I first listened to Vieuxtemps’s Violin Concerto No. 4 when Lorenzo Gatto performed it in Bucharest as a guest of a concert offered by the Belgian EU’s presidency in 2010. Gatto, the Rising Star of 2010-2011, impresses through his performance accuracy and softness.
Thanks to the inspired present from my colleagues, I went to listen to him the other day at the Bozar. Partnering Roberto Giordano, an Italian pianist, they performed three sonatas of Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss. Hard to describe the performance as such. It is just much easier to listen to the music and feel it.
Mozart was Mozart: a journey of laughter and sadness, a playful dialogue between the sounds and harmonies with accents of staccato and spiccato. Contrary to the common believe that Mozart is easy to play, his Sonata for violin & piano K. 379 is hard to perform. Opening with a quick movement, followed by a thoughtful Adagio, it goes on with a powerful Allegro and closes with a set of variations.
“Kreutzer” Sonata, Beethoven’s masterpiece, does not let the performer breath, as always. I rediscover so many new meanings and sound combinations that tell me a new story each time I listen to this piece. Impressive is the way Gatto and Giordano make it unforgettable to the listener through their way of balancing the three sonata’s parts. It starts with a dynamic and furious movement, it then goes through a reflective moment and closes with an exuberant movement. The sonata’s unusual length is a passionate journey to the human fate.
The musical evening closed with Richard Strauss’s Violin Sonata, Op.18, a famous piece for its expressive beauty, which requires from both violinist and pianist high-class performing skills. The sonata opens with a piano solo, which then passes through a number of violin melancholic interludes to joyfully arrive at the end.
At the end of the concert, the organisers invited the public to “meet and greet” the performers, a Q&A session hosted by Xavier Flament. Among other interesting answers to questions covering the way the work together and many details about the their training and plans for the future, Giordano pointed out that, if a violinist can “communicate” with his/her instrument before a concert, warming up that special connection, that is not the case for pianists, since their instrument is already on the stage, waiting silently.
Answering a query on what instrument dominates the sonatas dialogue, Gatto and Giordano mentioned that the instruments must communicate in such a way to let the right part shine at the right moment. Joking about that, Gatto raised his violin and compared its size with the piano size.
The funniest question was about Gatto’s turquoise blazer and why changing his stage wearing habits. He simply said that he is still looking for a personal style and wearing a turquoise blazer is just an attempt on his way to find it.
Gatto also revealed that he plays a Vuillaume violin, which was made in 1864.
Related information: La sonate classique selon Lorenzo et Roberto (Blog post in French)