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St Ivo Piano Quartet (from Rome, Italy)

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Music Performance Reviews

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

Lily Popova on Piano
Giuliano Biscelgia on Violin
Antonio Ramous on Violoncello
Luigi Gagliano on Viola

Presented By
The Italian Cultural Institute

Chamber Players International
David Winkler, Executive Director

211 West 58th Street
Btw. 6th and 7th Avenues
NY, NY 10019
Official Representatives of Fazioli Pianos

October 12, 2003

Chamber Players International provides high caliber education and concert programs for the arts community. Chamber Players International presents subscription concerts on Long Island and arts in education programs in LI public schools. Mr. Winkler has been awarded on numerous occasions and has received several commissions from national Music Festivals. In 2003, Mr. Winkler is premiering symphonic works in S. Korea, Ukraine, Bolivia, and Austria. (Chamber Players Notes). (Watch for future reviews of Chamber Players concerts).


Armando Ghidoni: Feeling-swinging Classical Fugue

David Winkler: Piano Quartet (Premiere)

Astor Piazzolla: Oblivion The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer)

Klavierhaus is a magical environment, with antique, restored pianos in the front showroom, the kind of rare pianos one might see at the Met Museum, but here they can actually be played by visiting artists, who wish to practice, prior to a performance at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center. They can also be played by a pianist in concert at Klavierhaus, and tonight's concert was my first to hear a Fazioli piano, with its very rich and resonating tones, and crisp and clean notes. The acoustics of the Klavierhaus concert and practice room are unbelievable. This is where the magic is created. The music enters your soul and fills every inch of external and internal space.

The St Ivo Quartet, from Rome (although Lily Popova now resides in Los Angeles), is an energetic and exciting group of contemporary and very classy musicians. Ms. Popova wore a gown of red, a tiny, but tempestuous performer, with charisma and skilled technique. Her entire body lifted with the strongest notes, and she often glanced at her trio of accompanists, Giuliano Biscelgia on violin, Luigi Gagliano on viola, and Antonio Ramous on cello. They are a cohesive and connected Quartet, very professional and poised in their presentation. The Ghidoni piece was aesthetically satisfying, with Ms. Popova's petite dynamism tearing into thunderous, contemporary passages. She was driven and exotic. The viola, violin, and cello played mirrored images of the piano theme, at once playful and mournful.

David Winkler's Piano Quartet is a full and fascinating, dark and dynamic work, reminiscent, at times, of Philip Glass, and, at other times, of Bela Bartok. The piece began with elongated notes, expertly played by Mr. Biscelgia on violin. The mood here was sensual and scintillating. Ms. Popova's piano led into the cello passages, with contrasting tempos, and the strings soared to a sense of despair, with sharp endings, followed by effervescence, like droplets of rain. The strings were plucked, the bows swayed, and Ms. Popova's keyboard energized the room with rapid and radiant sounds. I look forward to hearing more of Mr. Winkler's works.

As it happens, Oblivion, by Piazzolla, is one of my favorite works, by a favorite composer. I have heard this work and danced Argentine Tango to this work hundreds of times, on a Gidon Kremer CD, with Kremerata Baltica, on Piazzolla CD's, in Pablo Ziegler concerts and in Daniel Binelli - Polly Ferman Concerts and CD. I dance to this piece with Carlos De Chey, my Tango coach (212.726.0314). The St Ivo Piano Quartet created a hypnotic effect, as this haunting melody sears the heart and mind.

I also own Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires on CD's by Gidon Kremer and by Piazzolla and his orchestra, with Piazzolla on bandoneón. In this case, the St Ivo Piano Quartet performed in an edgier fashion than did Piazzolla, himself. I loved this interpretation, as it seemed to allude to the edginess of Buenos Aires, as a City, and to the inherent dissonance of the Tango experience. I have seen many Tangos danced onstage to these Seasons, by premier Tango performers, and I imagined seeing them here, in Klavierhaus, a bit in front of these mesmerizing musicians. Without the addition of the bandoneón, the piano assumes tremendous importance, and Ms. Popova did not disappoint.

This piece, as performed tonight, was more interpretive than physical, more dissonant than passionate, atonal and searing. Ms. Popova played solo passages, as did each of the musicians, and, at one point, Mr. Biscelgia took Ms. Popova's theme, with more dissonance, while Mr. Ramous provided a textural foundation for the Quartet. Mr. Gagliano's viola had just the right element of warmth and wildness that filled the piece with danceable dynamics. Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires ended like a lullaby, with soft fingers on strings.

Although the encore was not announced, I recognized it as Libertango, and, again, wished for a dance floor and a Tango partner, as the acoustics in Klavierhaus' Concert Hall are so perfect and powerful. Kudos to Klavierhaus, Chamber Players International, Fazioli Pianos, The Italian Cultural Institute, and The St Ivo Piano Quartet for this memorable event. I very much look forward to future concerts at Klavierhaus,

If you are a classical musician or member of the NY classical music audience, and you are looking for a European styled boutique Hotel, located in Midtown Manhattan, check out the reasonable rates at two NYC Fitzpatrick Hotels.

Carlo Frugiuele, Enzo Capua, David Winkler, Family, Friend
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Enzo Capua and St Ivo Musicians
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

St Ivo Piano Quartet
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Lily Popova, Pianist, and Enzo Capua
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Lily Popova, Pianist, at Klavierhaus
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

St Ivo Quartet Musicians
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Fazioli Piano (Klavierhaus)
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

St Ivo Piano Quartet
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Lily Popova at the Fazioli Piano
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Michael Meltzer of Klavierhaus
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Michael's Hands
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Michael Plays a Different Piano
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Rare, Historical Pianos
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at