. He built it to an exciting climax and then pulled it back effectively. Even though a lot of his playing bordered on too loud, hard to avoid with this piece, he still had plenty of volume for the ending.
Ligeti’s Étude XIII: L’escalier du diable (“The Devil’s Staircase”) lived up to its name as the musical material kept creeping up the keyboard until it nearly ran out of notes. Taverna accented the jazz influences and played the work in such a convincing manner that you could hear comments about the composer not beings as forbidding as they thought. He held that last note for a long time, until the ring of the piano was long gone. We all held our breath.
We welcomed the young Venetian pianist Alessandro Taverna for the season’s third concert. It began with Beethoven’s fifteen ‘Eroica Variations’ on a theme from his third symphony. This was over twenty minutes of sustained virtuosity: no pauses for an orchestra, no breaks between movements: nowhere to hide: everything from the build up from a simple tune to sturm-und-drang contrasts between soft and ferociously loud, with some musical lollipops and a fugue buried deep in the score. All played with sparkling precision and alone worth the price of the ticket. Debussy’s Images Book One calmed us down with some high grade salon music before we had more red meat with Chopin’s Ballade Op 47 and the Steinway shook. We were enjoying this.
More Debussy in the second half, Images Book Two three pieces building up from simple impressionism to something more serious in its final movement. Then Busoni’s ‘Sonatina super Carmen’. We may think sonatinas are little pieces for youngsters to learn before tackling Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven but this was different: virtuoso playing peppered with popular tunes from Bizet’s opera: a sad opera maybe but fun music and resoundingly played too.
Finally Stravinsky’s Petrushka, three movements for piano, more bravura: masses of tunes, masses of notes, masses of energy, masses of precision: the cheers were so loud I missed the name of the encore. If you think this is a rave review it is: if you get the chance, go and hear this man.
The final concert of the season is at St Mary’s on 4th May when Mark Stone and Simon Lepper will bring us songs by English composers including some ‘local heroes’
from The Gloucestershire Echo
Galway Advertiser, February 07, 2013.
By Kernan Andrews
MAKE A date with Music for Galway for a Valentine’s night concert, featuring a leading Italian pianist seeking to capture the music, art, and romance of Paris in the early 1900s.
Alessandro Taverna will present Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway, on Thursday February 14 at 8pm.
Before that, at 6.45pm in the Aula Maxima’s ground floor, Adrian Le Harivel, curator of British Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, will give an illustrated talk entitled On Parade: Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the New Musical Beat.
The Ballets Russes was a Russian dance company founded and taken to Paris by impresario Sergei Diaghilev at the beginning of the 20th century. The end of the 19th century had seen developments in handling tonality, harmony, rhythm, and meter more freely which Diaghilev adapted to modern ballet.
The concert programme will feature music used for Diaghilev’s ballets: Chopin’s ‘Les Sylphides’; Liszt’s ‘Tarantella di Bravura’ from Auber’s The Mute Girl of Portici; De Falla’s ‘Three Dances’ from The Three Cornered Hat; Satie’s ‘Jack in the Box’; and Stravinsky’s Three movements from Petrouchka.
Alessandro Taverna has won numerous awards in international competitions, including first prize in the Minnesota International Piano Competition, second prize in the London International Piano Competition, and Bronze Medal at the Leeds International Piano Competition. He won the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize in 2010.