Alice Tully Hall
THE PERMANENT MISSION OF ITALY TO THE UN
THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF ITALY IN NEW YORK
THE ITALIAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE IN NEW YORK
CRISTIANA PEGORARO, pianist
MUSIC FOR PEACE
By Mr. Robert D. Ekselman
October 30, 2005
F. Schubert /Trans by F Liszt, Serenade
L. Van Beethoven, Sonata in F minor, Op 57, “Appassionata”; allegro assai, andante con moto, allegro ma non troppo- presto
C. Pegoraro, Colors of Love (World Premiere)
G. Rossini / Trans F Liszt; La Danza –Tarantella Napoletana
C. Pegoraro, The Wind and the Sea
C.Corea, Children’s Songs; nos.7,6,9,18,20
A.Piazzollla /Arr by C. Pegoraro; Tangos; Meditango, la Muerte Del Angel, Oblivion, Violentango
E. Lecuona/ Arr by C. Pergoraro, Fantasy on Cuban Dances
Ms.Cristiana Pegoraro, the multi-talented Italian pianist, composer, arranger and representative for peace presented a truly eclectic program this evening to an enthusiastic packed out Alice Tully Hall in a program spanning the early years of German Romanticism through modern tango to jazz. She has already won critical acclaim through her interpretation of Cuban and South American music, and tonight she showed us that she has other equally impressive facets to her personality. Ms. Pegoraro briefly introduced many of the items, and after pointing out the presence of 140 different nations represented in the audience, dedicated the evening’s recital to the need to unite people of all backgrounds through love, and the universal language of music. At intermission The Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, the Italian Consulate General in New York, and the Italian Institute in New York presented Ms. Pegoraro with the Circolo Culturale Italiano of the United Nations World Peace Award for her professional achievements and her commitment to promoting peace in the world.
Appearing on stage in a dramatic black dress the program opened with Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s Serenade, a piece originally written for voice, and heard this evening in a florid orchestral- style setting with strumming effects in the bass line and melodic echoes in the middle voices. It is a beautiful setting of a lovely song, and one that we encounter too infrequently in this version. The Beethoven “Appassionata”, a Sonata written in the composer’s middle period, provided the real meat of the first half of the program. Here the silk gloves were retired! This was muscular and intelligent playing, cohesive and yet also impulsive - no easy achievement. I thought her performance of the first movement the most effective, especially in the opening few measures, with the statement of an ominous ‘fate motif’ in the depths of the bass register, before the real melodic material - the sound and fury - was unleashed. I felt that the slow movement had too much ‘moto’, and needed a greater sense of repose, the forward motion being in a sense written into the score as the original theme is elaborated upon in ever-greater detail. The finale ended with appropriate drama and passion.
Ms. Pegoraro then introduced her own piece - Colors of Love - which was a world premiere, by way of explaining without any false modesty, that she did not wish to be regarded as a composer, but wrote with the intent to express her love of humanity. The piece, in simple vocal improvisatory style, opens with a reference to Mendelssohn’s D minor trio, and is heartfelt and moving. No doubt the honesty of the music was appreciated by all.
The Rossini /Liszt La Danza –Tarantella Napoletana is a real show stopper! I had the impression that Ms. Pegoraro played this particular piece with slight reserve. It should have its listeners sitting on the edge of the chair, having been dragged through fire and brimstone! We needed more of the humor and pyro-technical devilry on open display here, even at the expense of a few missed notes falling to the floor, not that this would have mattered. The piece whirred by in its fantasia of dance frenzy.
When Ms Pegoraro appeared on stage to accept the Honorary Award in a flowing fire –orange dress we had the sense that we were about to be transported to other climes altogether, far removed from familiar western traditional approaches to music, and into the heat and sensuality of Latin America and the jazz influences of Corea. The opening piece, another original composition of Ms.Pegoraro, The Wind and the Sea, represented in tones a dialogue between man and woman, their interaction, and evolution into something newly created. This time I felt more of a Spanish flavor in the melodic turns of her own composition, and savored the powerful imagery of sea and wind playing upon each other.
The Corea Children’s Songs featured next on the program blended classical influence with the jazz idiom, neatly tying in both elements into the evening’s program. Ms. Pegoraro portrayed effectively the innocent intensity and naïve charm of children absorbed in their own universe. I enjoyed also the variety of ostinato patterns Corea was able to evoke using simple means.
Piazzolla’s set of better-known tangos was arranged brilliantly for piano solo by Ms. Pegoraro. The music never wanders far from its street roots in Buenos Aires even if it is cloaked in some of the techniques of classicism. Ms.Pegoraro’s pianism, always controlled and dynamic, was at its most compelling. The intensity of this music was ideally suited to this pianist’s temperament. The last group of pieces by Cuban composer Lecuona, Fantasy on Cuban Dances, also showed some crossover influence and threw in a few extra spices to the mix. The encore, Libertango by Piazzolla, was the best playing of the evening, with its pulsating accents, interweaving lines and relentless drive. This a well thought-out program, and one that was prepared with love!