Après une Lecture du Dante – Fantasia quasi Sonata S. 161/7
Composed in 1849
Consolations: 6 pensées poétiques – S. 172
Andante con moto [E Major]
Un poco più mosso [E Major]
Lento placido [D-Flat Major]
Quasi adagio [D-Flat Major]
Allegretto sempre cantabile [E Major]
Composed in 1849-50
Liebesträume no. 3 – [O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst!] in A-Flat Major S. 541
Composed in 1850
Légende no. 2 – St. Francois de Paule “marchant sur le flots” in E Major S. 175
Composed in 1862-63
October, 2019 – LISZT – Les Harmonies de l’Esprit” – Sacred Piano works, Luisa Sclocchis, amadeusmagazine.it
Da Vinci 1 cd (Egea) 2019
Artistic Rating: ★★★★ Technical Rating: ★★★★
Dedicates her debut CD Les harmonies de l’esprit to Franz Liszt’s sacred music, the Calabrian-born pianist and mathematician Ingrid Carbone. A journey to discover four works composed by the Hungarian author in the period between 1849 and 1863. «Liszt is considered the arrival point of a pianist, a goal from a technical and interpretative point of view. I chose very well known pieces, but I also included some unique ones. Like the six Consolations and the Legend of Saint Francis of Paola who walks on the waves, a song to which I am very tied, which reminds me of my land. There are very few recordings of both », explains Ingrid Carbone. Listening to the CD begins with the virtuoso Fantasia, quasi Sonata Après une lecture du Dante. Inspired by the Divine Comedy of which it represents, through the art of sounds, three moments: hell, the supplication of the damned and the story of Paolo and Francesca. Following the six short compositions Consolations, six pensées poétiques and the well-known Liebestraum n. 3. The journey through the Lisztian piano literature ends with Légende n. 2: St. François de Paule “marchant sur les flots”, intense pages that photograph a cross-section of the life of St. Francis of Paola. Ingrid Carbone’s reading is full of pathos, the grainy sound and the dynamic nuances that characterize the interpretation render with effectiveness the exasperated expression and dominant character of one of the greatest exponents of Romanticism in music.
October 1, 2019 – A Cd with full music by Liszt for the pianist Ingrid Carbone, Cesare Guzzardella – Corriere.bit
A CD by the Calabrian pianist and mathematician Ingrid Carbone has just been published by Da Vinci Classics. The particularly challenging layout titled “Les Harmonies de l’Esprit” is an “all Liszt” which includes as an introduction the Fantasia, quasi sonata Après un lecture du Dante, the Six Consolations, then Lieberstraum n. 3 and Légende n. 2. The pieces are then proposed in chronological order in a period from 1849 to 1863. This brings out the most mystical moment of the great composer-pianist. Recently presented in the well-known music and cultural center MaMu in Milan, Ingrid Carbone shows that she possesses all the qualities to well interpret Hungarian, overcoming every difficulty that the transcendental technique imposes. Of course, the still young age of the pianist would seem not suitable for certain repertoires, but the evolution of the technical-pianistic study of the last few decades and the preparation of many interpreters, even younger than Ingrid, leads us to read the executive qualities no longer according to the technical parameters, but above all on those, much more relevant, of the aesthetic-expressive results. We found a significant expository clarity of the interpreter in the most peaceful and luminous moments of the Lisztian Consolations. The most complex and enigmatic Fantasia, quasi sonata has found strong and determined hands for a good work result that in the slightly redundant recording is not always easily readable. Valid the famous Love Dream. We recommend the purchase of the CD.
September 20, 2019 – Ingrid Carbone interprets “the harmonies” of Franz Liszt, Andrea Milanesi – Avvenire
In her “other” life Ingrid Carbone is a mathematician and teaches Analysis at the University of Calabria; in her artistic curriculum, however, there are well exhibited a diploma with full marks in piano at the age of 19, international competitions and masterclasses with pianists of the caliber of Lazar Berman. And it is with a program entirely dedicated to the music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886) – which she considered “the arrival point of a pianist: a goal from a technical and interpretative point of view” – that the Calabrian artist celebrates her recording beginnings; the album entitled Les harmonies de I’esprit ctually combines some famous pages of the Hungarian composer with lesser known works of great value. It starts with the most virtuosic piece of the album, the famous Fantasia, quasi Sonata Après une lecture du Dante, the last piece of the second volume of the Années de Pèlerinage; it is “visual” music, which intends to transport the imaginary world of the Divine Comedy to the pentagram through a sort of musical fresco that Carbone paints at the tip of a brush between continuous expressive chiaroscuro, diluting the agogics in times perhaps a little too much restrained. Embedded in the diadem of the six Consolations is the Third one, which represents one of the greatest poetic and intimistic peaks of Liszt, and which is coupled with the following Liebestraum n. 3, the famous “love dream”, initially conceived as a vocal lied but then left speechless and with the only seal of a sublime music. Finally, the record closes with a page that is rarely heard, Légende n. 2: St. François de Paule “marchant sur les flots”, in which the miracle performed by the holy hermit Francesco da Paola is described, when he crossed the Strait of Messina walking on the waters after having spread his cloak; among fine motions of notes, resounding sounds and intense chord progressions, the worthy crowning of those “harmonies of the spirit” that entitle the disc.
August 22, 2019 – The pianist Ingrid Carbone dedicates her recording debut to the sacred music of Liszt, Marco Del Vaglio – Critica Classica
In the life of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), mystical crises alternated with moments in which he followed behavior far from religious values, to which he seemed yearned for as a teenager. This at least until 1865, when he received tonsure and minor orders in the Vatican, also appropriating the title of abbot and focused his production mainly on the sacred repertoire.In previous years, however, he had provided noteworthy musical contributions and, in the context of this repertoire, moved Ingrid Carbone (born in Cosenza), an eclectic figure of pianist and university professor of mathematics, for her debut CD entitled “Les harmonies de l’esprit ”, recently published by Da Vinci Classics.
The disc opens with “Après une lecture du Dante” (Fantasia quasi sonata), which dates back to 1849.It is the longest and most elaborate piece belonging to the second volume of “Les Années de Pèlerinage”, the first of two dedicated to Italy, and refers to the Divina Commedia, describing the different moods of the souls of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise (with a clear predilection of the author for the “infernal” passages).
The second piece, Consolations, six pensées poétiques (1849-1850), is also closely related to literature as it refers to a homonymous collection of poems by the French writer Charles Sainte-Beuve (pseudonym of Joseph Delorme), published in 1830, but there are also those who wanted to see as reference the lyric Une larme, ou Consolation by Alphonse de Lamartine, from the collection Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (used by Liszt in 1847 for a piano cycle with the same title).
We then move on to the famous “Love dream” in B flat major, placed at the end of Liebesträume S. 541, a triptych dated 1850, initially conceived as a brief collection of lieder, using the texts of Ludwig Uhland and Ferdinand Freiligrath, two Germans writers coeval of Liszt. In particular, the translation of the title of this third composition brings with it a great misunderstanding because the “dream” is not the one between two lovers, but consists in the memory of a loved one who no longer exists.
Closure with St. Françoise de Paule marchant sur les flots in E major, second of the Deux Légendes S. 175 (both written in 1863, with the first focusing on the preaching of St. Francis to the birds, in a style that anticipates Messiaen).The piece describes the miracle performed by the saint when he crossed the Strait of Messina by walking on the water, after the boatmen had refused to take him to the opposite shore because he did not have the money to pay for the transfer. Dedicated to his daughter Cosima, he was inspired by a painting by Eduard Jakob von Steinle (an artist belonging to the group of German romantic painters called “Nazarenes”, for their ascetic life and for the long hair that distinguished them), donated to Liszt by princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.
As for the interpretative side, Ingrid Carbone deals with the different compositions with the precise intention of not exceeding in that virtuosity which, although undoubtedly one of the main peculiarities of the Lisztian production, often ends up blurring the rest, and aims at a whole series of shades, present but often ignored, also the result of in-depth preliminary studies. Moreover, it is no coincidence that the various passages are proposed in chronological order, to witness the evolution of Lisztian thought.
A real shame, therefore, that a recording that is not up to par, in part nullifies the interesting concepts underlying the work of Carbone, since the sonorities of the Bechstein model A-228 piano appear extremely redundant, to the point that only listening at a rather low volume provides, albeit incomplete, an idea of the executive approach.
Lastly, we recall the brief but comprehensive accompanying booklet, edited by the pianist Chiara Bertoglio, another eclectic figure, as it ranges from music to theology, and therefore very suitable for drawing up introductory notes on passages that involve the religious sphere. In conclusion a disc that, beyond the technical problems, brings out a good and well-prepared musician, to whom we hope to continue in the best way a career already full of satisfactions.
July 21, 2019 – Da Vinci Classics. The intimate Liszt with Ingrid Carbone, Piero Barbareschi – Gothic Network
Franz Liszt: The harmonies of esprit – Sacred Piano Works. A Da Vinci Classics CD that represents the debut in the discographic market of the young pianist Ingrid Carbone and that proposes some particularly inspired and highly refined compositions by Liszt.
In the collective imagination of classical music users, the name of Franz Liszt is associated with a particularly elaborate repertoire of great technical difficulty. It is no coincidence that his figure in the world of piano literature is associated with the one who for the violinist was equally celebrated as the maximum expression of virtuosity on the verge of the executable: Nicolò Paganini, and certainly not by chance some famous Paganinian compositions have been transcribed for piano by Liszt transposing similar levels of executive difficulty on the keyboard up to exasperation.
Having said this, the listener will not find in this beautiful CD of the young pianist Ingrid Carbone for the Da Vinci Classics label a variety of difficulties and somersaults without the typical network of Lisztian writing. Apart from the composition proposed in the first track, “Après une lecture du Dante (Fantasia quasi Sonata)” in which the writing is undoubtedly elaborate and complex but not with virtuosity for its own sake to amaze the listener, all the other songs they present us with a more intimate, very refined Liszt and, without wishing to discriminate with this statement, in our opinion much more interesting and engaging than many of his other compositions.
The choice of Ingrid Carbone is therefore interesting and well thought out, accompanying us on a journey in which we share with Liszt a world of melancholy, love and a religious spirit. A section of the Lisztian catalog undoubtedly important and in which all the intellectual depth emerges, freed from frills and elaborations that on certain occasions can amaze but reveal only a superficial level of the author’s nature.
As we said, the first track proposes a composition called “Fantasia quasi Sonata”. Even Liszt like other authors of the period does not consider binding the adhesion to a compositional scheme that somehow encapsulates the composer’s inspiration. As in the extraordinary Sonata in B minor, also in this case, with undoubtedly different inspiration, the music flows without interruptions and divisions between various movements. Writing is not easy and it is necessary to have a solid and well-formed technique. Ingrid Carbone easily overcomes any roughness, allowing the listener to appreciate the refined harmonious taste and the ingenious formal structure used. Don0t feel offended the aforementioned virtuoso Liszt fans, but in our opinion, and it is a personal opinion, Liszt’s real and innovative genius emerges in the other tracks so well executed by Ms Carbone. In the series of the “Consolations”, in the “Liebestraum” as well as in the “Legend 2”, not only a solid technique is required, but also a great sensitivity and a great heart and an ability to tune in with inspiration that refer to fundamental concepts for man as introspection in search of existential values, love or religiosity. In these songs, Liszt, almost peeling off the useless frills that often hide precious stones or shapes already perfect in their proportion, gives us moments of great emotion, thanks in this case to the performance of Ingrid Carbone.
Carl Philip Emanuel Bach, son of the great Johan Sebastian, wrote in his execution treaty that “to overcome difficult passages great exercise is needed but in practice not as much effort as the interpretation of simple ones”. A concept that perhaps many performers should keep in mind. In this case we cannot speak of simple music in the literal sense of the term, but without a doubt, compared to other pieces by the same author, less, so to speak, elaborated. We are pleased to think that Ingrid Carbone has seen, in this apparent difficulty, something important. Listening to the CD we think it’s really like that.
Published in: GN31 Year XI 21 July 2019
March 9, 2019 – The “middle ground” in Franz Liszt, Andrea Bedetti – MusicVoice
Artistic Rating: ★★★★
If we were to subdivide roughly the life and musical work of Franz Liszt, we would realize that his existential and artistic parable follows that which marks the thought and life of one of the greatest philosophers of the nineteenth century, Søren Kierkegaard, who was the same age of the Hungarian composer and pianist (if Liszt is from 1811, Kierkegaard was born two years later, but died before, in 1855, unlike the musician, who died more than thirty years later, in 1886). At first in Aut-Aut and then in Fear and tremor, the Danish philosopher proposed that the life of a man can be enclosed in three existential “spheres”, the “aesthetic” one, the “ethical” one and the “religious” one, which can be also experimented with all of them, as happened to Kierkegaard, who then passed from the aesthetic sphere to the ethical one, to conclude his parable with the religious one.
As far as Liszt’s life is concerned, it is possible to do this, considering the period from 1825 to 1840 (ie when he started performing around Europe until he met Schumann and Wagner) and can be enclosed in the “aesthetic sphere”, the period from 1844 to 1862 (from the end of his relationship with Marie d’Agoult until the death of his first daughter Blandine), the one that falls within the “ethical sphere” and, finally, the lapse of time which goes from 1865 to 1886 (since he received tonsure and minor orders until his death in the Vatican), the period that goes under the “religious sphere”.
Starting from this subdivision, it is extremely interesting to talk about the last recording made by the pianist Cosentino Ingrid Carbone, who recorded for the Da Vinci Classics a CD that presents works that belong, following the aforementioned fencing, to the so-called “middle ground” of Lisztian life and work, that is his “ethical sphere”, with passages such as Après une lecture du Dante (dating back to 1849), Consolations, six pensées poétiques (also from the same year), the famous third Liebestraum (O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst!), written in 1850, and the second of the two Legends, namely St. Francois de Paule: marchant sur les flots (composed between 1862 and 1863). To better understand the mechanisms of the “ethical sphere”, Kierkegaard explains in Aut-Aut that man can decide to change type of existence, passing from the aesthetic life to the ethical one, in which he can live according to moral ideals, as well as having the ability to take on his responsibilities. This action allows him to choose between good and evil, accepting the fundamental role of the family (in the role of the “husband”) and of work, taking on the shoulders also the weight of possible sacrifices to ensure that he can respect these ethical constraints . Thus, if the figure of the “seducer” (incarnation of the “aesthetic sphere”) lives only moment by moment, thus losing himself, that of the “husband” makes him build his own personality, choosing the continuity of time in which he only reaffirms his choice from “seducer” to “husband”.
With a sort of Plutarchian operation, we can thus make Kierkegaard’s life parallel with that of Liszt, if we consider not only the passage involving both the great Danish philosopher and the Hungarian composer and pianist from the “seductive” phase (aesthetic) to the “marital” (ethical) one, with the first deciding to leave Regina Olsen and the second Marie d’Agoult (who had previously abandoned her husband and two daughters to follow Liszt), but also with the adherence to a sphere through which to cease to conceive life as a sum of instants to accept, on the contrary, the conception of temporal continuity, giving rise to a more responsible and, precisely, “ethical” dimension of existence (remaining at the composer, in 1847 he started the romantic relationship with the princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein that he could not marry only for the fact that the latter did not get the annulment of the previous marriage, while in 1849, during the Dresden riots, the composer demonstrated his “ethical” altruism by helping the “revolutionary” Wagner find refuge in Switzerland).Thus Liszt, in these years, tends to progressively cancel the worldly aspect to give more time and importance to the creative-spiritual aspect and to conceive the instance of eros, understood in its Greek etymological meaning, more like a manifestation of agape, that is a more disinterested, universal love, which radiates from those who live Christianity actively and fideistically. And it is also the period that brings Liszt to the erotic change in favor of the heroic, which transpires, for example, in the creation of some symphonic poems like Les Préludes and Mazeppa, steeped in a purely literary romanticism. And it is, to stay within the relationship between music and literature, the moment of the creation of Après une lecture du Dante which, as we know, draws the inspirational motif from the Divine Comedy, one of the most revered poetic texts by Liszt, a page piano that draws from three distinct components of Dante’s masterpiece: the infernal dimension, the supplication of the damned locked up in the various groups and the episode of the forbidden love of Paolo and Francesca (at an allegorical level, three moments that speak volumes about the passage from the phase “Aesthetic” to the “ethical” one, with the obsessive presence of the tritone, the diabolus in musica, which characterizes the main theme on descending octaves). The reading that makes Ingrid Carbone place the attention, or rather the accent, on a dimension that, however, has nothing to do with heroism, preferring instead to dip the nib of the interpretation in the inkwell of the dawn of a new spirituality; his agogic is not passionate, titanic, as often happens to listen, but based on a sound that can be defined almost “raped”, fixed in the darkness of the surrounding space (the use of pedals is never exaggerated), transforming in fact this work in an “ethical” research to which Liszt turns to draw from the light of a spiritual sense of which he felt an inescapable need that went beyond the mere artistic matter to explore the eschatological mysteries. Here, then, that the sound evoked by the Cosentine interpreter is the fruit of this eschatology, a sound reflection that investigates, through Dante’s episodes, the mystery of death, the affliction given by sin, the search for a forbidden and absolute love that leaves the chthonic of eros to rise to the empyrean of agape (the passage dedicated to the episode of Paolo and Francesca is rendered agogically by Ingrid Carbone as a sort of timbre mantra, “resonant”, enveloping in its tenuous crystallinity made of shine which becomes matter, in which desire is purified in the idealistic regret of love not lived in the name of a greater and absolute love, the one eminently arising from the folds of spirituality).
From here I can guess why the Calabrian artist wanted to tackle this page and the others of the engraving in question with a Bechstein A-228, a courageous choice since this instrument must sometimes be tamed by its mechanics and of the “extreme” sound that expresses both in the acute register and in the grave register; a choice that makes us understand how Ingrid Carbone symbolically wanted to make more marked, at least in the Après une lecture du Dante, the “kingdom of infernal darkness” through the low register and the “kingdom of divine light” with the acute one (the trill expressed and reminiscent of Paolo and Francesca at the end of the page it is symptomatic of this allegorical power, a warning and a forgiveness at the same time, before the gates of hell are closed again on the massive serious and solemn agreements).
Also in 1849 the Consolations, six pensées poétiques, date back to the final version, whose title probably refers to the homonymous poetic collection of Joseph Delorme, pseudonym used by Charles Sainte-Beuve, published nineteen years before, but whose poetic counterpart can also involve the most famous poetic collection of Novalis, the six Hymnen an die Nacht, which represent a deeply lived heroic-philosophical-religious experience, able to exalt who experiences it to undertake a spiritual path that leads to winning the idea of death. At the same time, however, we must not forget, even at the executive level, that these six short passages seem to have an ideal point of reference with Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte.
Another composition, therefore, that reflects the “ethical” dimension evoked by Kierkegaard, together with the image of a tenuous méditation poetique by Lamartine memory; pianistically, a mix that includes the sense of memory, of spiritual meditation, of a sentimental languor in which, at times, the concept of eros has the upper hand over that of agape, in addition to the image of a reparatory consolation in Christian terms . How does Ingrid Carbone interpret them? With a scan that chooses from time to time the presence or absence of a phrase that is a symbol of union or fracture in its absence, as happens in the very short Andante with initial motion or that is realized rhythmically in the second Consolation (A little more moved) , whose time dilation must be made without debasing the entire system. And with the concept of the Traum, of dream, which dominates the third Consolation (Lento placido), the Cosentina pianist conceives a timbre liquidity that allows to express a rarefied, crystalline phrasing, without falling into the dull and the sickly (the work of connection with the left hand is a balm for the development of the right one). The choral gait of the fourth (Almost Adagio), seems to echo the Lutheran Amen from Dresden present in Mendelssohn’s Fifth Symphony, which Ingrid Carbone exalts with a hieratic and solemn sense, while maintaining its expressive sweetness. A rarefied sweetness that the Calabrian interpreter does not abandon in the fifth Consolation (Andantino), in which the eloquence is imbued with sad remembrances that are only dissolved with the last Consolation (Allegretto cantabile), whose cantabile seems to truly recall the human voice and that the pianism of the artist from Cosenza manages to unravel with a veil of subtle magic, managing to camouflage those virtuosistic cues that refer for a moment to the “aesthetic” sphere of the first Liszt.
As for the Liebestraum (O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst!), Before entering into the execution in question, it deserves a clarification premise; his being (apparently) sugary and dull has always involved interpretative misunderstandings. This is because the piece was shelved by the greatest pianists of the twentieth century, apart from Arrau, since it had to pay the price of being an exquisitely “sentimental” page, almost a “light music” piece disguised as classical contours for use and consumption of very easy palates; moreover, this reputation is based on a gross misunderstanding that derives from the title itself, Dream of Love, which suggests a passage in which a present feeling hovers, experienced by a man and a woman with an abundant dose of romanticism. In reality, this Liebestraum was transcribed from a lyric for song and piano, on verses by Ferdinand Freiligrath, written in 1845; let’s be clear, of tragic inspiration as they sing the loss of a loved one, anticipating a poetic dimension that is closer to decadence rather than romanticism tout court. After all, more than a dream of love, it is the translation of a funeral march and as such must be expressed, just as Ingrid Carbone does in the phrasing that does not let itself go to decidedly out of place re-flowering, as if they were accompanying a video on the figurines Liebig d’antan; a poignant, melancholic funeral march, interwoven with piercing regrets on which to channel the timbral impulses that appear in the middle of the piece. A song, in short, to be interpreted looking back.
That Liszt drew not only from literary but also pictorial themes is a well-known and acquired thing and the second of the two Legends, St. Francois de Paule: marchant sur les flots, is a clear demonstration of this, given that the Hungarian composer took inspiration for this extraordinary page after being strongly impressed by a painting by the German painter Eduard Jakob von Steinle, one of the greatest exponents of the mid-nineteenth century Nazarene movement, which depicted this miracle (according to legend, Francesco da Paola, not having the money to be ferried from a boatman to cross the strait of Messina, he managed to do so by spreading his cloak as if it were a small boat).
This piece needs a great deal of control, especially with the left hand, starting from a melodic phrase that is taken up with ever increasing strength, without however transforming the reading into an act of Titanism that would be difficult to reconcile with the meekness of the saint, but who instead to exalt the strength of faith (which reaches its climax in the final part, when a Lento takes over, which is almost an invitation to reflection and meditation). The interpretative sensitivity that Ingrid Carbone demonstrates is confirmed by the fact that the crescendo timbric progression is fully respected without resorting to impulses, but starting from half-tones that little by little give the impression (ie the representation) of the mantle of the saint that ferries Francesco da Paola on the waters of the strait, overcoming the physical forces of nature. A progression that is precisely interrupted by the irruption of the Slow, unraveled with emotion and emotion, before the left hand takes up the “Gregorian” gait that leads the song to the closing, and that the Calabrian artist decides not to close resorting to a fff, but to a more collected and meditative ff.
If the readings of the Cosentina pianist are therefore fully convincing, the painful notes come from the technical side of the recording. So it has already been said, Ingrid Carbone recorded the record with a Bechstein A-228, a rocky piano, which plays a lot on the contrast between the low register (very dark) and the high register (particularly bright) and which recalls, in a certain meaning, the legendary Érard pianos, beloved by Liszt, with a more powerful timbre than the “competitors” Pleyel, loved by Chopin. The problem with the Bechstein, as with the Bösendorfer, is that it is difficult to capture their sound, as if the mic is not ideally positioned, the low register tends to “rumble”, while the high register causes, due to its crystallinity thrust, a “metallic” effect, saturating the highs and causing imperfections as regards the parameter of tonal balance. And this is exactly what happened with the sound in question (and this I was able to verify both by listening to the sound tracks with the professional solid-state theater system, and with the desk-top sound system). Although the sound stage sees the instrument recreated in the center of the speakers, although very close, both detail and dynamics are inevitably affected by the opposing registers which tend to saturate the sound space, impoverishing the audiophile side.
Artistic judgment 4/5