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Roberto Prosseda is currently the only musician who regularly gives concerts on the pedal piano. Also called a piano-pédalier or Pedalflügel, this is a double piano with an organ-like pedal board connected to a second piano. It is an instrument cherished by Mozart, Schumann and Alkan, which fell into disuse in the early 20th century and is now being revived by Prosseda himself. Prosseda made his pedal piano debut on Sept. 11, 2011, presenting the first modern performance of Charles Gounod's Concerto in E-flat Major (1893) for piano-pédalier and orchestra, with the Filarmonica Toscanini of Parma conducted by Jan Latham Koenig.

On April 20, 2012, the Wall Street Journal devoted an entire page to his project to rediscover the piano-pédalier repertoire (Mozart, Schumann, Alkan, Gounod) and the instrument itself.

Prosseda commissioned the organ-builder Pinchi to make a special pedalboard, which can be combined with two piano-pédaliers a cosa, so that a piano-pédalier can be obtained in any concert hall equipped with two grand pianos, with minimal transportation expense. The Pinchi Pedalpiano System has a 5-octave range and three registers (16', 8', 4'), so that the pedalboard timbre is of extreme variety and richness. It is assembled in less than an hour and disassembled in about 15 minutes.

In 2013, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Charles Valentin Alkan's birth, Prosseda performed much of his music for piano-pédalier. In the attached youtube links you can see performances of piano-pédalier pieces by Alkan and Schumann from Roberto Prosseda's recital at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza on June 4, 2012. Various composers have composed new pieces for piano-pédalier dedicated to Roberto Prosseda, including Michael Bakrnčev, Nimrod Borenstein, Nicola Campogrande, Luca Lombardi, Giuseppe Lupis, Ennio and Andrea Morricone, and Michael Glenn Williams.

Prosseda has also often performed at the piano-pédalier as a soloist with orchestra, playing the Gounod Concerto with the Berliner Symphoniker, the Weimar Staatskapelle, the Lahti Philharmonic, the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra della Radio Svizzera Italiana, the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, and the Toscanini of Parma. In October 2012, he recorded a CD premiere of four pieces for piano-pédalier and orchestra by Gounod with the Orchestra della Radio Svizzera Italiana conducted by Howard Shelley (Hyperion).

Repertoire for piano-pédalier and orchestra

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Concerto K 466 in D minor (reconstruction of version for piano-pédalier and orchestra by Francesco Finotti, 2012).

Charles Gounod:

Concerto in E-flat major for piano-pédalier and orchestra (1889)

Suite Concertante for piano-pédalier and orchestra (1888)

Danse Romaine for piano-pédalier and orchestra (1885)

Phantasie sur l'Hymne Russe for piano-pédalier and orchestra (1886)

Cristian Carrara:

Magnificat for piano-pédalier and orchestra (2011)

Repertoire for piano-pédalier recital (selection)

Bach: Passacaglia in C minor BWX 582 für zwei Claviere mit Pedal

Mozart: Fantasia in F minor K 608 for mechanical organ


6 Etuden für den Pedalflügel op. 56

4 Skizzen für den Pedalflügel op. 58

Boëly: Fantaisie et Fugue op. 18 no. 6 pour piano-pédalier

Liszt: Fantasy and Fugue on the chorale "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" für Pedalfügel


Benedictus op. 54 pour piano-pédalier

Impromptu op. 69 pour piano-pédalier

13 Prières op. 64 pour piano-pédalier

3 Etudes pour les pieds seulement

11 Grands Préludes op. 66 pour piano-pédalier

Gounod: Marche Funèbre pour une Marionette (version for piano-pédalier by Giuseppe Lupis)

E. Morricone: Studio IV bis for piano-pédalier (2011)

A. Morricone: Hommage à JSB (2011)

N. Borenstein: Fireworks (2012)

N. Campogrande: Chorale & Pedmix (2013)

M. G. Williams: Tip-Tap (2012)

G. Lupis:

8 Variations on "Ah vou dirai je, mamam" (2012)

Bravura Variations for solo pedalboard (2012)

Michael Bakrnčev:

4 pieces:

I: Let The Sun Shine

II: Dusk

III: Melody

IV: Earth Dance

Excerpts from the press review:

'Playing Heart, Soul and Feet'

Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda revives a lost art, recreating the haunting melodies of a pedal piano. The Italian pianist is on a one-man mission to revive the music of the pedal piano, a monstrous double-decker grand piano that was popular in the late-19th century but has long since fallen out of fashion. In addition to the theatrical element, there is the almost architectural quality of the sound, created by the interplay of the two vertically stacked soundboards. In the works for pedal piano by Schumann, that spatial element is given an emotional dimension. [...]

Corinna da Fonseca Wollheim, The Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2012

'A real winner ... one of the very jolliest of piano-and-orchestra recordings to come my way for some time ... being Gounod, it is supremely well-crafted melodic music but the kind of material that can collapse like a soufflé without the right cast to show it in its best light ... Hyperion's cast is top drawer ... given exactly the right light touch and deft execution, abetted by Howard Shelley's stylish accompaniment, Gounod's box of bonbons is an unexpected delight'


'Excellent performances'

BBC Music Magazine

'Very well played by Roberto Prosseda'

The Guardian

'These four works are often charming and witty, sometimes massive and sometimes delicate. Prosseda plays all of the solo parts with Gallic elegance, while Howard Shelley encourages the strings of the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana to play with superb legato, and the woodwinds to combine with the upper register of the piano in delightful tintinnabulations. Hyperion's recorded sound expands and contracts in accord with the sonority of the music. This release is certainly 'off the beaten track' but it is definitely worth exploring' International Record Review

'Gounod composed four works for piano and orchestra, and these are expertly captured on this Hyperion album ... the sound world is fascinating; a multi-textured tapestry woven by an empowered soloist. The neoclassical Suite concertante in A major has fire in its belly, full of swooping melodies and earworm motifs. The Concerto juxtaposes light and dark, yet retains a playful character'

International Piano

'Im Klavierkonzert [werden] triumphale Gestik und aristokratischer Habitus allerdings hinter eleganten Arabesken und melancholischen Passagen verschleiert ... parallel zu den Orchesterstimmen, von Howard Shelley genau balanciert, kann Roberto Prosseda den nicht allzu virtuosen Duktus makellos in die "Chasse", in die sehr liebliche Romanze und schließlich bis zur perkussiven Tarantella nahtlos integrieren'

Piano, Germany

Deshalb sind auch die Etuden op. 56 und die Skizzen op. 58 von Robert Schumann eher diskrete Experimente mit ein paar zusätzlichen Grundtönen. Doch danach legte Roberto Prosseda mehr Wert auf den pianistschen Überbau. Bei einer Uraufführung von Luca Lombardi eighte er, mit Themen von Mendelssohn und jüdischen Melodien, subtilen Piano-Minimalismus sowie dramatische Fort-Cluster-Gewitter als Schreckensbeschwörungen von Aushwitz. Auf diesem Weg zeighte Prosseda sämtliche Möglichkeiten seines Instruments. Zum Höhepunkt wurde jedoch der alte Klaiertitan Liszt - ohne Pedal, nur mit ein paar sparsamen Basstönen als Verstärkung der orchestralen Fantasien. In der gewaltigen Dante-Sonate nach Sonetten von Petrarca spielte Prosseda alle Register von Liszts Klavierkünsten aus, sein unermüdliches Narrativ, die thetorische Überwältigung, die facettenreiche Tonmalerei un das wogende Aud- un Ab gestischer Beschwörungen. Nach so viel Piano pur blieben nur noch zwei Zugaben von Alkan und Gounod für die Demonstration der exotischen Pedalkünste an diesem Abend.

Suddeutsche Zeitung, Feb. 16, 2015

Today the only great performer who has accepted the challenge of Pedal Piano to the fullest is Roberto Prosseda, who has become its standard bearer. The results are excellent, for Prosseda is able to combine a sense of measure and order, cleanliness, clarity and precision with a rare sensitivity to phrasing and serious interpretive excavation. The vigor of the interpretation of Schumann's Op. 58 leaves one breathless, both in technical command and emotional momentum: it seems as if one is witnessing the entrance of Florestan, one of the composer's two "alter egos," the more passionate and passionate one. Such is the case with Op. 56, removed from all saloon flattery and plunged into the living fire of Romanticism. Prosseda exhibits beautifully crafted legato and expertly calibrated pianissimi even in Boëly's Fugue, whose details are all perfectly in focus. Not to mention Alkan's Benedictus, a thrilling page, rendered with sweeping phrasing. Alkan's Etude and Preludes are overwhelming in dramatic and virtuosic vigor, while Gounod's Funeral March is tastefully grotesque.

Music, Luca Segalla, 1/2015

El piano-pédalier tuvo una discreta difusion a lo largo del siglo XIX e interesò a compoisitores come Schumann, Liszt, Aklan y Gounod. Este ultimo escribio cuatro partituras para piano-pédalier y orquesta tras conocer a Lucies Palicot, virtuosa del instrumento. Roberto Prosseda lleva algun tiempo dedicandose a la recuperacion de este repertorio olvidado y lo hace con resultados brillantes.

Stefano Russomanno, ABC Cultural, March 2, 2015


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