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‘Italian Pianist From Japan!’ impresses audiences

(EN Photo / Kim Smith)

Giuseppe Mariotti, assisted by Michael Baron, gave a skilled piano performance featuring works from acclaimed and challenging composers at “Italian Pianist From Japan!.”

The show was presented on Feb. 24 by FGCU’s Bower School of Music and the arts.

The program began with works by Franz Schubert (1797-1828), a complicated composer who, according to a biography by Brian Newbould, was so compulsively dedicated to his work that he produced around 1,000 works in only 18 years.

Most of his works were celebrated after his death.

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The first song the pianists played was “Sonata in A Minor, D784” broken into three parts, “Allegro giusto,” “Andante” and “Allegro vivace.”

According to the program notes of Thomas M. Cimarusti, an Associate Professor of Musicology at FGCU, the Sonata didn’t receive its full recognition until after the composer’s death, just like most of the work he did throughout his life.

The next work was Schubert’s “Drie Klavierstucke, D946,” which was broken up into “Allegro Assai,” “Allegretto” and “Allegro.”

According to Cimarusti, the three collections in this work are often referred to as “impromptus” or a type of song that’s more free-flowing and improvised.

Pianist at Bower
(EN Photo / Kim Smith)

The next song was “Two Elegies from Elegies, BV249” by Ferrucio Busoni (1866-1924), an Italian composer who also worked as a conductor, teacher, writer and editor.

According to Cimarusti, Elegies is a piano set most frequently performed together as a set of six pieces that are each titled like chapters and tell a unique story.

The next song was “Sonata No. 6, BV284 (Chamber Fantasy on Bizet’s Carmen),” another work by Busoni.

The title is a reference to the four-act opera “Carmen” by French composer Georges Bizet.

According to Cimarusti, Busoni connected with the comedic nature of the opera by requiring the performer to take on the many personalities of all the characters within the play.

“Fantasia for a Mechanical Clock, K 608” played next, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Busoni.

According to Cimarusti, it was a work Mozart detested but took on at the request of Count Josef Deym because he was in need of the money.

However, Busoni’s piano transcription of the song is one of the composer’s best works.

The final work of the evening was another pairing of Mozart and Busoni with “Overture to The Magic Flute” for two pianos.

“The Magic Flute” is a two-part opera by Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. According to Cimarusti, it tells the story of the Queen of the Night’s attempts to persuade the rescue of her daughter.

Overall, the performances by Mariotti and Baron were entertaining, beautiful and masterly crafted, a fitting ode to the composers who created art that transcends generations.

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