China discovers the pedal piano thanks to Prosseda’s concert
The World Art Center of Beijing was sold out for the pedal piano concert of the Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda, who took to China for the first time ever this fascinating instrument, on 30 May. The pedal piano is a both ancient and modern keyboard instrument derived from the piano, with a pedalboard that enables to play bass register notes with your feet. Prosseda himself rediscovered and promoted this instrument during recent years.
Prosseda performed a program with pedal piano pieces by Schumann, Boëly, Alkan, Liszt, and a world premiere by Nicola Sani: the Italian composer, who attended the concert, wrote a composition specifically dedicated to this instrument, “Concerto spaziale – Attese II”, for pedal piano and magnetic tape.
Prosseda said: “With this concert I wanted to introduce to the Chinese audience a little known aspect of the piano, an instrument that is very popular here. Actually, this was a first time in China both for the pedal piano and the repertoire. The presence of a Fazioli grandpiano was particularly meaningful, as it represents the excellence of the Italian artisan production. On this occasion I paired it with an antique pedal piano, in order to highlight the continuity of the great tradition of keyboard instruments, that was taken to China for the first time by an Italian, Matteo Ricci”.
Prosseda’s concert was the final event of Italian Piano Experience, the festival that celebrates the Italian piano tradition in Beijing, with a program rich of concerts, conferences and a historical exhibition of keyboard instruments, that will be open until 3 June. The events took place within the “Meet in Beijing” Festival, where Italy is “Guest Country of Honor”.
The exhibition and other events of Italian Piano Experience, will be repeated at Cremona Musica, that collaborated to organize this event, between 28 and 30 September 2018.
Italian Piano Experience was conceived by Roberto Prosseda, who is also the artistic director. The event was organized by the Italian Culture Institute in Beijing, in collaboration with Cremona Musica, Fazioli Pianoforti and Bizzi Strumenti Storici a Tastiera, in order to celebrate the cultural bridge that connects Italy and China, that is also the first international market for pianos: about five centuries ago, the Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci took the first Italian harpsichord to the court of Wan Li, from the Ming dynasty.
Decca releases Prosseda's new CD "Gounod Piano Works"
CHARLES GOUNOD: PIANO WORKS
Celebrating the 200th Birthday of Charles Gounod, including world premieres of works for solo piano
Roberto Prosseda, piano
Enrico Pompili piano (Sonata in E flat major only)
This album is a celebration of the 200th birthday of French composer Charles Gounod.
He composed about forty piano pieces in all, and this collection of a number of them allows us to appreciate their charm and expressive variety.
Performed by Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda, the release contains a number of world premieres, alongside Gounod’s more famous pieces such as Méditation sur le 1er prélude de J. S. Bach (1852), later known as Ave Maria and Marche funèbre d’une marionette, popularised by its use as a television theme tune.
The album is supported by the Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de musique romantique française, favouring the rediscovery of the French musical heritage of the long nineteenth century (1780-1920). It is housed in Venice in a palazzo dating from 1695, specially restored for the purpose.
A note from the pianist:
Charles Gounod: the "French Mendelssohn".
I decided to explore Charles Gounod’s piano music as I feel that he is one of the most underrated Romantic composers. Famous for his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette, Gounod wrote about 40 pieces for piano, and some of them, like the ambitious Sonate pour piano à quatre mains (here recorded with Enrico Pompili), remained unpublished and unrecorded till today. After having recorded Gounod’s complete piano works for pedal piano and orchestra (the only concertante repertoire of his catalogue) it was a natural step for me to discover Gounod’s piano repertoire as well. Much of the pieces included in this CD are influenced by Mendelssohn: Gounod met Fanny Mendelssohn in Rome and she introduced him to Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier and to the Lieder ohne Worte by Felix Mendelssohn. It is not a coincidence, though, that also Gounod composed Six Preludes and Fugues (like Mendelssohn’s op. 35) and Six Romances sans Paroles, with their exquisite post-mendelssohnian lyricism. But the most famous piece is the Méditation sur le 1er Prélude de J. S. Bach (1852), that was originally written for piano solo: only later, in 1859, he added the words of Ave Maria to the melodic line, giving eternal fame to this music. Another world famous piece, originally written for piano solo, is the Marche funèbre d’une marionnette (1872), a grotesque musical portrait of the British music critic H. F. Chorley, which was used, in a later orchestral transcription, for Alfred Hitchcock's TV series.
* with Enrico Pompili
WP - World Premiere
1. La Veneziana (Barcarolle) in G minor CG 593
2. Impromptu in G major CG 580WP
3. Souvenance (Nocturne) in E flat major CG 590WP
4. Marche funèbre d’une marionette in D minor CG 583
Six Romances sans Paroles:
5. No. 1: La Pervence in B major CG 585
6. No. 2: Le Ruisseau in G flat major CG 589
7. No. 3: Le Soir in E flat major CG 441a
8. No. 4: Le Calme (La Nonne sanglante) in D flat major CG2e WP
9. No. 5: Chanson de Printemps in A flat major CG 359a
10. No. 6: La Lierre (Ivy) in B flat major CG 581
11. Méditation sur le 1er Prélude de Bach (Ave Maria) in C major CG 89b
Six Préludes et Fugues
12. Prélude in G major CG 587 a1
13. Fugue in G major CG 587 a2
14. Choral in E minor CG 587 b1
15. Fugue in E minor CG 587 b2
16. Prélude in C major CG 587 c1
17. Fugue in C major CG 587 c2
18. Prélude in D major CG 587 d1
19. Fugue in D major CG 587 d2
20. Choral in F major CG 587 e1
21. Fugue in F major CG 587 e2
22. Choral in A minor CG 587 f1
23. Fugue in A minor CG 587 f2
Sonata in E flat major for piano four hands CG 617 * WP
24. I. Allegro
25. II. Adagio
26. III. Presto
New video clip VEVO "Marche Funèbre d'une Marionnette"
The famous director Antonio Bido conceived and realized the new video clip "Marche Funèbre d'une Marionnette", on the occasion of the release of the CD "Gounod Piano Works" by Roberto Prosseda. Based on Prosseda's recording of the famous, very famous piano piece, the video explores the concept of manipulation, finely playing with unusual shots (also performed inside the piano), in which the pianist's image (the same Prosseda) alternates and overlaps with that of a wooden mannequin, manipulated by a mysterious marionette artist, and with that of a young dancer. The video, shot in 4K, is available on the official VEVO channel.
Decca releases the second album of Mozart's piano Sonatas (n. 7 - 12)
Decca releases the second album of Mozart's piano Sonatas (n. 7 - 12), recorded by Roberto Prosseda in 2016. The approach is coherent with the previous release, using a Fazioli new grand piano with Vallotti unqual temperament tuning. Roberto Prosseda also used the "sordino" in several pianissimo spots, and adopted the newly discovered manuscript version for the Sonata K 331. Read
Roberto Prosseda launches his new Academy MUSICAFELIX
From September 2017, Roberto Prosseda will regularly teach at his new Accademy MUSICAFELIX, that he founded in his hometown, Prato, Tuscany, together with hois wife Alessandra Ammara. The annual course will offer young piano students the opportunity to follow a customized and flexible didactic path in a highly professional context. More details at www.musicafelix.it which also includes several writings by Prosseda about pianp performance and some videos of his previous master classes.
The 10-Cd Box "Mendelssohn Complete Piano Works" awarded as "Best CD of the Month"
The authoritative Italian magazine Amadeus choose the 10-Cd Box "Mendelssohn Complete Piano Works" as the "Best of the Month". "Pure poetry", writes the reviewer Nicoletta Sguben. The Box is also in the longlist for the Deutsche Schalplattenkritikpreis.
Decca releases "Mendelssohn Complete Piano Works" (10-CD Box)
On April 7, 2017, Decca releases the 10-CD Box “Mendelssohn Complete Piano Works”, which collects all Roberto Prosseda’s previous recordings of Mendelssohn’s piano music. It is the most complete collection of Mendelssohn’s piano works, and includes 59 World Premieres, many of them never premiered in Asia yet.Read
Roberto Prosseda received huge acclaim for his Mendelssohn Decca recordings, including several prizes (Diapason d’Or, CHOC de le Monde del a Musique, ICMA Awards nomination).
The box includes 10 CDs, recorded between 2005 and 2015, and the works for piano four hands and for two pianos, with Alessandra Ammara. The booklet in four languages features a new essay by Roberto Prosseda and the complete list of Mendelssohn's piano works, based on the MWV Catalogue by Ralf Wehner (2009), with the correspondances to the track listings.
56 Lieder ohne Worte, 4 Fugues, Allegro con Fuoco
Fantasias, Capriccios, Scherzos
Variations, Preludes and Fugues
Characterstucke, Kinderstucke, Etuden, Klavierstucke
Occasional pieces and Juvenilia
Works for piano four hands and for two pianos
with Alessandra Ammara
Roberto Prosseda, piano
Interview for Saarländische Rundfunk
Musical America lists among the best 30 "Musical Innovators" of 2016
The auhoritative American magazine "Musical America" included Roberto Prosseda among the 30 most innovative musicians of 2016. Roberto is the only pianist in the list and attracted the interest for his innovative projects with the pedal piano and the robot-pianist TeoTronico.
Nomination at the International Classical Music Award, 2017
The Jury of International Classical Music Award 2017 (ICMA), nominated Roberto Prosseda's with Mozart's Sonatas No. 1 - 6 for the ICMA Award 2017: http://www.icma-info.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/ICMA-2017-Nominations-by-labels.pdf
"Dentro la musica", Prosseda's master class on SY Classica HV Television
From Nov 14, the Italian Classical music TV channel "SKY Classica HD" will broadcast 12 episodes of "Dentro la musica", a cycle of filmed master classes conceived and realized by Roberto Prosseda with six of his best students: Silvia D'Augello, Gigliola di Grazia, Cecilia Facchini, Gabriele Strata, Micele Tozzetti, Axel Trolese. The master class was held at Villa Sandra on Lake Maggiore, Northern Italy, on two Steinway grand pianos. The video is directed by Pietro Tagliaferri.
Great reviews for Prosseda's CD recording of Mozart Sonatas
Several international magazines enthusiastically acclaimed Prosseda's interpretation of Mozart Sonatas (Decca).
Ingo Harden writes on Fono Forum (10/2016):
A performance which sets, more uncomprimisingly than all his spiritual predecessors, on sensible articulation and phrasing, colourfulness, agility and flexibility. Thus, he realized an interpretation of these 6 works of the Salzburg teenager which is free from professoral or historicizing rigidity, but still less from the smart ‘modern’ one-track-ideology with which Mozart can still often be heard. On the contrary, I have the impression that, here, it has been succeeded to convey the whole musical wealth of these Sonatas more lively and more powerfully than ever. Prosseda always remains close to the text, but presents it by a colour palette applied in an excitingly imaginative way and constantly opening new perspectives. A recording which has to become a new reference.
Paul Orgel shares similar thoughts in Fanfare Magazine (Sept/Oct 2016):
"I find it an unqualified success, not only interpretatively, but in showcasing a splendid piano with recorded sound that provides the perfect clarity and ambiance. Mitsuko Uchida’s cycle has long been a reliable recommendation, but, unbelievably, it is now over 40 years old, and Decca’s sound for Prosseda is far better. If his next installments are of comparable quality, Prosseda’s smart, savored Mozart Piano Sonatas will be a worthy reference recording."
Bernard Lehman also writes a very positive review in American Record Guide (Sept/Oct 2016):
"If Roberto Prosseda continues what he’s started here, I want to hear him play the rest of Mozart’s sonatas. He adds ornamentation, extends some passagework for extra bars, changes figuration or melodic shapes, and interpolates short cadenzas. His style sounds appropriate, presenting Mozart as the great improviser that he was. It keeps the music fresh and unfamiliar. The slow movements are serene enough. He meddles with the canonical way we’re accustomed to hearing the Great Master’s music. For me, though, his approach reveals what’s been missing from the standard methods: the sense of playful spontaneity. The essay and the packaging prominently advertise the use of Vallotti’s unequal temperament for this recording on a modern Fazioli piano. It sounds unobtrusive here, gently helping the music to sound relaxed in the home keys and slightly more tense in sections of farreaching modulation. Early-keyboard specialists have been using this scheme as a popular all-purpose temperament in recordings for more than 40 years. Prosseda’s beautifully creative musicianship is the stronger selling point."
Mozart Sonatas are the "CD of the Month" on Classic Voice
The authoritative Italian magazine Classic Voice chooses Prosseda's CD "Mozart's Piano Sonatas N. 1 - 6" as "CD of the Month". Here is the review by Luca Chierici:
Ascoltando queste registrazioni di livello eccezionale son ostato colpito dagli effetti che Prosseda riesce a otteneretramite la straordinaria meccanica del Fazioli F 278, che permette di utilizzare gradazioni infionitesimali di tocco e di sbalzi dinamici che rendono particolarmente vivo il fraseggio. Beninteso, per sapere guidare questo bolide degli strumenti a tastiera occorrono mani d'oro e ovviamente un progetto interpretativo che dia un senso a quelle che potrebbero essere solamente delle caratteristiche evidenti sulla carta. Prosseda ci conduce, con una varietà incredibile di effetti, attraverso il linguaggio mozartiano che in queste sei Sonate è sempre annunciatore di sorprese inaspettate, muovendo da un cantabile di origine vocale a un vertiginoso Presto, da una serie di preziosismi propri dello stile galante alla malinconia di un Adagio a tratti disperato. [...] Non possiamo fare a meno di attendere con grande curiosità gli esiti del pianista sui numeri successivi, che percorrono strade ancora diverse e a quei tempi inseplorate.