Grand Encounters: Alessio Bax

Starting on March 08, 2020 3:30 pm
Posted by Lee Clifford
Categories: Grand Encounters
Tags: Classical

Pianist Alessio Bax performs pieces from his upcoming album, "Italian Inspirations":

  • Oboe Concerto in D minor, S D. 935 (arr. J.S. Bach, BWV 974) by Alessandro Marcello
  • Variations on a Theme of Corelli, op. 42 by Sergei Rachmaninov
  • Quaderno musicale di Annalibera by Luigi Dallapiccola
  • St. François d'Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux, S. 175/1 by Franz Liszt
  • Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata, S. 161 by Franz Liszt

As a pianist, one must be very creative when thinking of an Italian program. There is almost a total dearth of Romantic piano music, most likely because of the prominence of opera during that period.

Bax describes the program: “Italy has always had great music, and the starting point is that each of these pieces relates to Italy somehow. But what is really explored in depth are the much more subtle and meaningful similarities between the pieces. The most recent composer, Dallapiccolla, was inspired by Bach, at the other chronological extreme of the program. The Liszt St. Francis and Dallapiccola have strange similarities in subtle gestures and even silences. There are Baroque connections between the Marcello and Rachmaninov, which also share a tonality. The Rachmaninov – his last work for solo piano, and one which I have lived with on and off and loved deeply for over 25 years – and the Dallapiccola are both very eloquent, introspective and personal sets of variations. The Dallapiccola, which is a rare jewel on its own,  functions as a kind of “filter” for the rest of the program. The Dante sonata finally sums up all that is essential for humankind,  the breadth of emotions, life experiences and reflection that are in all of us and in every work on this program.”

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