Daniele Rinaldo

Concert date: 21 October 2022
Reviewed by: JRC

It was one of those occasions where a last minute substitution proved to be a glorious success. Daniele Rinaldo stood in for the indisposed pianist Kristian Lindberg at nadsa Concerts last Friday. The programme changed from popular works to an eclectic mix, - and, wow, how Daniele breathed life into his repertoire.

To start with Janacek’s ‘In the Mists’ was bold programming. We were immediately enveloped in the cloak of mystery and foreboding, then shafts of light, turmoil and rage. Abrupt changes of tempo and time signature were embodied as the jolts in a troubled mind that often returned to melancholic themes. This was Janacek sharing his troubled mind via a superb interpreter.

In 1912, just before he had written ‘In the Mists’, Janacek had heard Debussy’s ‘Reflects dans l’eau’, and it is highly probable that he found the experience inspirationally liberating. On hearing Daniele’s performance of the first of Debussy’s ‘Images:Book 1’, it would have been difficult not to have thoughts of water, ripples and light. Debussy’s ‘Hommage a Rameau’ was a complete contrast; this had solidity as well as melodic interest. The third of Debussy’s Images ‘Mouvement’ was, to my mind, inspired by train travel, the speed of which had taken the 19th century by storm; surely Debussy had not been immune to its thrill. Once that image was in my mind it stayed there.

And then for something almost completely different: Liszt’s transcription of the ‘Miserere’ from Verdi’s opera ‘Il Trovatore’. With the combination of Liszt and Verdi, one surely can only expect an extravaganza of emotional romanticism, and that we got aplenty!

Two of Debussy’s12 Etudes were Daniele’s next offering. ‘Pour les agrements’ was a musical kaleidoscope with Daniele’s delivery and presence carrying us through the pauses between baubles and filigree. There was such variety and fun, - and from an etude: music designed to improve technical skills. Next came the long legato ribbons of ‘Pour les tierces’ which rather surprisingly lead to a triumphant conclusion.

Schumann’s ‘Kreisleriana’ is often referred to as his finest work for the piano. It was written for Clara, his wife-to-be, but before he had permission to marry. Schumann was probably bipolar, and being aware of this he has incorporated his mood swings into this work. The result is a phenomenally rich patchwork in which I, at times, felt we were privy to a conversation between Schumann’s alternative characters of Florestan and Eusebius. From frantic turmoil through contemplative calm to serenely emerging melodies, somehow Daniele was the embodiment of this work; his heart and soul were in it. Yes there was also light hearted vivacity and certainly drama in the final movement; but ending a concert with a triple pianissimo demonstrated the level of Daniele’s total conviction.

After the pent-up applause had broken out, we enjoyed his encore: Carlos Guastavino’s ‘Bailecito’. How well chosen, after an evening of intensity, to be left with an Argentinian Latin lilt. I hope it won’t be too long before NADSA can get Daniele Rinaldo back in Newton Abbot.

nadsa Concert, Friday 21st October 7.30pm at The Courtenay Centre, Newton Abbot.