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Student appreciation and review of Luca Rasa recital

Luca Rasca Solo Piano Recital on Sunday 28th July at Perth Modern School by Vevina Yang

M. Clementi

Sonata in G minor, Op. 34, No. 2

The G minor sonata delivered a solemn emotion which began with three singular solitary notes echoing in the hall before starting the mechanism of the sonata by Muzio Clementi. The Italian composer, also known as ‘Father of the Piano’, composed about 110 piano sonata works. Mozart wrote a letter to his sister preferring her to not play Clementi’s sonatas due to the complexity of the pieces compared to his, such as jumped runs, and the wide stretches and chords, believing that it may destroy the natural lightness of her hands. Luca Rasca performed the Largo with clearly heard melodies throughout the movement with beautiful phrases, each adding a slight rubato which satisfies the ears. After that, he took off with the next movement, Allegro con fuoco. I loved the energy he gave us in this movement where most parts were intense with emotions, and tonalities were rich in sound. He occasionally contrasted the piece with calm and pleasing sections which differs from the intensity of tones in the piece, producing an engaging performance. However, I personally thought that the repeated notes could’ve had more textures and different colours to make it even more interesting and often the runs were slightly blurred from the excessive use of pedal. Pleasantly, Rasca continued the sonata with Poco adagio. The melodic line was wonderfully voiced with full of meaning and colours. On the other hand, I believed that repeated phrases could’ve been more distinct such as an echo, maintaining the piece more fascinating. Furthermore, Luca Rasca finished off the sonata with Allegro molto. This movement was very well articulated with many great mood swings which made the performance very exciting. Throughout the piece, Rasca performed with amazing techniques which were very fine and clean. Overall, the performance was outstanding and unbelievably marvellous. Rasca’s first performance was truly enjoyable.

Sonata quasi Concerto in C major, Op. 33, No. 3

Sonata quasi Concerto, Op. 33, No. 3 was published in 1794. Luca Rasca started his second piece with a sweet and lovely tune. Throughout the first movement, Rasca mostly had a great sense of direction which was emphasised nicely with his range of dynamics but sometimes his direction could’ve been clearer especially the first chordal sequence at the beginning. I really like his delicate texture as he was able to express it in this piece very well. As I’ve mentioned before in the previous sonata, the scale passages in this piece was once again unclear. I suggest fluttering the pedal or using half pedal to minimise the blurriness, since the hall echoes. Despite that, I really liked his enthusiasm in performing Allegro con spirito, making it very lively and spirited like young children running around with lots of energy. The Adagio e cantabile was presented with an appropriate speed and the melodic sense of the piece was brought out nicely where a great range of dynamics were largely emphasised to show the expressiveness of this movement. Although he clearly voiced the melodic line, I felt that some places could’ve been more lyrical and more in a singing style. This especially happens when Rasca overexaggerates the crescendos in ascending scales and decrescendos in descending scales. However, throughout the piece, Rasca shapes each phrase gorgeously which makes the audience very engaged in the performance. The third movement began with a very light and

playful tune which was rhythmically consistent, and the tempo was always steady. All the phrases were perfectly shaped, and his techniques were very strong. Overall, this performance was very engaging, concluding with a dramatic end.

R. Schumann

Novellette Op. 21, No. 8

Novellette was performed dramatically at the start where it sounded like the blowing of the winds from all the wavy texture Luca Rasca was able to portray. Robert Schumann was a German composer who composed Novellette in 1838. No. 8 in F# minor actually has two pieces. The first part is a passionate Etude which uses a jaunty dance for its first Trio. The second Trio has a similar character, but its content is different. This piece has a march-like nature in this section which contrasts the lyrical passages, the melody from the romantic interlude then returns as the climax. I thought that Luca Rasca performed with beautifully and clearly phrased melodies at the beginning of the Novellette. He had a large dynamic range with very strong sounds in the second Trio. However, I personally felt that the left-hand accompaniment was often slightly too loud which overtook the melody. However, he never failed to amaze me with his very dramatic endings. Luca Rasca’s performance was truly impressive.

Waldzenen Op. 82 Waldzenen in Bb major has nine movements; Entry (Entritt); Hunters on the lookout (Jager auf der Lauer);

Lonely Flowers (Einsame Blumen); Haunted Place (Verrufene Stelle); Friendly Landscape (Freudliche Landschaft); Wayside Inn (Herberge); Bird as Prophet (Vogel als Prophet); Hunting Song (Jagdlied); Farewell (Abschied). The Waldzenen began with Entry which the melody was very lyrical and expressively shaped. The melody was brought out nicely where it was pleasant and relaxing to listen to. The Hunters on the lookout sounded very mysterious at the start. I could imagine a hunter glancing around his surroundings, alert for any suspicion he may notice. This imagination would’ve only happened with the dramatic character Rasca was able to illustrate. The Lonely Flowers contrasted from the intensity of the previous section to a very gentle and breezy texture, like the breeze blowing lightly on the petals of the flower. In the Haunted Place, I felt that the crescendos were slightly too harsh and there could’ve been a greater emphasise on the dynamics to produce a more mysterious and creepy sound, like a haunted house. I really liked his phrases and the push and pull sense of tempo in the Friendly Landscape. Luca Rasca created a pretty peaceful sound in this section which was very enjoyable to hear. In the Wayside Inn, I personally thought that the echo needs to be heard, especially in repeated phrases, like a question and answer. However, Rasca portrayed a very majestic sound at the end of this section. I really liked the Bird as Prophet where I had an image of a bird scooping and diving around the forest, curiously looking for food. The Hunting Song had a very triumphant and victorious sound. The melody was clearly heard, and there was a good sense of direction, especially in the chords. Finally, the Farewell had a change in mood, which it sounded majestic. The melody was voiced out attractively but sometimes the left-hand accompaniment could have been softer to bring out the melody slightly more. The ending for Farewell was very lovely and perhaps bittersweet, since the beautiful Waldzenen has ended. I loved this performance as Luca Rasca was able to illustrate a wonderful story where there were many exciting journeys and events in each movement. Overall, the performance was spectacular!

3 Phantasiestucke Op. 111

Schumann wrote these three pieces while he was struggling with mental illness. Many of his compositions were lacking the freshness and invention of his earlier ones. The Sehr rash, mit leidenschaftlichem Vortrag started off with a very fierce and exciting style. However, I thought that this piece could’ve been wavier and more dramatic by having a greater range of dynamic. The Ziemlich langsam was contrasted by the change of mood and style. Luca Rasca brought out the melodic line pleasantly. However, I thought that there could have been more direction especially ascending sequences. I recommend adding a few crescendos in some parts. The Fraftig und sehr markirt started off with a very cool and march-like style in C minor ending with Eb major (relative major) at the end of cadence points. Luca Rasca presented this movement lyrically with lovely phrases. However, I thought that some parts could’ve been pushed forward with less rubato to keep the satisfaction of the key changes in relative majors and minors at cadence points, making a dramatic and convincing performance. As I’ve mentioned before in previous pieces, the echo needs to be heard in repeated phrases. Overall, Luca Rasca ended the Phantasiestucke stylishly.

I really enjoyed the performance Luca Rasca presented to us on Sunday. Luca Rasca gave us a range of moods from stylish to peaceful and relaxing pieces. His ornaments, techniques and articulation were clean, and his melodies were mostly lyrical in each performance. I’m looking forward to Luca Rasca’s next performance in Perth. It was a very inspirational and admiring performance.

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