Review: Taverna, klanktowenaar – enig (a fine magician of sound)

(Die Burger, 8 August 2018) Die Italiaanse pianis Alessandro Taverna. Kapenaars kan uitsien na ’n optrede van die pianis Alessandro Taverna in die Baxter. Paul Boekkooi gee ’n voorsmakie van sy soloprogram. Met sy besoek twee jaar gelede het die Italianer Alessandro Taverna geweldig beïndruk in ’n soloprogram met Chopin en Liszt op die klankspyskaart.

Met sy toer vanjaar staan twee Franse komponiste, Debussy en Ravel, sentraal – aangevul met ’n kort Chopin-werk en Schumann se omvangryke siklus Davidsbündlertänze, opus 6, wat sy verwantskap met dié Duitse komponis omvangryk illustreer. In die openingswerk, Chopin se Barcarolle in F-kruis majeur, opus 60, het ’n eienaardige terughoudende gevoel sy vertolking oorheers. Dit is veral vreemd vir iemand soos Taverna, wat naby Venesië, die gondelstad, gebore is, om ’n gondellied-geïnspireerde klavierwerk so ingetoë te laat opklink.
Dit was bestudeerd-analities, met ’n nog enigsins te bloedarmoedige benadering tot die werk se inherente romantiese polsslag. Dit was ’n keurige uit- voering, maar sonder die dinamiese geladenheid en emosionaliteit wat dit in die klimakse benodig.
In Debussy en Ravel is hy inderdaad die teenoorgestelde: ’n bykans onnavolgbare klanktowenaar. Hier is hy, artistiek en pianisties gesproke, ’n fenomeen. Met sy perfek ontwikkelde vinger- en handaanslag, asook toweragtige pedaalbeheer, skep hy fassinerende en steeds kontrasterende klankbeelde – soms impressionisties, maar by Debussy veral meer simbolies.
In laasgenoemde se Images, boek 1, is daar inspanningslose beweeglikheid in sy spel sonder dat die argitektoniese profiele wat die musiek so beeldryk oproep enigsins aangetas word. In die drie kontrasterende werke was daar ’n perfekte balans tussen presisie en vryheid, ritme en kleur. Die weelderigheid van hierdie “beelde” was met dié benadering totaal sielsmeevoerend.
Met Ravel se Miroirs het Taverna op die Steinway van die Linder ’n ligte en tegelyk ’n fyn gedoseerde klankrykdom uit die klavier gehaal. Hoe verwikkeld so ’n proses tegnies werklik is, word in die reël nooit eintlik begryp nie, maar dit verleen aan elkeen van die ses pittoreske stukke ook ’n uiters misterieuse lading.
Hoogtepunte hier was Une barque sur l’océan, waarin ’n mens in jou geestesoog die helder Mediterreense son kon sien weerkaats op die water, terwyl in Alborado del gracioso die ritmes, die oomblikke van humor, asook die oorheersende Spaanse aura duidelik in die spel geprofileer is. In die reeds genoemde Davidsbündlertänze van Schumann verras Taverna se karakterisering by elkeen van die 18 onderdele wat uiters gekonsentreerd en stemmingsgerig is. Hy fokus met finesse op die emosionele la- ding van elkeen wat tussen erns en soms selfs ekstroverte lighartigheid wissel.
Daar is ’n kontinuïteit in die melodie- en ritmevoering wat as synde volstrek natuurlik die luisteraar bereik en meevoer. Sy Schumann klink nooit gefragmenteerd nie. Dit vereis enorme insae in vormstruktuur om juis dít te bereik.
Hopelik hoef ons nie langer as twee jaar te wag voordat Taverna weer hier ter plaatse te sien is nie.
■ Dié konsert word op 12 Augustus om 15:00 in die Brooklyn-teater in Pretoria herhaal en op 18 Augustus om 20:00 in die Baxter-teater, Kaapstad.

An English translation will be provided soon.

Captonians can look forward to an action by the Alessandro Taverna pianist in the Baxter. The classical musician writer and critique, Mr. Paul Boekkooi, gives us a taste of his solo program. With his visit two years ago, the Italian Alessandro Taverna impressed in a solo concert with Chopin and Liszt on the soundtrack. With his tour this year, two French composers, Debussy and Ravel, are centrally supplemented with a short Chopin work and Schumann’s extensive cycle Davidsbündlertänze opus 6, which illustrates its relationship with this German composer. In the opening work, Chopin’s Barcarolle in F# major, opus 60, a controlled feeling dominated his interpretation. It is especially strange for someone like Taverna, who was born near Venice, the gondola city, to make a gondola-inspired piano work so controlled. It was studied-analytically, with a less blood-red approach to the inherent romantic pulse of the work. It was a neat performance, but in a sense it lacked the dynamic load and emotional content needed in the climax. Indeed, in Debussy and Ravel he was the opposite: a virtually inimitable sound engineer. Here he is artistic and pianist speaking, a phenomenon. With his perfectly developed fingering and hand action, as well as a tower-like pedal control, he created fascinating and still contrasting sound images – sometimes impressionistic, otherwise more symbolic, as Debussy is. In the Images, Book 1, there was effortless motility in his performance without sacrificing the architectural profiles that call the music so picturesquely. In the three contrasting works there was a perfect balance between precision and freedom, rhythm and color. The lushness of these “images” was totally soul-feeding with this approach. With Ravel’s Miroirs, Taverna createed on the Steinway of the Linder Auditorium a light and at the same time a finely dosed sound from the piano. How complicate and technically demanding such a process is, it is usually never understood, but it also gives a very mysterious load to each of the six picturesque pieces. Highlights here were Une barque sur l’océan, in which you could see the bright Mediterranean sun reflecting on the water; while in Alborada del gracioso the rhythms, the moments of humor and the dominant Spanish aura were clearly reflected in his rendition. In the previously mentioned Davidsbündlertänze by Schumann, Taverna’s characterization was surprising for each of the 18 parts, that are highly concentrated and mood-oriented. He focuses with finesse on the emotional load of everyone, which varied between serious and sometimes even extroverted light heartedness. There was continuity in the melody and rhythm which, of course, reached and accompanied the listener. His Schumann never sounded fragmented. It requires enormous insight into form structure to achieve this. Hopefully, we will not have to wait for more than two years, before Taverna will again pay a visit to South Africa.

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