Fabio Parrini


Fabio Parrini has been a friend of mine for more than a dozen years or so. As a musician he is a consummate artist with an amazing capacity for both technical detail and interpretive nuance. Every time I hear him or listen to his recordings, I learn something new, about either the music he performs or how it really should be played. I especially recommend his most recent recording of the Schumann Fantasie Op. 17, which captures an absolutely visionary performance.

"Mr. Parrini is a sensitive pianist. He chose George Gershwin's Three Preludes from 1926 as the opening work. In the second prelude, he demonstrated that an Italian-born classical pianist can "lay back" like the best jazz piano players, delaying each note of the tune until just after the beat. The third "Spanish Prelude" reminds one of Xavier Cugat's influence on jazz. Parrini chose more twentieth-century music to open the second half. Toru Takemitsu's Saegirarenai Kyūsoku I (Uninterrupted Rest) is written without barlines. The three brief movements evoke emotions, including meanness and love. It was a pleasure to hear these novel works in concert, played with authority and depth of feeling."

"Both [Eun-Sun Lee and Fabio Parrini] seemed especially comfortable in Mendelssohn's Sonata in F Major for violin and piano composed in 1838...Challenging sequences with brilliant solo interludes for both instruments proved an equalizing tour de force. As if sun broke through the clouds, the mood turned jubilant with instrumental pyrotechnics to match. The race-like final presto, with its graceful arching of phrases, gave full vent to the virtuosic duet performance."

"Pianist Fabio Parrini established himself immediately as a fine collaborator, carefully voicing his piano pieces to complement the other instruments. ....Ms. Steinbeck and Mr. Parrini were fully in command, and gave the audience an introduction to a very pleasing work with a lot of depth. It would be good to hear more of this composer’s works played with the same assurance and authority that this performance gave us..... Having had the benefit of attending the working rehearsal during which the trio painstakingly put together their interpretation, I could appreciate the effort that went into putting together the angular syncopation, the hemiolas and accents, the open strings, the piano articulation, the harmonics and the coloration. The result was a performance that was definitive and authoritative. They made it sound easy."

"The destiny of the instrument leads to Ravel's great use of color in "Scarbo" through the Romantic epic, as widely and fully illustrated by Schumann's "Symphonic Etudes", Op. 13. Parrini meditates upon those messages and is able to grasp their meaning, first as a historic document, and then as a moment of clear and illuminating art, which is more important. He tackles and unveils them with fierce technique, and adds a sort of very personal optimistic quality to it all, due to his youthful yet thoughtful character. The large audience listened to him attentively and applauded him as he deserved, obtaining an encore by Bach."

"The "Musical Spring" series of the "Amici della Musica" allowed Fabio Parrini (last year's winner of the "Porrino" Competition) to exhibit his flawless technique one more time, along with an uncommon intensity of expression."

"The performance of Ravel's Concerto in G was about parrini's enchanting work as solo pianist. His strengths were best displayed in the trill-laden cadenza of the first movement, with its beautiful left-hand melody, and the simple lyrical melody which opens the second. Parrini also performed with pristine clarity a Liszt transcription of a Paganini etude as an encore."

"The level of students was impressive, and one of them, Fabio Parrini, is a born pianist; he played two of Rachmaninoff's Etudes-Tableaux."

"Next came W. A. Mozart's Piano Concerto in C Major KV 467, brought to us by the young pianist Fabio Parrini, the featured artist of this concert, who pleasantly surprised us with his precise touch and good phrasing."

"His technique is fluid, responsive and natural; his sound is nuanced and varied, delicate when need be, robust when called for.… He treated Haydn’s Sonata No. 52 in E-flat as the grand, startling composition it is. The tempos were unhurried and steady. This was a fully considered, insightful performance… Parrini’s performance was arresting. In the first movement, he was alert to the vivid drama of Haydn’s wayward harmonies and stunning key shifts. He shaped the Adagio in long, lyrical arcs…His performance of Schubert’s magnificent late sonata in G major, D. 894, was reminiscent in its grace, intelligence and refinement of the lovely recording Peter Serkin made when he was 19 years old. Parrini understands the mystical qualities of this music. But the sonata is underpinned throughout with dance rhythms. Parrini’s feeling for the music’s dance elements brought forth his most free and vibrant playing. The Menuetto had lilt and pungency. The final Allegretto had bumptious charm with no loss to its soulful delicacy."

"Fabio Parrini and his piano gave an afternoon of great music to all the audience who gathered in the hall at Petrarch's House. ..... Even though his credentials are excellent, nobody would have expected a performance of such class."

"[Fabio Parrini] offered glimpses of intimate, quiet musicianship alongside razzle-dazzle virtuosity in a program of Mozart, Chopin, and Debussy. Parrini's way with finespun lyricism was the most impressive feature of a difficult and varied program that also demonstrated the pianist's secure technique and flair...The most beautiful, poetic works came in the first part of the program, which began with a rendition of Mozart's "Adagio in B Minor" (K. 540) memorable for Parrini's breathtaking emotional expressiveness...Equally moving were Parrini's Ballade No. 2 in F Major Op. 38 and Nocturne in B Major Op. 62, No. 1 by Chopin.... Parrini incorporated stunning contrasts in his performance...[he] brought out all the artillery for the fast passages of Chopin's middle section, which provided his first opportunity to impress the audience with his technical facility. Parrini also rolled out the fireworks for the agitated center portion of Chopin's Nocturne in E Major Op. 62, No. 2, an extraordinarily difficult work that proved an audience favorite.... Parrini proved brilliant in dealing with the variety of technical challenges as well as the interpretive hurdles this engrossing collection [Debussy's Etudes, Book 1] presents... [He] brought great wit and dexterity to the composer's spasmodic view of the scales...At the end he breezed through "Study for Eight Fingers"...in Parrini's hands, even this curious, humorous piece was not lacking in beauty."

Opening the concert were four movements from François Couperin's Concert Royal No. 4, featuring Joy Sears, Sonja Coppenbarger, and Fabio Parrini. Opening the Prelude was a delicate flute melody played by Sears, who was quickly joined by Coppenbarger and Parrini. It ended with a rich and warm bassoon part that expanded into the lower registers, resonating into the rafters of the chapel. As the piece moved into the Allemande, it was evident that the performers were in perfect synchronization with each other. The chapel acoustics were extremely accommodating for the trio, and the balance was exceptional throughout the entire piece. Style changed once more when the performers began the Rigadon with playful, bouncy lines, with a lyrical underpinning in the bassoon. At one point, flutist Sears dove into the rich, sonorous register, allowing sound to just ring in the room. Their last section of the Concert Royal No. 4 was Forlane en Rondeau. All three performers did a marvelous job matching articulations and artistic styles as the movement progressed. Sears, Coppenbarger, and Parrini truly encapsulated typical Baroque musical style with phrasing, dynamic contrast, and articulation that were delicate and light, yet moving. The playing just seemed extremely easy for them, which made listening enjoyable.