THE GENOESE PIANIST TALKS WITH RICCARDO RISALITI ABOUT CULTURE, STORE, WORK AND LIVE EXPERIENCES…
I met Andrea Bacchetti several times, and several times I spoke with him, also without thinking of - obviously - a real interview. When instead I was appointed to interview the young Genoese pianist, I thought to limit my interventions to a few words, letting the field almost totally to Bacchetti’s mercurial eloquence; Bacchetti’s communication skills do not limit themselves to the most normal (for him) situations, that is when he puts his hands on the keyboard. Thrust and riposte, then. However… riposte prevails!
At first, some questions about your education: how do you feel in Imola?
I carried out my education at Paganini Conservatory in Genoa, my native town and I got my diploma when I was 17. At the same time I have been attending lyceum where I got my classic diploma and I made the “compimento medio” of composition, on which I’m still working. Then I entered Imola Academy whose I am still a student. The meeting with Master A. Scala was - and still is - particularly significant to my artistic growth. For psychological aspects, of open examination on musical ideas, for the analysis - also extra-piano - experiences: all of these are in order to enhance individual’s “personality”. From here comes the ability to let him freely better understand where to work and where to let him do on his own. These are still basic elements of my musical adventure. The background is fertile for the exchanging of opinions, sometimes also after long debates with teachers and students. The fact that you can always “steal” something from everything and everyone is very positive.
Do you feel - at least for some aspects - mature enough to work on your own or do you still feel the need to belong to a school?
In these first years of work in Imola I have been deepening with the Master the rules of executive freedom; this fact for the need to improve the sonority as far as elasticity is concerned, that - through the study of the plasticity of the phrasing, of the hidden dynamics in the texts, for instance, led me to a bigger and more aware control of the form and also of the instrument. Of course Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, the great romantic music were - and still are - the best gym for this exercise. From the same reading glass we “magnified” the correlation between “heart and brain” that is always present in performances and deeply essential in developing a real talent. I think, with the help of these new knowledges, I am far more mature and more autonomous in the style. Of course there is still much to learn in the field of philology, and for some aspects also in the one of musical analysis - that romantic style in any case does not neglect - of authentic praxis, and the numberless expressions of music of ‘900.
In any case I have the whole life in front of me!!!
Is culture very important for you? Both musical culture (also not piano one, of course) and general one? Do you think you are growing up also in this sense? You know piano fauna lives in the wild state as far as culture is concerned!
It’s indubitable that culture has a main role in an artist’s life.
Above all the availability of mind to be curious, a mind that is charmed by something that has not always a practical repercussion on its existence. I believe the contact with figurative arts is essential.
All things considered, a musician creates also abstract forms! For my part, a very strong goad towards musical examination was classic lyceum that, I must admit, was very useful to me: above all because of a system to wander in literary cycles - another subject of great interest for me - in painting, history and classical culture in general.
Let’s leave culture and fund. I try a lunge: what’s Andrea’s “human” side like? Being a pianist, a musician, an artist, a man: larger and larger concentric circles. What are your percentages?
I‘d always like being more an artist than a pianist, I think it depends very much on nature, too. Someone was born more subject to one thing than to the other, so far my life has been - as it’s right in my opinion - mainly dedicated to studying. So human part needs to develop itself: then I’d give a 20% with the wish to improve. As an artist, without conceit, I’d assign a higher percentage, 50%, I believe in these years I’ve done - because nature wanted it - a very important role to sensitiveness. It changes as time goes by end because of experiences, but it always reflects itself over my performances. I feel it is very close to my own vision of artist’s life that then ineluctably is reflected in the practising of art. As a musician (20%) I must grow up very much, even if the journey has just started. As a pianist (10%): it has never been very important for me. What is important is to reach the mastery to do what one wants; however, in my opinion, more for love for music than for fingers.
Now let’s go back to the fund and to your specific job. How do you organize it? How do you plan your choices and your fund? You have (it’s natural) some favourite versants. But there are also “chance” motivations, aren’t there?
The moments of the choice of the fund are three: formation, curiosity, needs of concert associations, of course in different percentages! I could satisfy myself of the absolute Bach’s need, without whom I never spend a single day (formation). Evidently to build a healthy musician it’s fundamental Mozart’s, Beethoven’s and so on others artists’ haunt. It’s also true that the young are often commissioned not very frequented authors’ executions.
The curiosity was born from here. I have recently played Hoffmeister’s pieces (a minor Mozart!), Cimarosa’s (a minor -but not too much - Scarlatti!), authors’ of ‘900, for example an emerging young Italian compositor’s very beautiful music (F. Antonioni). Then the needs of concerts societies come, needs that nowadays tend to ask for “on program programs”.
So you can conciliate intellectual curiosity and formation, you can always try to build programs that you love and that forge.
Likings? It’s difficult to say. All the music that touches heart. In this moment I have Bach’s “mania” (even the orchestral one of si minore Mass) and I feel a particular pleasure for expressions of ‘900 I have not explored, yet: Poulenc, Scriabin, and Berg, which are very different from each other.
Luciano Berio. Piano work. Is this a personal choice or a precise request? Do you know and play other contemporary authors (Messiaen, Ligeti, etc.)?
The meeting with Luciano Berio’s music happened not too many years ago, while I met the Master many years ago, in 1989 in Saltsburg. Piano production (sequenza IV, Encores, Rounds, 5 Variazioni) is colossally formative for a “romantic” pianist.
One must get an aggressive, hard touch, with much nervousness and fit. This fact on one hand provokes a first shock, on the other one it make you get the control of a completely opposite style, tending and typical of our century: the cold pianist. Then, when we come back to usual store, new passages certainly open. Of course a deep spirituality is not lacking, that express itself by new means. The absurd, the irony that comes out of the clusters, power units, etc. reveal an extraordinary essentiality, as pragmatic as it's natural in contemporary man. I also know a little the central works, the rest of Master's journey: I deeply love Symphonic works (Symphonia, Formazioni, piano and orchestra concerts, etc.), Berio of Folk Songs and of the duets for two violins, theatre works, particularly Outis, (1990). I love Messien's and Ligeti's piano, even if I don't know him in a detailed way, yet.
Experiences with orchestras and conductors. I remember of your "hyper-young"concerts with the Luzerners.
It's difficult to favour an experience among the others. I can only say that if on one hand it's formative to compare our own ideas with other people's ones, on the other hand the executions with an orchestra (above all a symphonic one) are particularly formative experiences.
I have recently played Franck's Variations (with "I Pomeriggi Musicali", Young Bisanti conductor), Beethoven's Concert n.2 (Symphonic Abruzzese Orchestra - conductor Mr.Nordio), some Mozart's concerts (Padua Orchestra, E.U.C.O., "I Filarmonici" Academy - Mr. Borgonovo conductor, etc.), Shostakovich's Convert op.35 (Salzburger Chamber Soloists) and many others.
It's always very beautiful for me to see, listen, learn how a conductor, during the rehearsals, succeeds in creating sonorities, phrasing, colour, sense of taste in the continuous evolution of the dialogue with the soloist. About the "hyper-young" experiences with the Festival Strings Lucerne I remember an extraordinary tension to a continuous renewal, in the achievement of a unique sonority and freedom. Bach’s, Mozart concerts; those experiences I made under Master Baumgartner's guidance. Magic moments, the "joy to make music together".
Do you like travelling? Can you be a musician and a traveller? An erudite traveller, obviously!
I must say that as years go by I am slowly learning to love travels. They are part of the "Other", which an artist needs to feed his inner growth, to know more and more curiously things whose existence he does not image at all.
Unluckily, for the time being, the young age and the endless longing for success often oblige me to give up the visit to a museum for a couple of hours of rehearse in the concert hall.. However, the intent to live more deeply the world I explored on books is always alive.
For instance, I can remember of the emotion I felt landing in Buenos Aires (minutes and minutes above the devilish river Rio de La Plata that stimulates arcane allegories) or in Mexico City (half an hour above a city with an abnormal size), without forgetting the charm of Sicilian coast and of Sorrento peninsula, immortalized in a spring sunshine rich of scents and uncommon aromas. However, I think every moment is always an occasion to exploit.
Even if you are very young, you have behind you a fair discographic activity. Are you satisfied with the CDs you recorded? Do you prefer live performances? Or do you feel you are creative also in recording-room? Which are your future projects and choices? Who chooses? You or they?
I am not satisfied at all with my CDs, unluckily, perhaps because of the continuous changing of my artistic growth; the older they get, the worse it is. Above all with the first recordings, because of the lacking of freedom and as a consequence the still too rough sonority! There are some live recordings I like more, but always with a watchful eye to the articulation that is in a continuous evolution. I generally prefer live recording because the presence of the audience favours an artist's bigger inspiration, even if the obligation of only one execution makes it more vulnerable.
As far as projects are concerned, there is the production for this issue of the periodical (three Mozart's concerts with the Verona Philharmonics conducted by Borgonovo), the world premiere of Hoffmeister's Sonatas for piano and flute and Brahms' Sonatas op.120 again for piano and flute and, at last, a CD with Luciano Berio's piano production. About the choices, compatibly with the needs of discographical companies, I usually decide by myself or anyway I choose in the scope of editors' interesting proposals.
A philological question: do you work on good musical editions?
Yes, I think I do. They are always the most original as possible, I often compare them. For example, for Mozart's Sonatas I work on "Henle (Urtext)" with Fischer's wonderful revision. For some authors (Berio-Universal, etc.) there is only one edition.
Do you feel you have behind you an interpretative tradition, or do you try to be original at any cost? Do you listen to your - big and little - colleagues' performances?
Even if I am more and more often said to be an interesting pianist, I admit I have never done anything to be like that.
I mean that an artist's originality in my opinion is the ability to "be" an artist himself that is to be able to feel music deeply and, as a consequence, to make listeners feel the same emotions. Then I have always thought to educate my talent in such a way to make it arise gradually, to make it more and more "mine", personal, but without forgetting music (that is heart, brain and so on). So it's evident that I'm not trying to be original at any cost, on the contrary, I detest all that is made only with such an aim. I mean that as an interpretative genre I due very much to Horzowsky, Hess or Casals and so on: artists who are in the ideals of musicians at the top of fame and maturity, like Schiff, Perahia, Serkin, Lupu, great artists of present time who love remembering often their links with romantic masters' legendary art. Of course I listen with big interest to the several possible performances, according to very different stiles, too, because I believe this is the only way to feed one's talent in an authentic way.
Your activity is leading you throughout the world: How do you usually find the instruments you play? Which ones do you prefer? Have you ever played on the "leader" of actual concert pianos, "Fazioli" one?
Concert associations that program more or less international usually place excellent "Grancoda" instruments at my disposal (most of times Steinway, Kawai or Yamaha). When the situation is different, it's not because the quality of instruments is lacking, but because they are not well-kept. A fact I see also in important halls is the not always good maintenance of instruments, even when they are worthy. The generation change that is occurring in this sector with the big multinational companies creating apposite schools for professional technicians are impressing a change to a very difficult art, that is mostly come down orally.
I played three times on "Gran Coda Fazioli" pianos that I liked very much; I hope it will happen to me again.