Reviews Excerpts

FILARMONICA DELLA SCALA
…il Secondo Concerto di Liszt, affidato alla tecnica e al pensiero lucido di Alessandro Taverna.
(IL SOLE 24 ORE, October 2016)

***

TEATRO PETRUZZELLI BARI, APRIL 2016
Mozart Concerto K466 with Orchestra dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala conducted by Michele Mariotti
il giovane solista al pianoforte, Alessandro Taverna, dotato di bella tecnica e chiara musicalità.
(CORRIERE NAZIONALE, April 2016)

***

BEETHOVEN “EMPEROR” CONCERTO AT BARBICAN YORK, FEBRUARY 2016
Alessandro Taverna was the sensitive pianist in the Beethoven. His avoidance of bravura for its own sake was intoxicating. Even at speed, notably in the last movement, his phrasing was delicately nuanced, even intimate.
(THE PRESS, February 2016)

***

TURNER SIMS CONCERT HALL, JANUARY 2016
barn-storming performances of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and La Valse. Both were stupendous… a near-flawless performance
(BACHTRACK, January 2016)

***

CASTLETON FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, JULY 2015
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 conducted by Fabio Luisi
the delicately articulated playing of soloist Alessandro Taverna…
(THE WASHINGTON POST, July 2015)

***

MEDTNER SONATAS ON SOMM RECORDINGS
. . . lovingly produced anthology . . . alert and stylish performances from Alessandro Taverna are admirable in every way.
(FANFARE, June 2015)

The grand scale and imposing architecture of the sonatas are superbly grasped by Alessandro Taverna, a fine pianist who, in this first-class recording is well worth hearing.
(GRAMOPHONE, May 2015)

Taverna catches their differing moods with consummate skill. His range of touch and tone is beguilingly wide . . . vivid interpretations. With excellent sound, this is a highly recommendable release.
(INTERNATIONAL PIANO MAGAZINE, April 2015)

BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, FEBRUARY 2015
Grieg Piano Concerto at The Lighthouse Poole, conducted by Joshua Weilerstein
Young, handsome Alessandro Taverna (the) soloist in Grieg’s ever-popular A minor Piano Concerto. The performance was fresh and vital and fully deserving of its thunderous applause. Taverna’s reading was powerful and commanding yet tenderly poetic in the quieter lyrical sections. The beautiful slow movement was particularly affecting.
(SEEN & HEARD INTERNATIONAL, February 2015)

Grieg’s Piano Concerto . . . brilliantly played . . . the cadenza was superb . . . assured and authoritative playing . . . great panache and virtuosity from Taverna . . . truly breath-taking.
(PHIL’S MUSIC JOURNAL)

***

MUNICH PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 at the Gasteig Munich and Musikverein Vienna
Taverna blended seamlessly into the orchestra, succeeding effortlessly with the most virtuosic passages. His fingers swept over the keys, and with incredible ease. A refreshing, technically very precise Prokofiev! So you can only wonder at the encore, Gulda’s “Play Piano Play” – a jazzy piece like a perpetual motion machine – why Taverna has not played much sooner in Munich?
(DAS OBERBAYRISCHEN VOLKSBLATT)

With concentrated energy Taverna burrowed sacrificially into the theatrical brilliance of the third piano concerto . . . . with virtuoso brilliance, the young “piano Tycoon” also provided as an encore a lively, ragtime-like circus number by Friedrich Gulda
(SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG)

Rarely has this piece been as poetic, lyrical and at the same time powerful as this evening.
(ABENDZEITUNG MUNCHEN)

Taught, technically perfect, rigorous interpretation by the young Italian pianist Alessandro Taverna.
(WEINER ZEITUNG)

ideal combination of excellent technique and such musicality
(WIENER KURIER)

***

ROYAL LIVERPOOL HILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, MARCH 2012 * * * * *
Grieg Piano Concerto at Leeds Town Hall
Grieg’s Piano Concerto was performed spectacularly by Alessandro Taverna. Taverna clearly enjoyed every moment and relished exploiting his virtuosity
(THE PUBLIC REVIEWS.COM)

***

WIGMORE HALL, FEBRUARY 2012
Recital for The Keyboard Trust Prizewinners’ Series
Taverna’s inconceivable energy surpassed all expectations, riding Stravinsky’s manic piano-writing like a true master, only to return to the stage twice for two high-octane encores . . . this dedication, passion and enthusiasm delighted a rapturous audience . . . showed their appreciation with a standing ovation.
(BACHTRACK.COM)

A superb recital of musical-technical skills demonstrated the sheer musicality and tonal perfection of this rare artist at his very best.
(MUSIC & VISION DAILY)

hugely impressive recital . . . he brought a blazing energy to Messiaen’s great ringing chords, the right hand adding touches of radiance like light catching the colours in a stained glass window.”
(DAILY TELEGRAPH)

a tremendously exciting evening . . .Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus, played with an ecstatic violence that took everyone’s breath away.

Taverna has the potential to become a major interpreter of 20th century music.

He hurled out Ligeti’s Etude No. 13 with a dexterity that was almost shocking. Scriabin’s Tenth Sonata which followed was all ravishing colours and intense sensuality. Finally he gave us Stravinsky’s Trois Mouvements de Pétrouchka: dazzlingly done, yet mining the music’s emotional depths. His encores brought the already enraptured audience to its feet.”
(THE GUARDIAN)

***

ROYAL CONCERT HALL NOTTINGHAM, JANUARY 2012
Recital in Sunday Morning Series
Following the recital by young Italian pianist Alessandro Taverna the conversation buzzed about the astounding virtuosity he had brought to Liszt’s Tarantella di bravura and his barnstorming encore, part of Friedrich Gulda’s frenziedly jazzy Play Piano Play. But there was so much more to him than dazzling technique.
(NOTTINGHAM POST)

***

MUSIC AT OXFORD, NOVEMBER 2011
Concert with the Royal String Quartet at Holywell Music Room, Oxford
Taverna’s playing of this work (Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor) was a sheer joy, dazzling and richly expressive by turns. He played the last movement, a Rondo, with vivacity and diamond brilliance.
(OXFORDPROSPECT.CO.UK, Nov. 2011)

***

KENDAL MIDDAY CONCERT CLUB, NOVEMBER 2011
Recital at Kendal Town Hall
Taverna is an artist with a near total command of his instrument. His Mendelssohn, his Chopin, Rachmaninov, Busoni displayed in a variety of ways, his superlative technique and musicianship. Sparkling finger dexterity, melodic flow and projection, imaginative phrasing, immaculate chord-balancing, interesting pedalling and the widest range of tonal nuance and dynamic colour were all there, seductively presented on a silver platter for our fascination and delight. .
(Westmorland Gazette 24/11/11)

***

HUDDERSFIELD MUSIC SOCIETY, OCTOBER 2011
Recital at St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield
. . . a beautifully delivered recital. Chopin’s two final Nocturnes Op. 62, Busoni’s Carmen Fantasy and Liszt’s transcription of Rossini’s overture to the opera William Tell were superbly played and deeply satisfying. Taverna led us through the musical experiments of the three composers with clarity and panache.
Huddersfield Examiner 12/10/11)

***

NEWARK MUSIC CLUB, OCTOBER 2011
Recital at Palace Theatre, Newark
. . . Alessandro Taverna gave a masterly recital of some fiendishly difficult and exciting works. The audience was again captivated by the sheer beauty and confidence of his playing.
(Newark Advertiser, Oct.2011)

***

NORTON MUSIC FESTIVAL, OCTOBER 2011
Recital at St Mary’s Church, Norton
. . . pianistic virtuosity of Taverna’s recital . . . the concert balanced musicality and sensitivity with virtuosity.
(Darlington & Stockton Times Sept.2011)

***

RUBINSTEIN RECITAL SERIES, SEPTEMBER 2011 * * * *
Recital at Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, Leeds
. . . the most poetic of the finalists in the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition . . . the most outstanding virtuoso who thrilled a capacity audience . . . played with white-heat brilliance.
(David Denton writing in the Yorkshire Post 09/09/11)

***

KILKENNY FESTIVAL, AUGUST 2011
Recital at St Canice’s Cathedral
Alessandro Taverna was at his best in an extraordinarily fluid account of Chopin’s Scherzo No. 4, the rapid finger work sounding feather light, the chorale-like melodies projected without any sense of pressure.
(Michael Dervan writing in The Irish Times 16/08/11)

***

ST MAGNUS FESTIVAL, JUNE 2011
Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Pickaquoy Centre
Remarkable young pianist Alessandro Taverna mesmerized with his articulate mastery of the keyboard, delivered with verve and genuine delight. This multi award-winning Venetian, aged just 28, is one to watch. He seamlessly exchanged parts with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra throughout Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. Stagecraft and a hint of flamboyance were there, as were beauty and eloquence in abundance
(Catherine Turnbull writing in Herald Scotland, June 2011)

***

CHOPIN SOCIETY, APRIL 2011
Recital at Westminster Cathedral Hall
A glittering performance by Alessandro Taverna . . . technically brilliant . . . playing with vigour and grace.
(Kay Kempin, Bachtrack 12/04/11)

***

KENDAL MIDDAY CONCERT CLUB, NOVEMBER 2011
Recital at the Town Hall, Kendal
Taverna is an artist with a near total command of his instrument. Each item bore witness to this – his Mendelssohn, his Chopin, Rachmaninov, Busoni and his Dohnányi displayed, in a variety of ways, his superlative technique and musicianship. Sparkling finger dexterity, melodic flow and projection, imaginative phrasing, immaculate chord-balancing, interesting pedalling and the widest range of tonal nuance and dynamic colour were all there, seductively presented on a silver platter for our fascination and delight.
(Westmorland Gazette, Nov. 2011)

***

BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY OF YORK, JANUARY 2011
Recital at Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York
It is refreshing to find a young pianist who, despite being a multiple prize-winner, is not afraid to let his fingers do the talking. There is nothing showy about Alessandro Taverna: he channels all his energy into the keyboard, shunning histrionics completely.
The result is strangely compelling. Without visual distractions the listener is drawn inexorably into Taverna’s sound-world. Intoxicating it is too. This deeply talented Venetian had devised for the British Music Society an intriguing programme of fantasies, fantasias if you like, or flights of fancy if you prefer the Elizabethan slant.
Early fantasias offer a composer licence to improvise, as in Beethoven’s Sonata “Quasi una fantasia” Op. 27 No. 1. Later ones become little more than variations, often on someone else’s themes, as in Busoni’s fantasia on Bizet’s Carmen. Opening with the Beethoven, Taverna at once revealed a sharp mind and a technique to match, typified by the lively repartee in the last movement’s Vivace section.
There were fresh ideas throughout Mendelssohn’s F sharp minor Fantasy, with delectable shadings in the closing Presto.
In Chopin’s F minor Fantasie, he dallied so teasingly that we felt the composer’s listlessness in searching for ideas. But Taverna made sense of them. His staccato virtuosity in the Busoni was breathtaking.
Schumann’s Fantasie in C is a hard nut to crack and its opening movement lacked definition. Clarity returned boldly thereafter. Despite taking some latitude with Schumann’s “soft” marking, Taverna’s finale twinkled seductively. Definitely a name to watch.

(Martin Dreyer writing in The York Press 17/01/11)

***

LEEDS INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION, SEPTEMBER 2009
Final
Like many in the audience I would have liked to see the first prize go to bronze medallist Alessandro Taverna, who played Chopin’s e minor Concerto with forthright, articulate beauty. He commanded the platform as if it were his by right, and looked to be thoroughly enjoying himself. Remember his name, I suspect we shall be hearing much more of him in the future.
(Tim Ashley writing in The Guardian 15/09/09)

The Italian Alessandro Taverna, eventually placed third, although he perhaps ought to have ranked higher on this performance alone, made lovely work of Chopin’s fiendish Piano Concerto No 1. What marked him out from some rather forced emoting elsewhere was the delight he showed in and through the music, resulting in a triumphant rondo.
(Sarah Urwin Jones writing in The Times 15/09/09)

Italy’s Alessandro Taverna, 25, took centre stage, giving a delightfully elegant performance of Chopin’s first piano concerto with mesmerizing, beautifully articulated phrases while performing with a genuine and contagious sense of enjoyment.
(Joanna Francis writing for Musolife.com 19/09/09)

Semi-Final
Another to impress was the Italian, Alessandro Taverna. Ever thoughtful, weighting the various elements of Beethoven’s Eroica Variations and infinitely detailing Scriabin’s Tenth Sonata, he threw caution to the wind in the three extracts from Stravinsky’s Petrushka. Not without error, but it excited the audience.
KEYBOARD CHARITABLE TRUST, JULY 2009
Recital, Steinway Hall London
Taverna’s perfect pedalling, synchronised with long fingers scaling their dexterous journey through J S Bach’s English Suite No. 5 in E minor, BWV 810. The remainder of the programme with its Russian-German tinges of mysticism, ornate versatility and pictorial stage craft really brought the whole thing alive. Stravinsky’s eternal barnstormer in his truncated three-movement reduction for Artur Rubinstein – Petrushka – left the piano still intact. Brilliant!
(Bill Newman writing for Music & Vision 28/07/09)

***

LONDON INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION, APRIL 2009 * * * *
Alessandro Taverna never put a finger wrong and his every note was weighed with the utmost finesse. Those who only heard his magisterial account of Chopin’s First Piano Concerto in the final won’t have twigged what a remarkable musician he is: his semi-final recital spanning Ligeti, Chopin, Bach and Stravinsky was fifty minutes of flawless poetry. Taverna sounds to me like the natural successor to his great compatriot Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli – and there’s not much higher praise than that.
(The Independent)

LONDON INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION, APRIL 2009
Final
When Alessandro Taverna followed with a magisterial account of Chopin’s First Piano Concerto, the world was suddenly suffused with grave beauty. The 26-year-old Italian is a remarkable musician, of whom we shall undoubtedly hear more: his semi-final recital, spanning Ligeti, Chopin, Bach and Stravinsky was fifty flawless minutes of poetry.
(The Independent)

Alessandro Taverna impressed mightily in Chopin’s E minor Piano Concerto. Taverna brought something special to this music. Too many pianists treat it as though they would rather be playing Liszt. Taverna refused to try and take the music by storm, finding instead a gentle melancholy, varying his tone and phrasing and bringing a maturity beyond his years . . . found his way to the music’s heart, especially in the poetry of the moonlit slow movement.
(www.classicalsource)