Domenico Codispoti he is a disciple among others, of our Joaquin Achucarro. It is easy to guess in him the predisposition to search for sounds that connect him in a satisfactory way with the historical past and not precisely to search for ancient sonorities but to understand the original soul of the composition.
Last year he cloistered himself in the Zaragoza Auditorium to make up the repertoire of his Notebook album and for this he went to take refuge in a 1957 Steinway piano, when his colleagues -in general- opt for the usual: the pure and simple present , without major complications and according to his attitude, closing the door to historicism, which is an old word. Moreover, I will allow myself to ensure that the guild sees in the historicists a kind of geeks who play at being naive explorers of scores.
In Notebook he gave us Codispoti a notebook that served as a guide in the search for answers. For example, when he notes: “Each in his own way,” referring to Chopin y Janacek“they turned music into a reflection of their complex and very rich inner life, and into a way of avoiding expectations in the societies of which they were part”.
The approach to his work, then, urgently needed the help of «the solitude of the keyboard», as he points out, and what better solitude than going to look for answers in the entrails of instruments of the time. Because in that specific nature of the sound lies part of its authenticity. It seems revealing in this sense that Domenico Codispoti ends up writing in his notebook that «all I could do was look for his voice, in my translation, here and now». A few words close to introspection: observe to reflect; measure times, understood as inspired heartbeats.
Referring to Chopin and his 24 preludes collected on the album, the Italian refers in his notebook that “he became more introspective and therefore freer to reach hitherto unknown places.” Why did this Italian pianist choose an instrument –the Steinway of 1957- that overshadowed contemporary uses? Simply because “it was training for the practice of improvisation.” What better, then, but to go to more precise sources to understand the genesis of his compositions?
A genesis, which Codispoti sums up well in this reflection: “An exit door that is left open (…) A tormented struggle and the feeling of its incompleteness (sic)”. That is, the quality of incompleteness.
The recital on saturday june 25festivity of San Guillermo de Vercelli, it could be said that it brought together the necessary ingredients to establish an intimate communion between the place (Chopin cell mezzanine), the piano (a grand Pleyel built in 1851), the program (Chopin and Schumann), an audience as expectant as it is dedicated, and of course the soloist who repeated in that same place, two and a half years later: Domenico Codispoti.
The Italian pianist in July of last year had recorded the 24 preludes and in the notebook he reflected that «Chopin guided me, through his ghosts and demons inside the Valldemossa Charterhouse». The appointment is not accidental, first of all because Codispoti had offered a recital at the end of 2019 in the attic of the cell that Chopin occupied; cell, precisely, in which the Polish composer wrote some of the preludes in 1839.
Codispoti had indicated to the owner of the cell his intention to offer the recital with the Pleyel, which also has the particularity of being a unique copy, since all its pieces are original, so that the sound was going to transport us exactly to the sonority of the mid-nineteenth century. It could be pointed out then, that we were being invited to a magical journey.
If on the album he had chosen to accompany the preludes with two pieces by Leos Janacek, here Codispoti chooses to confront two contemporary suites that share the transience of their parts. The recital began with the suite, Kinderszenen (scenes from childhood), a total of 13 pieces inspired by his own childhood. Robert Schumann. This work, dated 1838, is faithfully contemporary with Chopin’s preludes and one of its immortal pages can be savored in it: piece number 7, traumerei. Codispoti then chose to continue with Papillons (1831), which can be considered a work from his youth made up of 12 short pieces inspired by the last chapter of the novel by Jean-Paul RichterFlegeljahre.
Schumann also had a special weakness for Chopin’s preludes, which caused great consternation when they were published, and yet, thanks to the German composer and pianist’s capacity for introspection, an eloquent quote was written about it: «They are sketches, beginnings of studies or , so to speak, ruins, individual eagle wings, all wild disorder and confusion. Not in vain, in his high school years the young Schumann had already written an essay On the intimate relationship between poetry and music. Which comes to reconcile the phrase that the Czech violinist always pronounced, Eugene Prokopfor so many years director of the Pollença Festival: “Chamber music is to classical music, what poetry is to literature.”
So I imagine that in a premeditated way Domenico Codispoti had 25 pieces equally of a “fleeting nature” (in his words referring to the preludes) so that the unique timbre of the Pleyel prepare the public to face the 24 preludes that were going to be heard, similarly to how they were in the first half of the 19th century. And this was the magic that awaited us. Codispoti used the score for the parts of his recital precisely because he was sitting in front of a keyboard sharing the same day-to-day life with those staves. Choosing, therefore, the Pleyel de cola was not gratuitous at all, rather a challenge to illuminate the trip to the past that this appointment entailed a few meters from the place where Chopin was inspired to develop some of his preludes. In addition, guiding us the dim light of the candles. The recital was part of the program of the XIII Pianino International Classical Music Festival 2022.
Perhaps we are not aware of it, but the recital of June 25 can be considered a milestone, since it serves to indicate distances regarding the direction of a path, in the same way that it marks an important moment in the development of a process, such as the Pianino.
I have published part of this writing on my blog and I am struck by the visits that have taken place from Europe and the USA. What affirms me in the conviction that we are not aware of the cultural capital that usually accompanies us when entrepreneurship is simply a higher goal.
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