Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perfomances | Emanuele Torquati's Recital at Italian Academy

Emanuele Torquati (b. 1978) played a magnificent recital at Columbia University’s Italian Academy on Wednesday, October 7. He is a powerful player, using his full body to create the sounds required for this program of 20th-century music.

The recital opened with Giancinto Scelsi’s Quattro lllustrazioni sulle metamorfosi di Visnu’. Torquati emphasized its opening melodic flow, which was followed by a stronger meditative section, and then a return back to flow. The piece featured pointillistic glissandos and very flowing ostinati.

Jonathan Harvey’s Tombeau de Messiaen for piano and soundtrack presented a felicitous union of the acoustic and electronic. The electronic music was not intrusive, extraneous, or unrelated, as is so often the case. Instead, it presented a union of the percussive piano sound, artfully controlled by Torquati, with the static clavichord-sounding taped music (percussive, metallic). In many passages the pitches of both were the same, presenting a lovely contrast. It ended with aural pandemonium between the two.

Wolfgang Rihm’s Klavierstuck 7 closed the program. This piece requires propulsive, bravura playing in the manner of Franz Liszt, with many high-note figurations. Unfortunately, it follows the 20th-century dictum of loud, loud, and louder.

The program also featured the U.S. premiere of Silvia Borzelli’s Stalagma. It exhibited warm ostinati ranging widely over the keyboard.