"The Seven Last Words" - A touching event
A favourably impressed audience exits the church of Varallo Pombia after participating to an impressive event, which one will not easily forget.
Musicologist Chiara Bertoglio presented a lecture-recital on the “Seven Last Words of Our Redeemer” by Franz Joseph Haydn in a solo piano version.
It is significant to quote some of the audience’s remarks, collected just after the performance in front of the church and through emails the day after the concert. “It was the testimony of how a talent should be cultivated, developed and shared with others”; “an interpretation which went right to the hearers’ heart, more than any other ever heard”; “occasions like this should be more frequent”; “how many ideas for the coming Easter”!
Once more, after that Holy Friday in Cadice in 1787, Haydn’s work has reached its goal: to describe in music Jesus’s death on the cross, through the rhythmic and melodic components of the seven last sentences He pronounced before dying, his last spiritual testament before His Resurrection.
As stated by Bertoglio herself in the introduction, the sentiment provoked is never desperate; in a few moments it even touches the style of a light-hearted dance, either describing Mary’s womanliness or simply telling us that now “all is accomplished” and we may already look further on, to the Resurrection. It is therefore hope which dominates over despair, throughout the work, even in the most tragic moments.
Needless to say, when performing this work an interpreter assumes a colossal theological responsibility on what he communicates to hearers. […] The solo piano version is extremely “daring”: although the performer has at his disposal a “machine” with important dynamic and expressive possibilities, it is necessary to dominate and manage them within the instrument’s limits, and within a complex harmonic and contrapuntal texture. This is precisely what made Chiara Bertoglio’s performance so great, for its authoritativeness, rigour, clearness and creative power, making a true masterpiece within the masterpiece.
Complementing the musical performance, an actress interpreted seven poems which had been appositely written to contribute to meditation, introducing each of the sonatas. A simple but genius-like idea, which the audience appreciated particularly.
Great emotions offered by the Youth Symphony Orchestra
The First Piano Concerto by Beethoven was performed by soloist Chiara Bertoglio, a very talented young woman who created an enchanted atmosphere with her intimate style, with her speaking phrasing, a complete concentration on each passage, on each note, modulation, minimal agogic or dynamic shading… Each instant was a treat in itself, and it remained carved into the heart of those listening to this interiorised performance. Nothing was made for the sake of the “effect”, and therefore all was deeply expressive. Such a total abandonment, seeking a one-to-one relationship with music, requires of course a perfect mastery of every technical difficulty. The piano’s voice was made even more fascinating by Chiara’s wonderful touch, and it was draped by the orchestra, which was present but discrete, resulting in a perfect tone balance. Indeed all were excellent: the soloist, the conductor (Claudio Maria Micheli) and the orchestra. The Schubert Impromptu given as an encore was amazing.
Little forests growing
PADUA – The season […] had its highpoint last March 1st, with Chiara Bertoglio’s recital. She is a brilliant pianist with an international and impressive CV. She presented the participants with an unforgettable afternoon. The graceful performance of Schumann’s Kinderszenen [preceded] the Arabeske, which added a touch of virtuosic brilliance to the first part of the recital. However, the priceless pearl, worthy of selling one’s entire wealth for, was her performance of Schubert’s D959 Sonata. It was strongly connected with the pianist’s verbal introduction: Chiara Bertoglio, who is a researcher and writer besides being a pianist, used fully her musicological knowledge to offer a short but penetrating listening guide. She also gave, in a few words, a personal and deep vision of Schubert’s intimate world: a world made of grief, tragedy and spaces of serenity bound in an endless chain. A clear and fascinating presentation, resulting from a meditation of her hands, mind and heart.
The Sonata’s four movement, therefore, displayed themselves in an atmosphere thick with emotion, a food for the soul of those lucky enough to be there. The audience had been brought to the pianist’s wave-length, and, through her, to the composer’s, in a perfect realisation of the circle of creation and recreation of the musical work described by John Dewey. Aesthetic experiences of this kind leave unforgettable memories in the life of those living them.
Yves Bergé on "Zibeline"
Chiara Bertoglio, a young pianist aged 27, has given her first recital at eight, and plays since then in the most important halls. A musicologist, she wrote five books, one of which is particularly noteworthy, on the Romantic concept of journey. Two Sonatas by Scarlatti opened the dance: delicate touch, clean articulation, trills and ornaments like lively lighting. After that, she performed the twelve Studies op. 10 by Chopin, a technically frightful cycle. The first, in C major, was played with sonorous basses and an extremely agile right hand. The devilish Presto of n. 4, C-sharp, was a virtuosic tornado. No. 12, the famous “Revolutionary”, with its terrible arpeggios in the left hand, was like waves bringing a breath of liberty to Europe. Momentum, variety, a romanticism without soppiness. What can we say of Mussorgskij’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which are too often performed only in the orchestral version, albeit a magnificent one, by Ravel! The Promenade, a so rich and varied leitmotiv; an intriguing Gnomus, amazingly theatrical. The Vecchio castello, all in suspension, sublime; Bydlo, with its impressive crescendo; Limoges, incredibly quick. And the Great Gate of Kiev, which one would never see closing: the pianist inhabited this pictures with a rarely found emotion. Under her fingers, an entire museum with a thousand colours, intimate and majestic, took life. The audience, standing, requested an encore. He got four, among which a wonderful Impromptu by Schubert and Traumerei from Schumann’s Kinderszenen, which was chiselled as a last sigh, which we wished to share with Chiara and with her great musical sensitivity.
From a Pianist's Workshop: Two Budding Mozarteans
Un'interpretazione amabile e ben considerata, frasi modellate meravigliosamente, passaggi tecnici resi con limpidezza: un concerto che il pubblico ha molto goduto.(Chiara Bertoglio's performance at Carnegie was) "lovely" and "well-considered", and there were "handsomely shaped phrases", "cleanly dispatched passageworks", "a concert proved beneficial to the audience".