The delicate beauty and quiet grandeur of Maurizio Pollini's performance resonated in the inner being of each person who heard him at ROHM. The concerts expressed the spirit of Claudio Abbado, the man who lived his life in the heights of music.
When the world-famous conductor, Maestro Claudio Abbado came to Muscat last summer, he found the city, its culture, and the Royal Opera House so compelling that he accepted an invitation to return with the Mozart Orchestra for a concert featuring his long-time friend and colleague - Maurizio Pollini, one of the greatest pianists of our time.
No-one envisaged that the hand of fate would intervene… and the grand concert at the Royal Opera House would serve as a requiem for Abbado, who, two weeks before the performance, left this earthly world for a paradise that is surely a realm of pure music. There was a natural element of pathos in the concert that drifted through the currents of the music and bloomed unseen along its banks.
"Any sound worth making must be a beautiful one"
Admired for his artistic genius and appreciated for his unpretentious approach, as well as his sincere respect for the ordinary person, Claudio Abbado (1933-2014) led some of the most important opera houses and orchestras of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – La Scala, the London Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Vienna State Opera, and the Berlin Philharmonic. As we shall see, Abbado also had the power to command the planting of no less than 90,000 magnolia trees.
The eulogistic reflections the world press included a moment in childhood when Claudio was recognised by his musician uncle as "having the eyes of a conductor". When eventually he did become a conductor, Abbado was said to communicate as much with his eyes as with the baton. Claudio Abbado was described as elevating the art of conducting in the way he sculpted and shaped the music, to which he brought a tangible sense of intellectual depth. The laconic Abbado, who loved the silence of the Alps, declared, "Any sound worth making must be a beautiful one".
The Maestro's great love of nature was evident at his seaside property where he grew many thousands of trees. When he was invited back to Milan, Abbado accepted on condition that the city authorities direct the planting of 90,000 magnolia trees. They did. While the concert could not duplicate the greatness of Claudio Abbado, it did express the spirit of a man who lived his life in the heights of music. It was apparent in the demeanour of the musicians as they listened to a speech honouring their great maestro, how very much he was loved.
"That boy plays better than any of us jurors"
Maurizio Polllini has many characteristics in common with the legendary conductor whose genius infused the concert. Born in 1942 into a family where music, art and scholarship art were integrated with daily life, Pollini was sent to music school at the age of six, embarking on studies that would continue throughout his life. In 1960 while still a teenager, Maurizio was the youngest entrant in the International Chopin Competition – and won. Arthur Rubenstein famously remarked, "That boy plays better than any of us jurors."
Instead of going on the concert circuit, the young pianist began studies with the renowned piano master, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, with whom Pollini developed supreme technical mastery and acquired expressive restraint. Pollini's mature style is characteristically cool and aristocratic, entirely without mannerism or dramatic flourish. His focus is solely on the music. The only bodily expression Pollini betrays is in his face, which shows deep intellectual concentration and suggests the sublime nature of his feelings.
Gelmetti Conducts the Orchestra Mozart
The program last weekend began with the Overture to Mozart's first hit opera, The Marriage of Figaro, a light-heated story of love and betrayal composed in 1786. Distinguished conductor and composer, Gianluigi G