Concert 4 - Wednesday 11 January 2017 at 8pm PDF Print E-mail



Chopin Ballades                                           

 "his playing was beautifully controlled and clear

(in Mozart) ... unexpectedly ... delighting his

audience in his display of pianist fireworks and

finger dexterity (in Chopin)" 

WESTMORELAND GAZETTE                              


Gershwin The Gershwin Songbook (Selection)        
Kapustin Concert etudes Nos.7 & 8, Op.20   
Gulda       Play Piano Play (excerpt)              
Gershwin  Rhapsody in Blue  



A finalist in the 2009 Leeds International Piano Competition, critics hailed Alessandro as the 'natural successor to his great compatriot Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli'. An artist who can command great power but also exudes exquisite delicacy and lyricism, Alessandro has shown a remarkable, constant development that makes him one of the most interesting pianists of his generation. Always in demand here and abroad as concerto soloist and recitalist, he is also becoming an acclaimed recording artist with his recent CD receiving high praise from the critics.

His programme is a feast of music by pianist composers, largely from the twentieth century. It begins with the four Chopin Ballades and then features solo piano arrangements by Gershwin of his own songs and the immortal Rhapsody in Blue. These sandwich studies by Kapustin and Gulda, both concert pianists but also jazz performers: 'crossover' music in the very best sense.


 Concert Review


Keyboard magic at the Ilkley Concert Club


Although this was the debut recital of this young Italian pianist at the Concert Club there were many present who remembered his performances in the Leeds Piano Competition of 2009, at which he gained third prize. Since then Taverna's reputation has continued to grow and so it was an expectant Kings Hall audience that awaited the demanding first half of the concert, comprising all four of Chopin's Ballades.


These were performances of great delicacy, the introductory phrases almost understated in their simplicity. Each piece was developed as if being played for the first time, Taverna searching for the inner meaning of the music, never falling back on empty pianism. There was brilliance when it was needed but the music seemed quieter and darker than it is often played. True, there was a good deal of rubato but to me this seemed a natural part of the pianist's quest for the essence of each Ballade.


The second half was a complete contrast, not so much the wholly satisfying meal presented in the first half as a delightful selection of sweetmeats. A group of Gershwin's own arrangements of his songs had the audience almost humming along. Two of Kapustin's concert études served to confirm Taverna's mastery of all the techniques of jazz piano. The discovery of the evening for me followed: four of Friedrich Gulda's studies from Play Piano Play including a quirky fugue, a piece based on an insistent ostinato and a brilliant toccata.


To conclude Alessandro Taverna gave us a magical and mercurial account of the solo piano version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, filled with both lively impetuosity and aching sadness. The variety of colours that Taverna evoked from the piano made one wonder why an orchestra is ever really necessary for this piece!


An extremely warm reception was forthcoming from the audience and Taverna replied with a performance of Debussy's Clair de lune of haunting simplicity which showed clearly what a poet of the keyboard this young artist is.



The following recordings were recommended in the concert programme




There are so many excellent recordings of Chopin's most famous works that it is often a case of choosing your favourite pianist. My current favourite recording is by Ivan Moravec on Supraphon SU 3583-2 (medium price). Various Mazurkas and the Barcarolle Op.60 complete the disc. A more recent recording, at budget price, which has attracted very favourable reviews is by Cedric Tiberghien on Harmonia Mundi HMG 501943. Brahms's Ballades, Op.10, complete the CD.




An excellent recording, which includes both Gershwin pieces, is performed by Michael Endres on Oehms OC 418 (medium price). A few other Gershwin works complete the disc.




The extremely talented Marc-André Hamelin has all the technique necessary to perform all the Op.40 Concert Studies on Hyperion CDA 67433 (full price). Other Kapustin pieces complete the disc.




Sasha Grynyuk performs Play Piano Play superbly, and completes the CD with works by Glen Gould, including his Piano Sonata. The disc is from Piano Classics PCL 0043 (medium price).

Raymond Waud.


Club Notes for this Concert




About 80% of ICC Members have Email addresses and seem to be happy with using Email. This figure has barely changed over two years.


Three things we need to state clearly—
1. We will always communicate by post with Members who do not have Email (or prefer not to use it).


2. We will use Email where possible to communicate with those Members supplying Email addresses—it saves a great deal of time and money (about £160 in stamps alone for each mail shot).


3. For the foreseeable future we will send out brochures and tickets by Royal Mail.


We have a Members Database that we use to deal with application forms, ticketing, printing labels, bulk Emailing etc... This information will not be sold or supplied to other organisations. However we do Email information on behalf of other relevant organisations. Most notably we send out Emails for the Friends of the King's Hall and Winter Garden to help to sell tickets for concerts related to our interests. Example - we sent Emails to Members about the recent Chris Barber concert. That raised a substantial sum that will go towards making future improvements to our wonderful concert hall.




Our self-employed IT guru is winding up his business after 7 years of contributions to our vital Management and Concerts databases. We need to replace him. If the following job description means anything at all to you, then you might just know someone with the skills we need.


'The ICC web based systems are developed in VB.Net WebForms. Developers will need experience of Visual Studio and .Net development, with a solid understanding of SQL databases: SQL Stored Procedures and T-SQL VB.Net experience would be ideal, though C# experience would be acceptable if the developer was confident in working with VB.Net.'


If you do know a colleague, friend or relative who might have some of these skills please contact David Bridgewater  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


David Wharmby (ICC Chairman)