Archive press 2011


Saturday 19th November, 2011

Sandwiched between these acerbic works of twentieth-century composition, we heard two beautifully romantic piano pieces by Frederick Chopin, introducing the considerable pianistic skills of Venetian piano virtuoso Alessandro Taverna.  His reading of the C-sharp minor Valse op. 64 no. 2 was beautifully paced and languidly elegant, while the less familiar Eb-major Rondo op. 16 provided ample opportunity for technical display.  If the contrast between the Romantic and modern aspects of the first half was perhaps a little extreme for comfort, it was fascinating to hear separately the two elements which would unite so effectively in the second half.

The highly unusual treat which awaited us in the second half was a performance of Chopin’s E-minor Piano Concerto, with the orchestral score reduced for string quartet.  No great orchestrator, Chopin may even have originally conceived his Concerto for these forces, but this is no chamber music.  It is a fully-fledged Concerto relying on contrasting passages for soloist and strings, conceived on a large scale and harbouring at its heart the most exquisite Romance movement.  Dashing playing from Alessandro Taverna held the spotlight and he was ably supported by the Quartet, clearly enjoying their role as orchestral collaborators.  This was a performance with great panache and drama, and if fleetingly in the opening episode and at the end of the Finale I felt the need for the weight and impact of a full orchestra, the yearning soon passed and the lasting impression was extremely positive.

Alessandro Taverna sent the audience home with a waltz ringing in their ears with a stunning performance of a showy arrangement by the Hungarian composer/virtuoso Erno Dohnanyi of the Schatz Waltz op 418 by Johann Strauss.

D James Ross

An Evening of Polish Music

“Alessandro Taverna and the Royal String Quartet at the Holywell Music Room on Friday 25th November 2011.”

By:Julia Gasper 26 November 2011.

This concert given by the impressive young pianist Alessandro Taverna and the Royal String Quartet had a Polish theme and without a doubt the performances were all polished to perfection.

Taverna, who has won a string of international prizes, played three works by Chopin, the first and last being familiar. His performance of the familiar Waltz in C Sharp minor op. 64 no. 2 was mature and full of insight. There is no doubt that he possesses that special something that enables one to play Chopin. His speed was unhurried and he offered interesting detail such as the highlighting of the right hand thumb notes in bars 49-60 and on the last page, creating just the kind of hidden melody that Chopin loved. He followed this with the Introduction and Rondo in E flat major Op.16, a piece frankly written for virtuoso display. Taverna played with superb virtuosity, poise and distinction, not forgetting a touch of wit here and there. This sparkled like vintage champagne.

The Royal String Quartet, a group of young players from Poland, performed two modern works by Polish composers. The string quartet no, 1 by Gorecki was full of experimental effects and rough textures like raw silk or tree bark. The piece starts with eerie, foggy, groping sounds made by the bow high on the bridge and works up to a loud and frenetic climax before fading away to end with a calm, single note like a beam of pale sunlight. The String Quartet no. 2 by Szymanowski also made unconventional demands on the players, who used spiccato and tremolando to conjure up a range of ghostly sounds. The second movement blends pizzicato and bold discords, closing with a flourish of such bravado that it brought a smile to some of the audience. The last movement is a fugue whose wistful theme soon grows into a sharp-toothed monster, flailing its wings and breathing fire. The rapport between these four talented players is remarkable, they seem to live and breathe together.

In the second half all the players joined to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in E minor, a much-loved work of unsurpassable poetry and lyricism. It is more familiar in arrangements for a full orchestra, who can however feel under-utilized as their parts are not equal to the piano’s dominant role. Taverna’s performance of this work was a sheer joy, dazzling and richly expressive by turns. He played the last movement, a Rondo with vivacity and diamond brilliance. (Its sprightly theme is in my opinion meant to be an “ecossaise”, a then fashionable Scottish dance – so much for the Polish theme!) I have no doubt that Alessandro Taverna is a player whose reputation will go on growing, and I will be eager to hear him again if he ever returns to this part of the world.

Julia Gasper.

(Oxford Prospect)

Review of Thurso Live Music Concert, November 21, 2011

The audience at the recent concert organised by the Thurso Live Music Association had the pleasure of hearing the Royal String Quartet of Warsaw and the Italian pianist Alessandro Taverna. They gave a programme of Polish music opening with the first string quartet of Gorecki who is probably best known for his third symphony which became very popular in the 1990s. […]

After the tempestuous opening work there then followed two piano solos, given by Alessandro Taverna, of pieces by Chopin. From turmoil the mood now turned to beauty which can only describe Chopin’s music. The first work was the well known Valse in C sharp minor with a performance which held the audience wrapped in wonder. Such was the interpretation given by the soloist. The next work was the Introduction and Rondo, a work perhaps not so well known but most enjoyable and it was given a lively and spirited performance by such a gifted pianist.

To conclude the first part of the programme, the quartet then gave a performance of Szymanowsky’s second string quartet. This was very different music to that of Gorecki. The ponderous opening movement was clearly influenced by folk music and the excitement of the very fast pizzicato playing in the second showed the high standard of performance of this group of young musicians.

After the interval the recital was dedicated to one work, the arrangement for piano and string quartet of Chopin’s first Piano Concerto. No music could be more beautiful and tuneful than this, in a work which is so well known. Having been written for orchestra rather than quartet one might expect that a quartet version would be unbalanced, but this was not so. The balance was perfect and such a fine performance by the soloist made it a very memorable occasion. It has been said that whatever else is in the programme the audience should be sent away with music they could sing and that was certainly the case.

To have musicians of such a high international standard performing in Thurso, audience are very fortunate and it would cost many times the price of a ticket to hear the same concert by the same group of musicians in one of the capital cities.

John O’Groat Journal

Striking contrasts as quartet returns alongside Taverna

Royal String Quartet and Alessandro Taverna at the John Innes Centre, Norwich

Welcome back again in Norwich, the Royal String Quartet shared the platform with the Italian pianist Alessandro Taverna in a programme of Romantic and modern music from Poland.
The Valse in C sharp minor had the grace and rhythmic flexibility that express the nature of Fryderyk Chopin, his delicious moments of seeming hesitation and sudden brief bursts of high spirits.
Performing his E minor Concerto in a version by the contemporary composer Bartlomiez Kominek that arranged the orchestral score for a string quartet might have been a let down.
In fact it worked very well. The strings, especially the cello and the viola, found character and varieties of tones that suggested quite colourful accompaniment, and the nimble soloist never had to struggle to make his points.
The second movement, in the form of a romance, had its full emotional charge, and the Rondo was better still. Echoing the pulse of folk dances, it had a sense of freedom from serious concerns as it kept on toyinh with its catchy motif.

Christopher Smith

(Eastern Daily Press, November 29, 2011)

Review of the recital at Kendal Town Hall

Kendal Midday Concerts Club

Wednesday, November 16

Alessandro Taverna, a young Venetian pianist, recently excited the always discerning members of the Kendal Midday Concert Club rather more than is usual. He was but a few bars into his recital but already it was apparent that here was a pianist for whom every note, every chord and every phrase was of the greatest importance; his music-making, in fact, stimulated the senses in much the same way as does a visit to his native city. In it were moments of sheer beauty, interpretations demonstrating his understanding of musical architecture plus the surest sense of taste and refinement, all of which gave rise to a feeling of wonderment.

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.

Brian Paynes.

Alessandro Taverna at Newark’s Palace Theatre

Top pianist tackles difficult pieces

ALESSANDRO TAVERNA made a great impression on all who heard him at the last Leeds International Piano Competition and many members of the audience, including the Newark contingent, felt that he should have won.
That opinion was confirmed at Newark Music Club’s first concert at the Palace Theatre, Newark, on Saturday, when he gave a masterly recital of some fiendishly difficult and exciting works.
There is no more demanding composer for the piano than Liszt and we were treated to three of his works, which tested the soloist’s technique and musicianship to the utmost level.
Liszt’s piano transcriptions of major works by other composers are legendary and the climax of the programme was an exhilarating version of Rossini’s William Tell Overture.
Alessandro managed to conjure up all the colours of the orchestra, from the sombre andante, the violent storm and the final gallop that was played at breakneck speed but with great accuracy of detail.
The two other Liszt pieces were equally impressive, especially the Tarantella Bravura, whose title inspored some dazzling techinque and style.
Other works by Mendelssohn and Busoni were interspersed by a tranquil oasis of two Chopin Nocturnes Opus 62. These pieces demonstrated the soloist’s all-round musicianship and were played with great delicacy and sensitivity . His control of the many light and sustained trills was exquisite and proved what a complete artist Alessandro is.
I’m sure many would have welcomed more Chopin for his encore but he chose another Liszt transcription – Wagner’s Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde. The audience was again captivated by the sheer beauty and confidence of his playing.
Alessandro is booked to appear at this year’s Nottingham Classic Concert Piano Series, but we were privileged to hear him first in Newark. An awe-inspiring experience – GRF

Newark Advertiser, October 2011


VENUE: St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield REVIEW: By Chris Robins

The slighter works in the second half of Huddersfield Music Society’s opening concert of the 2011-12 season were the most fascinating played by pianist Alessandro Taverna, a prize-winner at the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition, in a beautifully delivered recital.
Chopin’s two final Nocturnes Op 62, Busoni’s Carmen Fantasy and Liszt’s Transcription of Rossini’s The overture to the opera William Tell, especially its high-energy finale, is a very familiar work composed by Gioachino Rossini. There has been repeated use (and sometimes parody) of this overture in the popular media, most famously for being the theme music for the    – all essentially operatic – were superbly played and deeply satisfying.
The Liszt was obviously dramatic, the composer and Alessandro Taverna recreating Rossini and showing off their virtuosity while experimenting harmonically.
Chopin too soaked up Italian bel canto – the reflective Bellini style rather than the full-on Rossini – while bending its tonality, in music, quality by which all tones of a composition are heard in relation to a central tone called the keynote or tonic.
Busoni’s hero, Liszt, showed him the way to marry German and Italian styles and develop his own extensions of harmonic and atmospheric possibility that later became standard sound-worlds for 20th century composers.
Taverna led us through the musical experiments of the three composers with clarity and panache.
His choice of encore – Liszt’s Transciption of the Tristan and Isolde
Lovers in a medieval romance based on Celtic legend. The hero Tristan goes to Ireland to ask the hand of the princess Isolde for his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall.  final scene – seemed inevitable, as the tonal and harmonic developments of Chopin, Busoni and Liszt he had guided us through had pointed in Wagner’s direction all evening!

The Huddersfield Examiner, 12 October 2011


ST MARY CHURCH (Review on the Norton Music Festival’s Piano Recital on 20th September 2011)

A SECOND concert at St Mary’s saw the welcome return by the Leeds prizewinning finalist, Alessandro Taverna.

The recital began with Mozart’s Fantasia, K.397, displaying sensitivity to pace and nuance, qualities also expressed in the dance rhytms of the trio of Chopin Valses Brillantes, of op 34/1-3, and the earlier, more expansive Grande Valse Brillante, op. 18.
This year’s Liszt bi-centenary was marked with three of the composer’s darker works, all in one way or another concerned with death: his Sunt Rerum Lachrimae, en mode Hongrois (There are tears, in the Hungarian style) reflects on the battles of the Trojan War; La Lugubre Gondola (II) imagines Wagner’s funeral procession and, as the finale of the formal programme, the virtuoso effects of Totentanz (Dance of Death).
No less brilliant were the projection of Busoni’s Chamber Fantasy on Bizet’s opera Carmen and the two encores of Liszt’s transcription of the Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde and one of Friedrich Gulda’s jazz-based pieces. […]

Dave Robson

(The Darlington and Stockton Times, 7/10/2011)


Forte di prestigiosi riconoscimenti all’estero, Alessandro Taverna non nasconde l’amarezza per il quinto premio al ‘Busoni’. Tuttaviala competizione di Bolzano ha confermato le caratteristiche di questo pianista venetoche si distingue per l’approccio nobile allo strumento, profondità di analisi e tanta umiltà


Credo sia naturale che i semimenti dopo la mia avventura al ‘Busoni’ siano contrastanti: se da una parte c’è la consapevolezza per aver vissuto un’esperienza musicale esaltante, dall’altra resta il rammarico per un risultato controverso, non condiviso da tutti’.

Così si è espresso il pianista nato nel 1983 a Portogruaro, formatosi presso le più prestigiose istituzioni musicali italiane (la Scuola di Portogruaro con Rattalino, l’Accademia di Imola sotto la guida di Scala, Margarius e Petrushansky, quindi il diploma con lode presso l’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia solto la guida di Perticaroli), ma che proprio all’estero ha riscosso i riconoscimenli più importanti. Nella bacheca di Alessandro Taverna figurano trofei di tutto rispetto, come un primo premio al “Minnesota International Piano Competition”, un secondo al “London Piano Comperition”, un terzo al ‘Leeds” e un premio speciale ad ‘Hamamatsu”.  In questo periodo il pianista veneto si perfeziona sotto la guida di William Grant Naboré presso l’lnternational Piano Academy e con Arie Vardi presso l’Hochschule di Hannover.

Hai al tuo attivo prestigiosi premi vinti, ma il tuo modo di suonare sfugge ai concorsi.
Come lo definiresti?

Nei concorsi internazionali siamo esposti a un tipo di pianismo aggressivo, che a volte ci dà la sensazione di partire per la guerra: è un peccato, in questo modo si dimentica la morbidezza del fraseggio e anche l’indulgenza verso una poesia, una nobiltà che come italiano sono contento di rivendicare. Siamo o non siamo figli della tradizione del belcanto?

Che cosa apprezzi delle competizioni e cosa invece ti piace meno?

L’aspetto positivo è certamcnte la possibilità di entrare in contatto con le realtà concertistiche internazionali: per me è successo così dopo Leeds, Londra e Minneapolis, premi che mi hamno consentito di orientare la mia attività artistica nel Regno Unito e in America. Ciò che mi piace di meno è l’imprevedibilità dei concorsi.

Come ti sci preparato al ‘Busoni’?

Leggendo e ascoltando molto, cercando di intuire checosa ha ispirato il compositore e approfondendo il contesto storico-culturale. Più in generale la mia preparazione va nella direzione di cercare con la più grande sincerità il messaggio del compositore.

(Suonare News, Ottobre 2011)


Un repertorio inusuale e applaudito

Dopo la pausa estiva ha ripreso domenica, nell’Auditorio Stelio Molo a Lugano, la rassegna «Celebrating Liszt», promossa dalla Piano Association International con la collaborazione di RSI Rete Due e del Corriere del Ticino. Grandissimo protagonista è stato il ventisettenne pianista italiano Alessandro Taverna che ha proposto un repertorio inusuale, all’insegna della «Dannazione e culto della morte», comprendente, ad eccezione del Totentanz, alcune pagine ritenute minori, ma non prive di significato, composte negli ultimi dieci anni della sua vita; quindi opere della maturità. Il programma ha ruotato sostanzialmente intorno a tre personaggi fondamentali: lo stesso Liszt, Bulow e Wagner, strettamente legati fra loro per vari motivi, familiari e artistici.

Nessuno come Liszt ha probabilmente incarnato meglio le varie connotazioni del Romanticismo: dall’enfasi sentimentale alla meditazione religiosa, dal sentimento nazionale all’aspirazione all’assoluto, dall’abbandono alla natura al fascino per il misterioso e il demoniaco. Di tutti questi aspetti – evidenti in Sunt lacrymae rerum, en mode hongrois, La lugubre gondola (seconda versione), Am Grabe Richard Wagners e Isoldens Liebestod (Richard Wagner) – Liszt è stato interprete ammirevole con la sua musica che si è sviluppata in tutti i generi e in una miriade di forme passando dal pianismo «trascendentale» e virtuosistico al rigore della musica sacra, dalla tradizione all’apertura verso la «musica dell’avvenire», wagneriana soprattutto.

È innegabile che il pianoforte, per Liszt, sia uno specchio trasparente e pulito nel quale si riflette l’animo interiore del compositore. Alessandro Taverna, grazie alla sua spiccata musicalità, ha regalato ampie e profonde emozioni. È piaciuto per la scioltezza di mano, la precisione tecnica, la qualità del suono e il fraseggiare cristallino. Ha suonato con intensità, brillantezza, eleganza e gusto straordinari; la sua è stata una lezione d’intelligenza e finezza che ha lasciato un segno profondo. La sua fantasia interpretativa è stata in grado di affrontare il lirismo più estenuato e i passaggi più spiccatamente virtuosistici. Essenziale il suo approccio alle musiche eseguite. Solido sia sul piano tecnico sia espressivo: tocco incisivo, pulizia nei dettagli, articolazione sempre chiara e precisa.

Due i bis concessi: la Tarantella di bravura di Liszt e la Danza russa di Stravinskij.

Alberto Cima

Il Corriere del Ticino, 20 Settembre 2011

Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall, Leeds

Alessandro Taverna

Eileen Caiger Gray

Friday 9 September 2011

Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall, Leeds

Sun 4th Sept 2011

Our virtuoso pianist today in Leeds University’s bright and beautiful Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall, was Alessandro Taverna, winner of major piano competitions across the world, including third prize in 2009 in our own much revered Leeds International Piano Competition, which has instigated this series of recitals by former sparkling prize winners.

Taverna ( – he of the aristocratic profile and usefully long fingers) chose a great programme of much loved music for this full house audience. Variations were on the agenda for the first half, with Beethoven’s 15 Variations and Fugue (Eroica Variations) followed by Liszt’s Totentanz, while the second half brought Debussy, Busoni, and a tribute to pianist Artur Rubinstein in the form of three movements of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka (adapted and written specifically for Rubinstein by Stravinsky). Our erstwhile engineering student, turned pianistic world-touring virtuoso, took all these far-ranging technical demands in his masterly stride.

The Italian is certainly at his flamboyant, fiery best wherever music demands thundering proclamation, pounding majesty, brittle percussion or blurry-handed speed and energy. The dark, diabolic relentlessness of the heavy march of death in Liszt’s Totentanz earned great applause, while the majestic moments of Busoni’s Toreador (a la Carmen), and the freshness and fireworks in his spiky, frenetically percussive puppet, Petrouchka, likewise thrilled.

In quieter moments, as in Debussy’s Images, in which the piano’s notes are required to conjure up bells that ring like crystal through shimmering leaves, the cool magic of silvery moonlight, or darting golden fishes, some listeners might be hoping, perhaps, for an added delicacy and lightness of touch, for more rounded shapes and nuance, sometimes for something more mellow, elements that might enrich the mood further still, drawing listeners inside the music to hold them there, rapt, floating. The demanded encore, though, was an uplifting humdinger of a piece that had those urgent, racy, pacy fingers letting rip in magnificent, jazzy style with some Play, Piano, Play from Gulda. Wonderful stuff!

Dame Fanny Waterman thanked sponsors and supporters of this illustrious competition, hoping funding will continue to be found, and that exciting, new players will continue to come to Leeds and do full justice to the exceptionally fine instruments, handpicked from Hamburg by the Dame herself. Taverna showed what a thoroughly charming, warm-hearted young man he is as he thanked Dame Fanny and Leeds (his second, very special, home) for their generosity, help and support in his career, before a smiling, enthusiastic audience gave thunderous thanks once more for a delightful afternoon. – 9th September 2011

Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, Leeds

Review: Alessandro Taverna ****

By David Denton

Published on Friday 9 September 2011 11:22

At Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, Leeds
We could hardly have guessed that this young Italian, the most poetic of the finalists in the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition, would develop into the outstanding virtuoso who thrilled a capacity audience in a recital series devoted to the three major prizewinners.
His competition account of Beethoven’s Eroica Variations is now expressed with greater weight, while the capricious moments engender a more welcome degree of fantasy and rhythmic freedom.
He has also developed the physical stamina that can take him through to the end of very exacting programmes. His flawed readings of Stravinsky’s three scenes from the ballet Petrouchka, that have often concluded his concerts, now ooze with confidence.
He certainly did not spare himself Liszt’s awesomely challenging Totentanz and Busoni’s Sonatina No 6 a prodigiously difficult showpiece on themes from Bizet’s Carmen played with white-heat brilliance.
Yet briefly he was to remind us that we had exchanged all this for his undeniable gift of creating the shimmering sounds he brings to such works as Debussy’s second set of Images. But, there again, poetic beauty does not sell concerts nowadays.

Catch Taverna at Helmsley’s Arts Centre, Nov 13, 7.30pm. 01439 771700

The Yorkshire Post, 9 September 2011

Review on the Piano Recital for the Kilkenny International Arts Festival (Ireland)

Played by four hands or two, piano comes to the fore in Kilkenny

THE PIANO was the keyboard of choice over the closing weekend of Kilkenny Arts Festival. And Friday lunchtime brought a rare outing of piano duets played by the Cápová sisters, Rebecca and Kirsten.
It was striking on Friday evening that Alessandro Taverna’s two hands managed to creates a range of textures and colours that the Cápová’s four had only hinted at. Taverna is best known in these islands for his success at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2009, when he was placed third.
He played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata with cool, clear lines, took a rather romantic approach two of György Ligeti’s metrically intricate studies ( Fém and L’escalier du diable ), was less than comfortable with the suggestiveness of the second book of Debussy’s Images, and imposed such order on Stravinsky’s Three Movements from Petrushka that the clarity he achieved was ultimately too black and white. He was at his best in an extraordinarily fluid account of Chopin’s Scherzo No. 4, the rapid fingerwork sounding featherlight, the chorale-like melodies projected without any sense of pressure.

Michael Dervan, The Irish Times (16 August 2011)

Festival Macrocosmi – Jesi, 1 luglio 2011

I virtuosismi di Taverna esaltano il pubblico del Moriconi

Il concerto di Alessandro Taverna dello scorso venerdì al teatro “Moriconi” è decisamente stato il modo migliore per celebrare il bicentenario della nascita di Franz Liszt. Del grande pianista e compositore ungherese era in programma un’impegnativa “Tarantella”, nonché una trascrizione per pianoforte della celebre overture del “Guglielmo Tell” di Rossini. Senza contare le “Variazioni e fuga” di Beethoven, un celebre “Notturno” di Chopin e tre movimenti dal balletto “Pétrouchka” firmati Stravinsky.
Un programma, insomma, che per difficoltà tecnica può essere paragonato ad un gran premio della montagna: virtuosismi preziosi, di ieri e di oggi, si intrecciano scorrendo le partiture romantiche, per poi cedere il passo agli impressionanti pieni delle trascrizioni operistiche, fino alle acrobazie armoniche dello sperimentalismo che ha segnato il Novecento musicale. Nulla, tuttavia, che potesse impensierire il giovane pianista veneto. Taverna, classe 1983, ha colpito il pubblico per la sicurezza mostrata nei passaggi più tecnici di ogni esecuzione; la sua interpretazione, inoltre, si caratterizza per freschezza e intensità nella resa ritmica e coloristica. Un grande talento, non c’è dubbio – peraltro già vincitore del concorso “Scriabin” di Grosseto e membro dal 2010 della International Piano Academy Lake Como – al quale augurare di continuare con successo il proprio percorso artistico.

da Fabrizio Chiappetti

(VivereJesi, 4 luglio 2011)

Review on St Magnus International Festival

rassegna-stampa-2011-2012-2013.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro


Pianist Alessandro Taverna

St Magnus International Festival

Remarkable young pianist Alessandro Taverna mesmerised through his articulate mastery of the keyboard, delivered with verve and genuine delight in the playing of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. This multi award-winning Venetian, aged just 28, is one to watch. He exchanged parts seamlessly with the orchestra throughout. Stage craft and a hint of flamboyance was there, though showy would be too strong a term.

There was a full house among the St Magnus Chorus too, with a powerhouse of 160 local voices for Mozart’sRequiem. After a minor moment of mis-timing in the Introitus, they were off like a freight train for the Kyrie eleison.
This was a slightly alarming up tempo experience, but the infectiousness worked before conductor Thierry Fischer reined the chorus in for more magisterial darkness. The exquisite soprano Katharine Fuge, mezzo Pamela Helen Stephen, tenor Robin Tritschler and baritone Richard Morrison were all outstanding.
Fischer erred on the light and Romantic side rather than the ceremonial Baroque, but enthusiastically whipped the chorus into a superb force for the vocal climaxes to great emotional effect when needed.
Chorus director Glenys Hughes is to be congratulated for shaping an outstanding and moving performance of the Requiem, the chorus was magnificent, while Fischer, the dynamo at the heart of the SCO, kept a perfect beat.
[Catherine Turnbull writing in Herald Scotland, June 2011]

By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent

The Telegraph, 19 June 2011

Gb: il compositore di Corte propone una multa se squilla il telefonino nei concerti

Sir Peter Maxwell Davis ha proposto di introdurre una legge che vieti e punisca l’uso delle suonerie dei cellulari

i molestatori sono per il musicista «colpevoli di terrorismo artistico»

Sir Peter Maxwell Davis ha proposto di introdurre una legge che vieti e punisca l’uso delle suonerie dei cellulari

MILANO – Una multa per un nuovo crimine: il terrorismo artistico. L’idea tutta inglese è di un eccentrico compositore e direttore d’orchestra, famoso per la sua intransigenza verso le contaminazioni musicali e la semplificazione troppo moderna di stili e motivetti musicali. Sir Peter Maxwell Davis, dal 2004 compositore ufficiale della Corte inglese di Buckingam Palace, ha lanciato la sua ennesima provocazione e ha proposto di introdurre una legge che vieti e punisca l’uso delle suonerie dei cellulari nel corso di performance artistiche a ritmo di musica.

L’IDEA – Il compositore sta cercando l’appoggio delle compagnie telefoniche per incoraggiare a un sistema punitivo nei confronti dei maleducati che, nonostante cartelli e buon senso indichino quanto sia appropriato azzerare il volume delle suonerie, perseverano nel dimenticarle accese. Rovinando concerti, performance artistiche, riempiendo spesso quei silenzi ricchi di suspense nel corso di un evento musicale. Sir Davis non ha mezzi termini nel chiamare questi noncuranti «terroristi artistici» e nel pensare che tale terrorismo sia un crimine da punire con una pena pecuniaria: «Nella metà dei casi oltretutto i disturbatori hanno suonerie oscene e personalizzate, non si tratta quindi solo di un telefono che suona, ma anche di terribile musica rock o motivi banali. E tutto ciò non aiuta la concentrazione dell’artista e del suo pubblico, rompendo quel legame speciale tra loro», afferma Sir Davis intervistato dalla stampa britannica a fine di un concerto dell’italiano Alessandro Taverna di pochi giorni fa. Evento disturbato, ovviamente, da qualche suoneria inopportuna.

CROCIATA ANTI CATTIVA MUSICA – Il maestro di musica della Regina Elisabetta, che ha composto anche diversi temi per il matrimonio tra William e Kate, non è nuovo a crociate anti cattiva musica. A inizio anno lanciò il suo anatema contro la cosiddetta «lift music», quel genere di canzoni di accompagnamento da ascensore, appunto, ma anche da bar, che disturbano il silenzio per riempirlo di note poco artistiche. Insieme alla lift music, il maestro Peter puntò il dito contro le attese al telefono condite da note gracchianti, e tutti i casi in cui l’arte musicale venga usata a sproposito. La musica, parola di Sir Peter Maxwell, è una cosa seria.

Eva Perasso

20 giugno 2011


Ceaikovski si Enescu, nu Ceaikovski versus Enescu – o competitie in care ambii concurenti s-au clasat pe locul 

Maria Monica Bojin

Vineri, 27 Mai 2011 , ora 12.03

Reunirea tradiţiei şi a interpretării personale

Ar trebui să încercaţi şi varianta propusă joi, 26 mai 2011, Concertului nr. 1 pentru pian şi orchestră de Ceaikovski de către maestrul Horia Andreescu, Orchestra Filarmonicii “George Enescu” şi pianistul Alessandro Taverna. Poate o veţi găsi prea romantică, poate prea grijuliu interpretată în ceea ce-l priveşte pe ansamblul simfonic; însă veţi găsi cu certitudine muzica majestuoasă şi un solist care ştie să scoată din pian, chiar dacă într-un tempo cam reţinut, tot ceea ce vă aşteptaţi să fie acest concert.

Dacă aveţi interpretări favorite, mai ales când este vorba de o lucrare celebrissimă pe care o fredonează toată lumea cap-coadă, ştiţi ce înseamnă să o auziţi într-o versiune inferioară. Descalificaţi total noul muzician fără a-i acorda măcar şansa reuşitei într-un alt repertoriu. Nu este cazul lui Alessandro Taverna, un tânăr care a avut strălucire, amploare, virtuozitate, lirism, fiori, delicateţe, sunete cristaline, o relaţie cu instrumentul pe care l-a controlat sau de care s-a lăsat dus. Petra Gherasim, împreună cu care am ascultat concertul, declara că lui Taverna i-a lipsit forţa, pe care o susţine imperioasă unei creaţii ruse şi că l-ar vedea mai bine într-un Chopin. A avut dreptate în aceea că în partea a II-a, foarte chopin-iană în triluri, subţirime şi diafan, pianistul a avut momente excelente, la fel şi în mişcarea finală, de virtuozitate constantă.

Enescu: român, european, doinit, romantic

Aplauzele au fost însă, surprinzător dacă te gândeşti că au urmat acestui Concert pentru pian de Ceaikovski, la fel de bogate în finalul părţii a doua a serii, când maestrul Horia Andreescu a dirijat o Simfonie a 2-a de George Enescu impecabilă. Este un mister şi o caracteristică extrem de preţioasă a compozitorului faptul că este imediat identificabil ca Enescu, român, european – în acelaşi timp. Sunt motive muzicale într-o alunecare treaptă cu treaptă, într-o sfârşeală specifică doinei de jale, încorporate într-o lucrare foarte romantică în avânt, expansivitate, plinătate sonoră, wagneriană în leitmotivul care străbate întreaga lucrare. Orchestra lui Enescu este supradimensionată, cu adaos de pian şi cu o partidă uriaşă de suflători foarte bine utilizată, care colorează, aduce mister şi exotism stravinskian şi care cade apoi în cea mai frumoasă melodie de tip popular românesc. Iar în partea a treia, Enescu a realizat un marş sumbru care îţi făcea realmente frică – şi să amintesc şi motivul melodic minim, atât de inspirat că te întrebi cum poate încăpea aşa multă muzică şi aşa multă expresie în 4 sunete descendente.

Întru totul, Simfonia a 2-a de Enescu este unul din motivele pentru care muzicienii din afara României se bucură când îl descoperă pe acest compozitor, pentru că descoperă o bogăţie de-a dreptul incredibilă.

Maria Monica Bojin

Review – Grand Tchaikovsky Gala, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Derngate, Northampton, May 8th 2011

An almost full house to see another concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Derngate in Northampton – a Grand Tchaikovsky Gala. So you knew in advance it was going to be a musically bumptious night and as usual the Royal Philharmonic were well up for the job. Our conductor for the evening was Grzegorz Nowak, whose biography in the programme virtually filled up two pages. He’s a commanding figure on the podium – sometimes looking avuncular, sometimes stern; imposingly broad-shouldered he sways stiffly with his baton and clearly goes to the same hairdresser as Boris Johnson.

First on offer was Marche Slave, which I don’t think I’d heard before. It’s kind of Tchaikovsky by numbers, and almost every style of music of which you think he’d be capable is crammed into this piece. So it makes for a stimulating introduction, but it’s not something you’d go out of your way to check back on.

Much more rewarding was the Piano Concerto No 1, with soloist Alessandro Taverna (I’m sure that’s a bistro in Corfu). When he walks on to the stage he looks slight and unassuming; he reminded me of the young Roger Rees in Nicholas Nickleby when he’s all earnest and insecure. He took a while to get comfortable on the piano stool too, with his jacket tails getting stuck in an out-of-focus position. But once he started, he was genius! His playing was really superb. He captured the drama and romanticism of the piece, and provided the necessary light and shade to break up the otherwise relentless Tchiakovskiness of the evening. I didn’t get past Grade IV piano so I’m no judge but I don’t think he put a foot or indeed a hand wrong in the entire piece. The audience loved it and gave him possibly the warmest reception I’ve heard at one of these concerts. As a treat afterwards he encored with a short jazzy piece from Friedrich Gulda’s “Play Piano Play” which really showed his skill and bravura.

After the interval we got the Capriccio Italien (which is not, as I had originally thought, an antipasto) which seemed to be a lot of introductory fanfare but then turning out a bit insubstantial as a piece. Fantastic sound from the brass section though. Then there were some extracts from the Nutcracker, and you realise as you hear them what terrific short tunes they are. Putting them together like that is like having a plate of five sweet cakes which you eat one after another. Gorgeous whilst you’re munching, but quickly over, and providing a slight feeling of sickliness afterwards. Mrs Chrisparkle and I also observed that it is impossible to hear “Dance of the Mirlitons” without singing to oneself “everyone’s a fruit and nutcase” a la Frank Muir.

The final piece was (surprise surprise) the 1812 Overture. Chance for the percussion to rule, and they took the opportunity magnificently. I particularly liked the incessantly clanging chimes and of course the cannon sounds made by what sounded like the most intimidatingly large drum imaginable. It was all very enthralling and enjoyable. Again the audience responded most warmly and with great respect. Shame the two violinists furthest stage right at the front couldn’t have suspended their conversation during the applause. There’s no greater way of dissing the audience! Anyway, small cavil. We had a great time, and look forward to the RPO’s return next month!

Review of the Recital for the Sunderland Pianoforte Society

Alessandro Taverna : Review of concert Tuesday 12th April 2011

Alessandro Taverna  is  a  virtuoso  pianist  from  Italy  where  he  still  lives  and  teaches.

His  programme  of  works  by Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky  and  Friedrich Gulda  was  an  extremely  challenging  one  for  any  young  pianist  and  constitued a  very  “physically  demanding” set  of  pieces.

He  began  with  Beethoven’s “Eroica” Variations  Op.35.  This  is  an  important  masterwork  from  the  pen  of  the  great  German  from Bonn.  Alessandro’s  performance  reminded us  of  the  massive  stature  of  the  work and  the  audience  was  mightily  pleased.

The  Chopin  pieces  were  those  two  lovely  Nocturnes of  Op.62.  Not  too  frequently  played  at  concerts, and  Taverna  completely  changed  his  style  and  approach  for  these  delicate  masterpieces.  Absolutely  ravishing  and  the  audience  clearly  loved  every  bar  of  Alesandro’s  convincing  interpretation, handling Chopin’s  intricate  melodic  decorations with style  and  perfectly  controlled  delicacy.

The  Rachmaninov  piece  was  that  lovely  little  separate  Polka  that  he  wrote  for  and  sent  to  his  father  labelling  it  with  “dad’s”  initials:  “Polka de V.R.”  Another wonderful  performance  that  appropriately  led  us  into  the  interval.

The  audience  especially  enjoyed  Liszt’s  amazing  reconstruction  for  piano  of  Rossini’s  famous  overture to “William  Tell”.  This  opened  Alesandro’s  second  half  and  set  the  scene  for  piano  fireworks  throughout  this  section.  The  demands  that  Liszt  makes  in  this  Rossini  simply  have  to  be  witnessed  to  be  believed.  If  you  were  listening  to  a  CD  recording  you  would  swear  that  there  were  two  clever  pianists  at  work.  The  result  was  highly  entertaining  and  certainly  an  “audience  winner”  with  all  those  lovely  tunes  and  the  exciting  final  gallop  that  everyone  knows  so  well.

This  was  followed  by  an  equally  stunning  set  of  reductions for  piano  of  orchestral  scores.  This  time  Stravinsky  himself  produced  piano  versions of  three  tableaux  from  his  own ballet  “Petrushka” for  his  friend  Artur  Rubinstein  back  in  1921.  This  is  a  simply  colossal  task  taken  on  brilliantly  to  produce  the  sonorous  effects  of  Stravinsky’s  full  orchestral  colours for  a  single  piano.  This, too, is  a  very  demanding  collection  and  the  pianist  has  to  know  the  orchestral  score  in  his  mind  to  make  sense  of  all  the  things  that  are  happening  in  this  piano  transcription.  Alessandro  Taverna  succeeded  magnificently  with  his  flawless  technique. The  audience, which  was  the  largest  the  Society  had  had  all  season, was  gripped  by  the  sheer  poetry  and  total  excitement  of  Taverna’s  performance.  The  recital  ended  with  two  of  Friedrich  Gulda’s  “Jazz Pieces”.

This  was  a  man  who  had  three  distinct  careers: as  a world  famous  interpreter of  all  the  great  classical  masterpieces ,including  concertos: as  a  composer  in  his  own  right  of  hundreds of pieces; and  finally  as  a  Jazz  Pianist  who  had  an  amazing  technique and  was  astonishing  when  it  came  to  that  basic  requirement  of  the  Jazz World – improvisation.  These  two  pieces  were  like  virtuoso  show pieces  in  their  own  style – and  thus  furiously difficult  both  rhythmically  and  with  so  many  notes  and  octaves  flying  all  around  the  keyboard.  This  brought  the  audience  to  its  feet with  cheers  and  a  number  of  “curtain calls”.  Alesandro  Taverna  responded with  a  complete  Chopin  “Valse  Brillante” that  everyone  loved and  which was  played  with  satisfying  clarity  and  panache  at  quite  a  crisp  and  effective  speed.  A  wonderful  evening  of  the  finest  quality  music  making.

Posted on 15/04/2011 by Sunderland Pianoforte Society

Review of the Recital at Westminster Cathedral Hall, London

The Chopin Society UK: A Little Known Gem in London

Alessandro Taverna, Piano

As the sun dipped below the horizon Sunday afternoon, The Chopin Society UK enticed classical music enthusiasts inside Westminster Cathedral Hall with a glittering performance by Italian pianist Alessandro Taverna. Presenting Chopin, Liszt, De Falla, Satie and Stravinsky all in one programme, Taverna re-imagined his piano recital as a ballet: Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes.

Beginning with Les Sylphides, a suite of pieces by Fryderyk Chopin and arranged by Constant Lambert, Taverna immediately set the tone for the rest of the performance, transforming Westminster Cathedral Hall from an ordinary concert hall into a fantasy stage ripe for a ballet.

From Chopin’s Prélude in A Major to the flamboyant Grande Valse Brillante in E Major, audiences instantly imagined swirling ballerinas and a romantic pas de deux in Chopin’s waltzing melodies. Switching gears, in Liszt’s Grande Tarantelle di bravura d’après la Tarentelle de “La Muette de Portici” d’Auber, Taverna projected its operatic qualities, illuminating the melodrama inherent in the piece and crafting an image of a belting prima donna (more so than a prima ballerina). Shifting effortlessly from heavy block chords to quick, chromatic crawls, Taverna dominated the keyboard without losing the theatrical character that informs Liszt’s musical phrases.

After the interval, Taverna let his fingers run wild. Performing De Falla, Satie and Stravinsky, audiences now saw beyond ballerinas and tutus to the daring, almost frantic style that made Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes world-renowned. From the Spanish gusto of De Falla’s Three Cornered Hat to the maniacal Carnival piece by Satie’s Jack in the Box to the chaotic and flamboyant Pétrouchka dances by Stravinsky, Taverna’s playing breathed life into the music. Particularly in the last movement of Pétrouchka, La semaine grasse, Taverna created a brittle yet technically brilliant texture. Jumping between octaves, hammering out the melody and violently sliding his hands across the keyboard, there was such high energy throughout that the audience broke out in a sweat!

By the end of the performance, Taverna transported his audience outside of Westminster Cathedral Hall and back in time to the Théâtre du Chatelet where Pétrouchka was first performed. Playing with both vigor and grace, Taverna successfully brought the flair and panache of Diaghilev’s dances to life.

Kay Kempin on 12th April 2011

Alessandro Taverna chose music over mechanics

By Richard Yates on Apr 8, 11 08:30 AM

The engineering world’s loss is classical music’s gain as far as Alessandro Taverna is concerned.

After leaving high school clutching a diploma in science with honours the Venetian youngster joined Padua University’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering – before realising he had to make a stark choice between pursuing his love for the piano and taking the path towards a secure and well-rewarded career as an engineer.

Those going along to a Sunderland Pianoforte Society recital next Tuesday, April 12, will discover for themselves how right it was for Alessandro, pictured, to choose music over mechanics as he performs a wide-ranging programme at the city’s Museum & Winter Gardens.

In the 10 years since that crucial decision, and after seeking tuition and guidance from experts in the field, the 27-year-old has won prizes at major piano competitions across the world, including first at Minnesota, second at London and third at Leeds. He has recorded for Italian and Slovenian radio and TV. Alessandro also teaches piano at the place he himself studied, the Foundation of Santa Cecilia at Portogruaro.

For his Sunderland debut from 7.15pm he will play the 15 Eroica Variations on the theme Beethoven later used in his Third Symphony’s finale, followed by two of Chopin’s Op.62 Nocturnes, and the Polka de V.R., Rachmaninov’s recollection of a piano sketch his father used to play to the family.

Next come Liszt’s lively interpretation of Rossini’s William Tell overture, and Alessandro’s recital reaches its climax in Stravinsky’s transcription of three movements from his ballet Petrushka.

Tickets on the door are £11 or £5 for full-time students and the unwaged. Accompanied 16s and under get free admission.


Ciclo JASP de piano en Eutherpe

Leon, 06/02/2011. Auditorio Ciudad de León. Seis recitales de piano pertenecientes al Ciclo ‘Jóvenes Maestros Internacionales’. Pianistas: Alessandro Taverna, Kotaro Fukuma, Anna Petrova, Andrey Yaroshinsky, Tomoaki Yoshida, Gerhard Vielhaber. Fundación Eutherpe.

¿Recuerdan aquello de JASP, ‘Jóvenes Aunque Sobradamente Preparados’? Fue el eslogan televisivo elegido por una conocida marca de coches para publicitarse en televisión allá por 1994. Pues bien, la Fundación Eutherpe de León, junto con el Auditorio de la ciudad, han sabido sacar adelante, a pesar de las dificultades presupuestarias de estos tiempos de crisis, un ciclo de piano que, bajo el título “Jóvenes Maestros Internacionales”, ha traído a León seis excelentes jóvenes pianistas para ofrecer otros tantos conciertos durante seis días consecutivos en el Auditorio de la ciudad. Con precios populares -5 euros cada concierto- y atractivos programas, este ciclo constituye la mejor muestra de que no son necesarias grandes figuras consagradas para disfrutar de la mejor música, sino que cada vez es mayor el número de excelentes intérpretes jóvenes, bien formados, que están en los albores de su carrera internacional y protagonizan conciertos de altísimo nivel. El público, sin embargo, parece aún sometido al poder de convocatoria de los grandes nombres y, si bien es cierto que el viernes hubo una mayor afluencia que en los recitales celebrados durante los días laborables previos, la ocupación en todos los casos fue inferior a la que cabría esperar dada la excelente calidad de los intérpretes.

Alessandro Taverna, la técnica al servicio de la expresión

06/02/2011. F. Mendelssohn: Fantasía en Fa sostenido menor, op. 28 ‘Sonata Escocesa’. F. Busoni: Kammer-Fantasie sobre Carmen, BV 284. A. Scriabin: Sonata nº 10 op. 70. R. Schumann: Fantasía en Do mayor, op. 17. Alessandro Taverna, piano.
Este joven pianista italiano, alumno de Sergio Perticaroli en la Academia Santa Cecilia de Roma, posee una sólida técnica al servicio de un pianismo expresivo y elegante. En su interpretación de la Fantasía op. 28 de Mendelssohn mostró un gran control de la sonoridad, igualdad de ataque en los pasajes con medio pedal y poco calado del primer movimiento, así como una gran habilidad para destacar la línea de canto sobre el entramado textural del ‘Presto’ final. Tras otra Fantasía, la de Busoni, donde el pianista recreó con elegancia y estilo una serie de temas extraídos de la ópera Carmen, fue en laSonata nº 10 de Scriabin donde Taverna se mostró más expresivo, ofreciendo una versión de esta pieza tímbricamente preciosista, con rasgos impresionistas y cuidada pedalización.
La segunda parte del recital estuvo dedicada de nuevo a una Fantasía, la op. 17 de Schumann. Tras un primer movimiento con bellas melodías cantabiles y donde se podría haber abundado aún más en el fortissimo de determinados pasajes, el segundo movimiento, muy enérgico, fue resuelto con solvencia para dar paso a un maravilloso tercer movimiento, ‘Langsam getragen’ (lento, solemne) sugerente y expresivo, con un fraseo natural y una sonoridad en pianissimo con la que Taverna consiguió crear una atmósfera casi mágica. Tanto fue así que el pianista, bromeando, pidió disculpas por romper el ambiente de ensoñación imperante al final de su recital, eligiendo como propina tres de las diez piezas para piano Play Piano Play de Friedrich Gulda, de marcada influencia jazzística.

A modo de conclusión

No quisiera acabar esta reseña sin incluir una breve reflexión. En estos tiempos de crisis, donde muchos auditorios tienen que hacer auténticas filigranas presupuestarias para sacar adelante una programación de calidad e, incluso, se llegan a replantear la viabilidad de algunos proyectos, iniciativas como la patrocinada por la Fundación Eutherpe y el Auditorio de León pueden constituir un excelente modelo. Para auditorios de provincias, que cuentan con presupuestos modestos, es ahora el momento de recurrir a la cantera de jóvenes talentos que están iniciando una carrera internacional y que pueden ofrecer conciertos de calidad a precios asequibles.

Roberto San Juan

Regional Spotlight: Alessandro Taverna

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio

February 24, 2011


St. Paul, Minn. — Sometimes you just know.
The coordinator of the 2007 Minnesota International Piano E-Competition said, ‘When Alessandro sat down at the piano it was immediately apparent he was the winner – the contest was over!’
Alessandro Taverna charmed the audience at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis on January 23 this year.
From his wonderfully gregarious pre-concert talk to the performance itself, Taverna was and is a most generous performer.
The opening of his recital from last month – Bach, English Suite No. 5 – is in this week’s Regional Spotlight.

Review: Alessandro Taverna Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York

Monday 17th January 2011

By Martin Dreyer »

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 Fantaisie, 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 re-emerged boldly thereafter. Despite taking some latitude with Schumann’s “soft” marking, Taverna’s finale twinkled seductively. Definitely a name to watch.