Daniel Colalillo, Pianist Klavierhaus, New York

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Donald Isler
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Daniel Colalillo, Pianist Klavierhaus, New York

Post by Donald Isler » Thu Oct 06, 2022 7:49 pm

Daniel Colalillo, Pianist
Klavierhaus - New York
October 1st, 2022

Bach - C Major prelude WTC Book I
Julian Bennett Holmes - Recercare *
Irene Britton Smith - Two Short Preludes for Piano
Stephanie Anna Boyd - Gotham Requiem Op. 78 *
Roslavets - Prelude No. 5
Scriabin - Prelude for Left Hand Alone Op. 9 No. 1
Thomas Weaver - Out of Shadows *
Rachmaninoff - Prelude in B flat Op. 23 No. 2


Noah Kellman - Prelude *
Messiaen - Prelude No. 1 La Colombe (The Dove)
Debussy - La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair)
Debussy - La cathédrale engloutie (Sunken Cathedral)
Haralabos (Harry) Stafylan - Prelude: On the Valence of Memory *
Chopin - Prelude No. 20 in c minor & No. 24 in d minor
* World Premiere

Daniel Colalillo is an excellent young pianist with a very creative approach to programming. Here is what he wrote about this recital (which I watched on the livestream):

"..................... I'm extremely excited to share 'Pandemic Piano Preludes.' This project was a long time in the making. I commissioned five distinguished composers to write a piano prelude in the midst of the lockdown when music was silent and we were all at home reflecting on trying times.

"I will be premiering preludes by: Julian Bennett Holmes, Stephanie Ann Boyd, Thomas Weaver, Noah Kellman & Harry Stafylakis. This solo recital will also feature standard prelude favorites such as: Bach, Debussy, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, and rarely performed preludes by Ukraine composer Roslavets & African-American composer Irene Britton Smith."

Mr. Colalillo opened with a lovely, spacious reading of the first Bach Prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier, which everyone knows so well. This was followed by the Holmes Recercare, which was sparse, had interesting starts and stops throughout, and reminded me of the sound of Glenn Gould's reading of the Sweelinck Organ Fantasy.

The Preludes of Irene Britton Smith were dramatic, featuring interesting harmonic wanderings, and an extensive use of perfect intervals (fourths, fifths, and octaves).

Composer Stephanie Anna Boyd said her Gothic Requiem was "one long prayer." It began in D Minor, slow and muffled. Later it developed into a great big sound, but ended with soft chords, and a spiritual sensibility.

The Roslavets Prelude was beautiful and searching, after which Mr. Colalillo turned his attention to the Scriabin Prelude for the Left Hand, which was haunting. Indeed, he always plays expressively, never mechanically!

Thomas Weaver's "Out of the Shadows" began ominously, with "bells of alarm" in the right hand ringing against the left hand ostinato. The emotional temperature was raised and lowered, as the levels of intensity changed. It ended with a sequence that resolved on a major seventh.

The Rachmaninoff Prelude was performed a little slower than one sometimes hears it, but the duet between the two melodies in the middle section was beautifully brought out.

The Prelude by Noah Kellman, one of the most interesting works on the program (in my opinion), begins with a fast circular left hand motive to which the right hand reacts, sometimes with melody, sometimes with rapid figurations. There is a quieter, more poetic interlude, after which the melody appears in the left hand, against fast notes in the right. After a lot of drama, it ends softly.

The Messiaen Prelude, an early work, was lovely. It was followed by two very well-known Debussy Preludes. The Girl with the Flaxen Hair was thoughtful, and the Sunken Cathedral indeed sounded like a spiritual "adventure," as the music helped one visualize the cathedral rising up from the waters, and then receding once again.

The Prelude by Haralabos (Harry) Stafylan began with a brawny left-hand motive and expressive right hand part. Later sections were mellow, then virtuosic.

The famous 20th Prelude of Chopin was slow, but moved along well, and Mr. Colalillo brought out the alto voice in the repeat of one phrase, an interesting effect I had never heard before. He concluded the printed program dramatically with the big D Minor Prelude.

Two very contrasting encores followed: A short Ravel Prelude which was lovely and fragrant, and the First Prelude of Gershwin, which was absolutely rollicking!

Donald Isler
Donald Isler

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