Rosa Antonelli from Steinway Hall in New York
Generous, idealistic, romantic, and entrepreneurial as she is, Rosa Antonelli took the initiative to perform this concert to benefit the Lambs Foundation in New York." Every time I performed at their Auditorium, Steinway&Sons, upon my request, would send me one of their best pianos because the institution's instrument was not in a perfect condition." These are memories that the world-renowned pianist evokes and tells us in an exchange in writing and via email with www.mundoclasico.com after its presentation on the internet.
"Until one day – with a firm decision, and without hesitation - I told the president of the Foundation, Marc Baron, why don't we organize a charity concert: I donate my concert to raise funds and thus have a Steinway piano permanently in the Auditorium. That way all musicians could enjoy it. The idea came from my heart. Baron saw it as challenging because of the amount of money that he would have to raise. Still, then he joined my dreams, my faith ... he accepted with great excitement ... and that's where it all began, as the president of The Lambs Foundation himself corroborates at the beginning of the evening prior to the concert on his remarks. "
The Lambs Foundation of New York distributes aid to needy, sick, or disadvantaged elderly entertainers. In addition, it supports theater organizations, arts education institutes, and the development of new plays and emerging talent. Through Antonelli's successful recital that took place on October 24, 2016, with a full house in the Auditorium of Steinway Hall in Manhattan, donations and funds were raised for the purchase of not one, but two pianos: a grand for the Auditorium and another upright one, for the rehearsal room of the respected Foundation. In addition, the recording of that wonderful recital was broadcast for the first time via the internet on June 28.
From heart to heart
The exciting and unusual program that Antonelli put together for this evening brought together classic works by composers from the Hispanic and Latin American universe: Ángel Lasala (her admired teacher from the Carlos López Buchardo National Conservatory of Music, in Buenos Aires), Alberto Ginastera, Astor Piazzolla, and Isaac Albéniz. The acclaimed artist has been promoting these beautiful and unique compositions (some of them almost unknown, or played for the first time in New York,) a mission she started since the release of her successful CD Esperanza (Albany Records), followed later by Remembranza, Abrazando and Bridges, the most recent: all from the same record company.
"As it was a charity concert, I felt that I should present works with romantic content or a happy ending, declares Rosa Antonelli (the daughter of a celebrated theatrical actress)." At times, the atmosphere is also meditative but always positive, joyous, which the pianist creates with her interpretations and aura. It is her own heart that opens at the keyboard. The piano is like a sun, full of luminosity as it breathes fresh air and speaks with the radiance in the lights.
Her performance is not only virtuoso, it is pure, clear, transparently honest, clean, precise, and balanced. Each note is played accurately and with a deep meaning. The serenity of her remarkable presence fills the room. She is an imposing figure that magnetizes the audience. Yet It is never an excess in pursuit of spectacularity without a content, a message. Rosa Antonelli masterfully concentrates on the music, from the same profound love for music that she feels right down to her soul and heart.
The recital starts with Twilight Idyll, that romantic piece transcribed from the ballet Estancia, composed initially by Alberto Ginastera to be premiered in 1942 in New York by the American Ballet Caravan, with choreography by George Balanchine. An event that finally could not be. The company was dissolved before, and finally, the work had to wait until 1952 to be presented for the first time at the Teatro Colón in Buenos, under the baton of Juan Emilio Martini and directed by the choreographer Michel Borowski (former member of the Ballets de Monte Carlo who emigrated to Argentina in the late 1940s). A suite for orchestra would meanwhile emerge from Ginastera's hands. And it became one of his internationally best-known compositions, released in 1943 in Buenos Aires with a success that remains unbroken to this day.
This Idyll tells a romantic story, like Romeo and Juliet or the Beautiful Miller, but with a fortunately happy ending and a reciprocated love: the rancher's daughter (landowner) falls in love with one of her father's workers, and the engagement takes place during one of those ineffable sunsets on the pampas plains.
Love is the common thread throughout the recital. Antonelli is punctilious and reveals, pours out a great passion in El Mundo de Los dos, by Astor Piazzolla, a student of Ginastera. This other story was inspired by a perhaps impossible but unforgettable love lived during a summer somewhere on this planet. The poet who wrote the lyrics, Albino Alberto Gómez, 92, a personal friend of Piazzolla, had waited all this time to meet the ideal artist who could interpret the piece. Finally, he decided to personally present the score to Rosa Antonelli in New York after one of her concerts there. "That moment was very moving for me, and I felt very honored by such a memorable gesture", the pianist evokes.
Imperial is a tango written by Piazzolla when he lived in Paris, where he received lessons from the teacher of the great masters, Nadia Boulanger - whom all his students called Mademoiselle – He fell in love with the architecture and palaces of the City of Light, a shared emotion by Antonelli every time she performs there. That same emotional state is the one that exhales Romancero (Prelude) by Ángel Eugenio Lasala. Rosa's teacher, who knew the sentiment and extreme passion that her student put into her performances, hoped that she would be able to release the composition one day.
That moment came (although posthumously for Lasala, not for his widow, Zulema Castello, who was able to follow the evolution of his dream with great excitement) in 2010 when Antonelli played it for the first time, a World Premiere performance in New York and even on any record company. The day will also come when Argentina writes the complete history of its twentieth-century composers. The work of Ángel Eugenio Lasala must occupy a place of honor with his profile as an authentic creator, notably rooted in Hispanic American culture. For now, it is possible to read his biography on Wikipedia in German, extensively, and in Catalan, in a synthesized way, but no other language ... paradoxically!
Through a grant from the government of Spain, Rosa Antonelli specialized in Spanish music at the Música en Compostela International Course, and she delights and gives us the magic of a dazzling performance of Granada (serenade), with impeccable performance virtuosity and expressing it with the soul and spirit of the great teacher Albéniz. It was my first meeting with Spain; a wonderful time remembers the pianist." I fell in love with the Spanish music, and I felt I didn't have enough hours to study since I wanted to learn all of his compositions !!. This is how I perfected Granada (serenade)." Antonelli is authentic; she plays how she is deep inside, without pretending. The sound of her soul goes far, far away ... levitating
In L'Automne valse (Introduction and Allegro), the result and the message is music in which even the joy and the tone are affected by the melancholy that the composer feels towards his homeland, essentially fantastic. Antonelli's performance has a rare elegance and mystery, of astonishing and great sensibility; a true, genuine, authentic, and well-controlled Hispanic culture, feelings, and roots, admirable in its original purity. I studied this work in Madrid." To my great surprise, this waltz had never been played in New York in a large concert hall, and its premiere took place when I performed it at Lincoln Center, Antonelli recounts.
Milonga del Ángel, by Piazzolla, querendona and nostalgic, is one of the pianist's favorite works. It tells the story of an angel who magically arrives in Buenos Aires at Christmas to heal the sad and longing soul of the vast, enormous mass of immigrants (or their descendants) who miss their homeland. It is the melancholy that they have ingrained, printed in their hearts due to the distance and separation from their loved ones, something that I, myself, have experienced in my family; it is a beautiful and romantic story, says Antonelli. Hand in hand with her, Piazzolla reveals those enigmatic regions that characterize the atmosphere of the elusive and busy Buenos Aires capital, taking us further and further into remote and unlikely labyrinths.
The pianist , turns her gaze and heart at the end of her concert to Ginastera and again ,to the Estancia ballet originally commissioned to this composer by the businessman, writer, connoisseur of New York art circles, and philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein in 1941. The music is full of vital energy. The Wheat Dance is more restrained in terms of rhythm and melancholy. Antonelli literally approaches, touches the keyboard with great sensitivity to deliver this most beautiful, lyrical, and serene piece. The estancia (ranch) workers ,work in the wheat field since the dawn of the morning. With its diverse coloring, the music reflects the daylight as the sun changes position in the sky, a wonderful setting in the middle of which the farmworker and the owner's daughter met and felt in love .
The final dance, a malambo, is a swirling, agitated, feverish, and devilish movement and that nothing seems to stop when it emanates from the piano. Their frenzied tapping and stomping make this brilliant and passionate dance a perfect work to reach the climax of this extraordinary and exceptional Rosa Antonelli's concert with joy and uplifting spirit. But, of course, the recital could not end here, amid and surrounding with so many applause and ovations. The audience insistently asked for Goodbye Nonino by Piazzolla. The soloist performed the elegiac piece with great love and tenderness, which recalls the beautiful, close relationship that united the creator of the new tango with his father, Don Vicente, his death, and the evocation and memories of the happy moments they spent together.
Let's build a better world
It was a very emotional closing of Rosa Antonelli's performance, a pianist, adored by the public and now awaited with expectation again in Europe.
"This concert was very special for me, because I felt very honored to help this noble and venerable Foundation. I was filled with happiness knowing that a dream had come true; a dream that was born out of hope, passion and love for ideals. In these difficult times, we must keep these positive feelings in our hearts that will help all of us be stronger and build a better world together."