The second evening of the Neamt Music Festival suggests a luscious, sensual and irresistible duality by fusing classic music with jazz. Pietro Bonfilio, a musician already known to our festival’s audience, returns with an attractive and diverse solo programme, wearing his bowtie…or not. Mozart’s A-minor Sonata together with the E-minor Sonata stand our as relevant within their style and are considered the most dramatic piano compositions Mozart ever wrote, anticipating the romantic direction of the next generation.
We are suddenly passing on to tsarist Russia at the end of XIX century, where the search for national and cultural identity reveals Ceaikovski rather preoccupied with adapting and integrating his local narratives into a more westernised language. Dumka, however, is an exception. Subtitled ‘Rustic Russian Scene’, the piece is an epic ballad with a reflexive, melancholic content, evoking the authentic popular spirit.
Kabalevski’s Sonata takes us to a different Russia, the soviet one of the XX century. This composer has adapted quite efficient to the strictness of the socialist realism style. However, this particular Sonatadoes justice to an artist harshly criticised based on his political choices. The composition is full of original ideas, harmonies and rhythms reminding us of his contemporary fellow composers Prokofiev and Șostakovici, and a remarkable ability to create a consistent and captivating discourse out of apparently separated elements.
Our young Italian musician reaches the tip of the iceberg with Maurice Ravel and his ‘racehorse’ of the piano repertoire – Alborada del gracioso / Jester’s morning love song. Subsequently arranged by the composer itself as a piece for the orchestra, Alborada is part of the Mirrors Suite, a composition Ravel dedicated to an avant-garde group of artists called Les Apaches and with whom he shared membership as a young man. Brilliant, full of original piano effects and sounds, Alborada remains a landmark in Ravel’s work and one of the first compositions where he made use of the Spanish folklore in terms of rhythm, melody and harmony. Through the end of his career, Ravel would reach apotheosis with another work imbued with the Iberian spirit – Bolero.
In the second part of the evening, we remove the bowtie, we unleash at least one button and we sit comfortably to listen Israeli jazz pianist Omri Mor who revisits piano music in a very personal and original manner. Jazz standards and personal compositions, a fall of exciting, surprising, sometimes melancholic or pending sounds, are being restlessly delivered by a generous imagination. What other duality more salient and inevitable than that of the king of the instruments, sometimes solemn and spiritual, sometimes playful and nonconformist, to the likening of those able to untie its secrets and make them into bedtime stories in this late September summer night?