Santa Cecilia’s 2012 -2013 Season in Rome

ItalyItalyWhat do you look for in Concert Programming?:  Santa Cecilia’s 2012 -2013 Season in Rome


What do you look for in a new concert season? Many people rush through the programme ticking off music and artists they like and crossing off those they don’t. Following our likes and dislikes is another –maybe more polite-way of saying we are following up on prejudices.  The season’s programming (by this line of reasoning) is there either to confirm or negate my (already made) choices. 

But I have found a question which causes me to look at a programme in a different light.  Which music and / or performers in these programmes are likely to increase my understanding of this (known or unknown) music? Like everyone else, I have my likes and dislikes –my prejudices-  which will either be confirmed or negated through the experience  of the concert. The point I want to make is that some concerts seem more tempting on the experience scoreboard than others. Herewith my not-to-be-missed choices.

The second and third concerts of the Chamber Music Season (normally Friday nights) already have my adrenalin flowing. On 1 November Evgeny Kissin will play the Haydn B flat sonata, four Schubert impromptus, a soufflé finale of the C sharp minor Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody and –wait for it!-  Beethoven Opus 111. Kissin has always something “interesting” to show us in music we thought we knew.  Then that other insightful pianist, Martha Argerich, is joined by the soloists of the S Cecilia orchestra for what promises to be a joyous romp, taking in Ravel’s Mother Goose, the Saint-Saëns Carnival of Animals and the Schumann piano quintet on 11 November. The great lady then joins the orchestra (17, 19, 20 November) for the Schumann concerto with Pappano conducting and two other Schumann pieces –Nachtlied Op 108 and the second symphony completing the programme. 

EMI will record the Verdi Four Sacred Pieces (13, 14, 15 October) which is heralded in with Bruckner’s ninth.  Pappano conducts this opening of the season concert.  Verdi (whose bicentenary falls in 2013) will also be celebrated in a Pappano-led concert performance of Un Ballo in Maschera  (8, 10, 12 June) with a promising cast including Ludmyla Monastyrska, Francesco Meli, Dmitri Hvoronstovsky and Dolora Zajick. 

The Wagner bicentenary is encouragingly marked by Kirill Petrenko conducting a concert performance (23, 25, 27 February) of Das Rheingold  with the (predominantly)  Bayreuth cast, led by Wolfgang  Koch, Jürgen Müller, Andreas Scheiber, Nina Bernsteiner and Andrea Bönig. 

EMI will also be recording the Rossini Petite Messe Solonnelle, in the full orchestral version and Antonio Pappano conducting with Marina Rebeka, Sara Mingardo, Francesco Meli and Alex Esposito, soloists (10, 12, 13 November)

A one night only concert performance of Die Zauberflöte comes on 21 November with René Jacobs conducting the Academie für Alte Musik, Rias KammerchorBerlin, and Lydia Teuscher (Pamina) Topi Lehtipuu (Tamino) and Burcu Uyar (Queen of the Night). 

A great pianist (Daniel Barenboim) joins a great conductor (Antonio Pappano) for a Mozart concerto to be specified and the Chopin first concerto on 13 December. 

Sir Antonio enters new territory with the Bach St Matthew Passion (23, 25, 26 March) and an impressive line-up of soloists –Genia Kuehmeier, Ann Hallenberg, Lothar Odinius, Matthias Goerne and Peter Mattei. 

The ever-reliable Fabio Biondi conducts an all-Mozart programme with the Coronation Mass, Symphony no 21, K134, and piano concerto no 27 K 595 (soloist Benedetto Lupo) on 27, 28 and 30 April. 

Antonio Pappano’s enthusiasm (of which he has a great deal) is infectious and at the Press Conference for the Season he was waxing eloquent on the music of Jörg Widmann (born in Munichin 1973).  Maestro Widmann will be heard in his own fantasia for clarinet (1993) in a chamber concert on 8 February and in the first Italian performance of his orchestral piece, Teufel Amor conducted by Pappano on 8, 10, 11 December. 

The centenary of Britten’s birth is marked on 26, 27 and 28 May with Ian Bostridge (tenor) in the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. Sir Antonio opens this programme with the Verdi Quartet for strings and the Beethoven fifth to close. 

Natalia Gutman (cello) and Elisso Virsaladze (piano) join forces for two concerts of the Beethoven sonatas for that combination, the first of which is on 5 April, with the second to be announced.  Uto Ughi will also make a double appearance with the Mozart violin concertos –numbers 2,3 and 7 on 24 April and numbers 4, 1 and 5 on 25 May. 

The orchestra’s leading cellist, Luigi Piovano will be present with baton and bow for his own transcription of Schubert’s Arpeggione for strings and cello and the Mahler transcription of the Death and the Maiden Quartet (3 May).

The annual recital of Grygory Sokolov is fixed for 8 May with a programme to be announced. 

The full programme is downloadable at the Accademia’s website –

Jack Buckley