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Malinconia e mistero di cose ultime

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Alberto Ponti for L’Ape musicale
The talents of the maestro originally from St. Petersburg as conductor rise to an absolute level in the other two pieces on the programme, starting with ...Pianissimo... (1968) by Alfred Schnittke [...], ten minutes of very risky music because it is based exclusively on timbre and dynamic changes in the total absence of rhythmic, harmonic and melodic elements in which the outcome of the Russian author's experimentalism leads to results very similar to those achieved by Krzysztof Penderecki in that masterpiece which is his first symphony, of a few later years. Kochanovsky conducts without a baton, through a few essential gestures which limit themselves to marking the time by indicating five different gradations of intensity with the fingers of his hand, but one perceives total control of the complex score, based on an imperceptible crescendo from a buzz on the threshold of silence to a violent sound explosion, with the subsequent return to the starting situation. A typical cliché of the music of every era which, under the guidance of a great conductor, is transformed into an experience of pure sensory involvement.
In the symphonic dances op. 45, the last orchestral work by Sergej Rachmaninov, born in the United States and presented in 1941 two years before his death, Kochanovsky plays at home and understands the composer's language perfectly, dosing the right mix of nostalgia for Russia seen from distant America and striking orchestral colour. The result is one of the best interpretations we have ever heard: the chameleonic dynamism of the strings, the simultaneously sensual and elegiac ringing of the trumpets in the second movement Tempo di valse, the liquid flow of the melodies between the woodwinds, with a memorable intervention of the saxophone, on the restless clicking of the percussions are precious details that rise to the fore thanks to Kochanovsky's hand and his own personal vision, transmitted to a National Symphony Orchestra RAI that appeared in great shape.
Turin, Toscanini Auditorium
2 March 2023