Monday , June 24 2024
The Argentinian pianist charms the crowd at an intimate concert downtown with works by Piazzolla, Albéniz, and more.

Concert Review: Pianist Rosa Antonelli, NYC, 10/24/2012

At a Harvardwood-sponsored recital at the Down Town Association, the Argentinian pianist Rosa Antonelli demonstrated why critics and audiences have held her in high regard throughout her career. The program consisted mostly of works by well-known Spanish composers (Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados) and tangos by Astor Piazzolla, the Argentinian powerhouse whose seemingly countless works incorporate jazz and classical harmonies into the popular tango form and lend themselves to a variety of arrangements including, as evidenced by this concert, solo piano.

But the pianist opened with a piece clearly close to her heart, one composed by her own teacher, Angel Lasala. Ultra-romantic but with unexpected dissonances, the prelude “Romancera” was a fitting introduction to Ms. Antonelli’s warm-hearted, openly emotional style.

A sequence of Piazzolla tangos, some inspired by the composer’s long residence in Paris, ranged in mood from dense and stormy to melancholic and tender. The splashily passionate tango “Ciao, Paris” transitioned us across the Atlantic to Spain and the famous “Granada” from Albéniz’s Suite Espanol. This suite contains some of the most popular pieces by any Spanish-speaking composer (even The Doors adapted one).

“Granada,” written for the piano but meant to suggest the sounds and patterns of the guitar, accompanies its main theme with delicate, repeated broken chords in the right hand. During the reprise, when the left hand melodic lines are heralded by deep, rising arpeggios, Ms. Antonelli took a liberty with the score by adding more right-hand chords to carry us through the extra rubato time. Like her judicious and skillful use of the soft pedal in several pieces, that liberty struck me as both crafty and heartfelt; it worked beautifully.

Three waltzes by Albéniz were less familiar but because of their form, more traditional-sounding, and highly satisfying. As the recital drew to its conclusion Enrique Granados’s “Allegro de concierto” proved to be, as Ms. Antonelli said before her bravura performance, both “very difficult and very romantic.” Those latter pieces, previously unknown to me, formed a dramatic and impressive climax to a delightful and interesting evening of tastefully passionate performances.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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