A 'Gigantic' Pietro De MariaYou need an almost athletic performance besides talent and technical and interpretative ability. You need a lot of gifts to face a program like the one Venetian pianist Pietro De Maria offered the audience of the Teatro Eden last Thursday. And perhaps you would also need too many adjectives that border on exaltation to describe the way De Maria played that titanic program. And one above all: lucidity. The same lucidity that did not allow the extremely precocious talent that won the Cortot competition for him at the age of 13 to be squandered in child prodigy shows, or in the search for teachers with exotic names to add to his biography. First a student of Giorgio Vianello, and then of Gino Gorini at the conservatory of his town, he later took graduate courses with Maria Tipo, a pianist who prefers a fine sound to an impressive one, an accurate interpretation to an easy conception.
And with the same lucidity with which he tackled the Etudes, De Maria is carrying on, at the age of 37, his intensely applauded career: choosing his engagements and measuring out his energy. But when you decide to play the Four Ballades and the Twenty-four Etudes all in the same evening, it is no trifle: you intend to play for more than an hour and a half music that concedes no respite to the most expert pianist. But, in fact, De Maria acts with lucidity: he doesn’t tire because he has the agility that Chopin demands, and he doesn’t get sidetracked by the facile clichés that always accompany the figure of the Polish composer. Even Chopin’s romanticism is lucid in De Maria’s hands: virtuosity that has no trace of exhibitionism, capable of absolute control of the sonority and of a warm, evocative timbre – but with no mawkishness – that restores to Chopin above all the dignity of the revolutionary composer, rather than of the drawing-room pianist that, unfortunately, histories too often portray him as.
The audience thanked him with protracted applause.