Salvatore Accardo: Masterclass in Cremona - Volume 4
Ravel's Tzigane with Sofia Gelsomini (violin) and Brahms's Sonata
No.1 with Edoardo Zosi (violin)
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean.
Audio: PCN 2.0.
16:9, Colour. All regions - 0, NTSC
DYNAMIC DVD 37680 [90:00]
The latest instalment of Salvatore Accardo's Cremona master-classes is
dedicated to two 45-minute sessions with young Italian students. Sofia
Gelsomini, accompanied by Maria Grazia Bellocchio plays Ravel's
in the dour setting of the Accademia Walter Stauffer. Given
its relative brevity Accardo allows her to play all the way through and then
they get down to detail. By the quick scowl on his face during her
performance one element at least of her playing had displeased him but it's
clear that his tuition is based, as before in this series, on the most
precise of precepts. Accardo is not one for florid comments or to draw
analogies; he's very much the practitioner. Thus he works away at her up and
down bows, and her articulation, and shaping of note values. 'All you need
to do is read the music - it's all written down', he tells her with an
enchanting smile - if only it were that easy - before picking up his own
fiddle to demonstrate how he'd like a passage to sound. Valuable is his
advice as to the fingering combination to avoid sounding flat but he's not
above gnawing away again and again at a particular passage, rightly locating
unease in her tempo choices, and trying to restrain her impulsiveness: 'You
are in too much of a hurry' he adds.
Master-classes such as this are not for everyone. Simultaneously intimate
and yet - inevitably given the cameras - public, they occupy an uneasy place
in music-making. Sometimes, too, because of time constraints either actual
or, as here, because the film fades out, we don't see the positive
instruction bearing immediate fruit. We never quite get to the end of the
critiqued Ravel performance. That's inevitable with the companion work,
Brahms's Op.78 sonata, played by Edoardo Zosi and pianist Saskia Giorgini.
Zosi plays the opening movement unusually slowly and with a degree of overt
expressivity that causes Accardo some interest. He picks up the dampened
pizzicati, the student explaining that he was 'afraid of the metallic'.
Accardo doesn't play in this master-class, though he does sing quite a bit
to convey phrasing. His intent is to free up his student's bowing, to
establish a more propulsive tempo and to insist on natural bowing. There is
quite a lot of fun along the way, and it's clear that Accardo enjoys the
very individual slant of his student and, indeed, of the pianist. 'Good,
isn't she?' he remarks of Giorgini - and she is. They play on in the second
movement, Accardo apologising for the state of the piano with a shrug; 'It's
ugly isn't it - but what can I do about it?' There's further byplay between
the violinist when a query of 'easy fingering?' is met with an arched
eyebrow and the correction 'alternative fingering'.
I enjoyed this latest release. It has niche interest, obviously, but it is
revealing to see coaching sessions such as these - or master-classes as the
series prefers - and to observe how a teacher cultivates taste and technical
address in talented students.