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Sergio Calligaris
The pianist's technique and art


Sergio Calligaris' piano techniqueSergio Calligaris' piano technique is one of the most interesting and involving aspects of his entire artistic profile. It is characterised by the sheer brilliance and powerful touch typical of the Leschetizky school: his technical qualities, complemented by a detailed attention to the composition’s form, made him a fine interpreter of romantic (especially Schumann and Chopin), post-romantic (Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Debussy) and contamporary repertoire, whose authors a significant anthology is hereafter proposed.
An astonishing technique which leaves amazed not only because of beauty, clearness and purity of sound, always balanced and careful up to its very inmost expressive shade; but also visually impressive because of the absolute independence of fingers, hook-curved in hands let's say "armed", with a spurt power, a touch accuracy and an infinitesimal control which reveal an innate personal talent trained by a sturdy practice of the old days up to the slightest technical and performing details. Here is an example:

As it is clear, much more eloquent than whatever explanation is the living experience of this technique, by means of listening and watching the Artist at work: those who have got experience in this, during a Maestro's concert, can't keep anything but an impressed memory. Who instead, like the writer, got the extraordinary opportunity to attend Sergio Calligaris' interpretation at his piano, feels to have had a privilege that Maestro grants only to a few people. And from that splendid and indomitable Bechstein that, like Odysseus bending his own bow, he only can tame thanks to his amazing technique - because of the deep and slow action of keys which make it an instrument out of reach of many other fierce pianists, made harder to play since each key was deliberately deprived of its double escapement and made heavier up to 85 grams (instead of 53 or 54 of a concert grand piano) in order to fit such strong technique - rippling waves, billows and darting sprays of sea gushed with crystal clear fluency, softly smashing onto the quietly fluctuating planking of Une Barque sur l'océan, from Ravel's Miroirs. And the lucky listener can hardly recover from the poetic entrancement evoked by the Artist...

To bear witness to Maestro's technique, I will hereafter attach more and more examples to listen, as a hi-fi version, in MP3 format (icon  MP3 file icon): in any case placing the mouse cursor over an icon allows the appearance of a pop-up with information related to duration of piece, size of file and features of output.

"His playing is distinguished by a romantic élan and virtuoso technique. "
[Nicolas Slonimsky, "The Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians"
Edition - G. Schirmer, New York, 1991]

All excerpts have been taken out from (LPs digitally remastered by Carlo Bellani):
[1] LP C053-17973: Bis celebri - EMI His Master's voice (1969)
[2] LP ORS 7142: Sergio Calligaris - Orion Records (1971)
[3] LP ORS 7286: Piano Music of Latin America - Orion Records (1972)
[4] ACD 069, ADD, Ares - Libreria Editrice Vaticana (1993, recordings 1967-'68)
[5] LP ORS 7154: FANTASIA ROMANTICA: Sergio Calligaris al pianoforte - Orion Records (1971)

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)

[4] NOCTURNE in E flat major, op.9 n.2

Nocturne Op.9 n.2 (5'23'')
in Mp3 (4345kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [4345KB] (5:23)

[4] ETUDE in C minor, op.10 n.12

Etude Op.10 n.12 (2'50'')
in Mp3 (2323kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [2323KB] (2:50)

[3] POLONAISE in C sharp minor, op.26 n.1

Polonaise Op.26 n.1 (8'00'')
in Mp3 (6631kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [6631KB] (8:00)

[4] WALTZ in A flat major, op.34 n.1

Waltz Op.34 n.1 (5'45'')
in Mp3 (4643kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [4643KB] (5:45)

[4] IMPROMPTU in F sharp major, op.36

Impromptu Op.36 (6'56'')
in Mp3 (5667kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [5667KB] (6:56)

[4] IMPROMPTU in G flat major, op.51

Impromptu Op.51 (6'11'')
in Mp3 (5099kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [5099KB] (6:11)

[1] POLONAISE in A flat major, op.53 "Heroic"

Polonaise Op.53 (7'29'')
in Mp3 (6278kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [6278KB] (7:29)

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

[1] AUFSCHWUNG, op.12 n.2

Aufschwung Op.12 n.2 (4'03'')
in Mp3 (3320kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3320KB] (4:03)

[3] ARABESQUE, in C major, op.18

Arabesque Op.18 (6'38'')
in Mp3 (5525kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [5525KB] (6:38)

Franz LISZT (1811-1886)


Hungarian Rhapsody n.6 (8'07'')
in Mp3 (6750kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [6750KB] (8:07)


Funerailles (12'22'')
in Mp3 (11188kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [11188KB] (12:22)

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

[1] FIREWORKS, from "Preludes" Book II

Fireworks (4'41'')
in Mp3 (3925kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3925KB] (4:41)

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)

[1] SPANISH DANCE n.5 "Andalucia"

Spanish Dance n.5 (4'31'')
in Mp3 (3777kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3777KB] (4:31)

Juan B. AGUIRRE (1868-1924)

[3] TRISTE (Elegy) N.4 "Cordoba"

Triste (Elegy) N.4 (2'30'')
in Mp3 (2117kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [2117KB] (2:30)

Sergej RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

[4] PRELUDE, in C sharp minor, op.3 n.2

Prelude Op.3 n.2 (4'52'')
in Mp3 (3954kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3954KB] (4:52)

[1] PRELUDE, in G minor, op.23 n.5

Prelude Op.23 n.5 (4'54'')
in Mp3 (4061kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [4061KB] (4:54)

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)

[2] PAVANE pour une infante défunte

Pavane pour une infante défunte (5'54'')
in Mp3 (5026kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [5026KB] (5:54)

[3] UNE BARQUE SUR L'OCEAN, from Miroirs

Une barque sur l'océan (8'45'')
in Mp3 (7095kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [7095KB] (8:45)

Manuel DE FALLA (1876-1946)


Ritual fire dance (3'54'')
in Mp3 (3249kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3249KB] (3:54)

Floro M. UGARTE (1884-1975)

[3] PRELUDE in G minor

Prelude in sol minore (3'39'')
in Mp3 (3028kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3028KB] (3:39)

Francisco MIGNONE (1897-1986)

[3] PRELUDE n.6 "Caiçaras"

Prelude n.6 (3'38'')
in Mp3 (3034kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3034KB] (3:38)

Clarence MADER (1919-1971)


Prelude, tune and eight masquerades (15'26'')
in Mp3 (14203kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [14203KB] (15:26)

Alberico VITALINI (1921-2006)

for piano and orchestra

(Vatican Symphony Orchestra conducted by the Composer)

Fantasia Romantica (12'49'')
in Mp3 (11990kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [11990KB] (12:49)

[5] SCHERZO (1955)

Scherzo (4'19'')
in Mp3 (3977kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3977KB] (4:19)

Gerardo RUSCONI (1922-1974)


Istantanee sonore (3'48'')
in Mp3 (3564kB, 112kbps, 44kHz) [3564KB] (3:48)

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Edited by Renzo Trabucco: Page updated to 30/03/2014
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