KVT – Piano Piano Picco Picco

KVT – Piano Piano Picco Picco

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You can always trust the Italians to serve up a few extraordinary cultural treats every year.

Last Saturday night they began their musical tribute to Hanoi’s 1000th birthday with the remarkable pianist, composer and improvositori, Cesare Picco playing his own compositions and two re-interpretations at the Hanoi Opera House.

Cesare Picco called into Hanoi as part of his “PIANOPIANO TOUR 2010…. the Eastern Part” which takes in the Tokyo Jazz Festival and Singapore.

He has an obvious fascination with Japan and has a huge following there. His composition ‘Gengi’, for piano and orchestra was premiered in Verona in March this year and his Japanese fans have ensured that his ‘Blind Date’ concert at the Haru Museum on September 16th is a sell out.

We were given a taste of his Japan infatuation when he played ‘Hikare’, a haunting elegy to Japanese light

The works played by Picco in his inimitable manner on Saturday were mainly from his new album ‘Pianopiano’ and included the intimate ’My Room’, the glorious Iranian desert inspired ‘Karakoum’ and the deliciously flighty ‘Bolero Butterfly”. My personal favorite was an inclusion from his 2007 album, ‘Bach to Me’. His delicate translation of Bach’s ‘Sarabande’ was stunning.

As with most of Picco’s performance work, the audience is impulsively and emotionally drawn into the compositions by the pianist’s physical intensity, an intensity that sometimes made me close my eyes and be carried away on an evocative tide of notes.

To satisfy the audience’s applause, Picco gave an encore and played Puccini’s ‘ Nessun Dorma’ from the opera ‘Turandot’. Stunningly beautiful again!.

Picco is a successful and celebrated composer of orchestral and ensemble music, operatic works and ballet scores and has composed works for a variety of classical and non classical performers. He comes from a classical music background and his compositions weave through that genre and spread effortlessly into all jazz spectrums and contemporary styles. It is said that he has created his own personal musical language.

I was eagerly anticipating his collaboration with local sound composer Tri Minh, one of Vietnam’s most exciting music talents. Their ‘Hanoi Improvisation’ was worth the price of the ticket.

As with all new creative newcomers Picco’s obsession was with the noises that make the cacophony and occasional silences that is Hanoi’s personal indelible symphonic score. Minh has successfully composed around and improvised on this theme before and I was a bit “here we go again’ . But I needn’t have worried. Minh’s sounds were understated and just the perfect embellishment for the piano cum percussion rifts overlaid by Picco.

Glorious stuff.

As a treat you can catch a lot of Cesere Picco’s pieces and performances on You Tube.

Not a reviewer, not a critic, “Kiếm Văn Tìm” is an interested, impartial and informed observer and connoisseur of the Hanoi art scene who offers highly opinionated remarks and is part of the long and venerable tradition of anonymous correspondents. Please add your thoughts in the comment field below.


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