THE BEST YET....
This year's Masterclass really was the best yet. Masterclass 2012 opened on the 15th July with an outstanding inaugural programme of Beethoven. Alfia performed the Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major and Elvira followed with the Kreutzer sonata for violin, both accompanied by Sergey Bezrodny. After the interval the trio came together to play the Ghost Trio, Op.70, No. 1. The concert was hugely appreciated by a discerning audience. It had been a hard road to arrive at such an exceptional opening night. Our principal sponsor, the Comune of Citerna, has supported us over the past seven years by covering a variety of costs and in 2012 the Council was struggling as a result of the economic pressures on Italy as a member of the Eurozone. The mayor had indicated that she wished us to broaden our area of appeal to include other Comune so as to share the costs and increase our audiences. Nevertheless, she was keen that the Masterclass should continue. Accordingly, we had met with the the cultural assessors and other responsible parties from the Comune of Sansepolcro and San Giustino. Both were willing to participate in our masterclass plans and both agreed to contribute to the costs of our programme. We would ultimately be asked to perform a series of seven concerts in different venues over fourteen days.
Our collaboration with the Spivakov Foundation begun in 2011 continued in 2012 and they sent to us from Moscow two excellent young musicians - Yury Wassileusky, violinist, pianist and now composer who would have his seventeenth birthday during his stay with us and Yana Kucherova, at nineteen a fine young violist. Others attending the 2012 course came from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Belgium and Italy. All would perform in at least one concert during the season in addition to their studies. Joseph Rosen from New York would join us for the second week thus permitting us to include clarinet in our repertoire.
The first three concerts were held during the first week of the Masterclass in the mediaeval Sala degli Amassi under the Palazzo Comunale in Citerna. These were the inaugural and First Masterclass concert described above, the second Masterclass concert and the now traditional Cafe de Boheme evening of music and poetry accompanied by dinner, this year's theme being the French Belle Epoque. Alfia and Sergey opened the second Masterclass concert with Delius' Sonata for violoncello and they continued with with Franck's violin Sonata arranged for violoncello. Elvira and Sergey then performed Ravel's enchanting Sonata for violin and the trio concluded with Turina's Fantasia for Piano Trio "Circolo".
Following the great success of last year's Cafe de Boheme evening with its Russian theme of the Silver Era it was natural for us to stay with the format collaborating with Luisa and her staff at La Civette restaurant in the mediaeval walls of Citerna. This means that we can perform in a concert hall just very close to the restaurant itself and then come out into the mediaeval walkway for the meal - an excellent arrangement. This year the theme was French with music and poetry from the Belle Epoque divided into two halves with aperitifs and "amuse-bouches" to begin with, the main course served during the interval and desert following the second half of the concert. We chose Debussy's Sonata for violoncello and his Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un Faune for violin, Saint-Saens Le Cygne and Faure's Elegie both for violoncello, and for violin Chausson's Poeme and Ravel's Valses Nobile et Sentimentale, Sergey accompanying both Elvira and Alfia. The poetry was chosen and narrated by Michael Humphreys and included La France by Guillaume Apollinaire, Le Cygne by Baudelaire, A Charles Baudelaire by Verlaine, Harmonie du Soir by Baudelaire, Le Faune by Mallarme and Le Pont Mirabeau by Apollinaire. Luisa and her team completed everyone's contentment with "une excellente bouche francaise".
The second week's concerts took place in Sansepolcro, Uselle (San Giustino), Felcino Bianco and Fighille, where our course attendees really came into their own, particularly Yury Wassileusky. He performed outstandingly well on both violin and pianoforte and he also gave us the privilege of hosting the world premieres of two of his own compositions - a Duo for violin and clarinet performed by himself with Joseph Rosen on July 26th at the Abbazia di Uselle and his Piano Trio performed by Elvira, Alfia and himself at the Felcino Bianco concert the next evening. Excellent contributions were also made by Yana Kucherova on viola (Shostakovich's Adagio and Spring Waltz, Hindemith's Sonata for viola and Walton's Sonata for viola) and Calum Hopkins on violoncello (pieces by Kabalevsky, Rachmaninov, Bach, Hindemith) and particularly the Beethoven Serenade Op. 8 together with Yury and Yana. Most enjoyable also were the Prokofiev sextet Overture on Hebrew Themes in Sansepolcro and his Sonata for two violins, Op. 56 (a superb performance by Elvira and Yury in San Petriolo), the clarinet quintet by Carl Maria von Weber at Felcino Bianco and the first movement of Hermann's quintet Souvenir de Voyage (Uselle and Fighille).
All of those attending Masterclass of Music Citerna 2012 made quite remarkable contributions and for us at Music@ Felcino Bianco including the maestri it was a real pleasure to host an event which patently gave such pleasure to our audiences. We were grateful, too, to have had the opportunity to extend our performance venues to more of our part of the Valtiberino, the charming valley which provides the source of the great river Tiber which leads to Rome and the sea.