Fiammetta Tarli & Ivo Varbanov


Fiammetta Tarli & Ivo Varbanov have been partners in life and on stage for many years. Underpinning this project is their deep understanding of music and its meaning for those who attend classical music concerts.

Fiammetta and Ivo have in fact created together a very personal concept of ‘thematic concerts’.

The concept in itself is not new, but it goes back to the profound motivation of listening to music: in a now quite remote past, without television or internet, computers or mobile phones, we had no other way to travel with the mind except in the imagination : reading a book, or going to the theater or a concert.

The concert event stimulated new thoughts and sensations: it was essential to nourish the inner world of emotions. Anyone who goes to listen to a classical music concert today is basically looking for the same experience.

Ivo and Fiammetta’s thematic concerts offer journeys of the imagination, or tell stories. At the basis of their programs there is always an underlying narrative or a search for deep emotions.

Ivo and Fiammetta have decided to start this collaboration with APM in order to propose a wide repertoire that spans the entire piano repertoire for four hands and two pianos.
Below is an example of their programs.
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Fiammetta and Ivo have chosen some of the most unforgettable pieces for piano four hands for this entirely romantic program.
Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Fantasy in F minor, D 940, Op. 103 (1828)
Felix Mendessohn (1809-1847), Die Hebriden (1829-30), Op. 26, version for piano four hands by F. Mendelssohn

Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Bilder aus Osten (Images of the East) – 6 Impromptu for piano four hands, Op. 66 (1848)
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Edward Grieg (1843-1907), Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, version for piano four hands by E. Grieg (1874-75)

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), Neue Liebeslieder Walzer (New Waltz Love Songs) for piano four hands, Op. 65a (1869-1874) on the verses of the “Polydora” by Georg Friedrich Daumer

Fiammetta Tarli and Ivo Varbanov, piano four hands

Schubert’s Wanderer, in his romantic wandering lost forever in a nostalgic idyll in Neverland, meets his Schuman counterpart here: In Bilder aus Osten (Images of the East), the Musician-Poet is inspired by Die Verwandlungen von Abu Serug (The Metamorphoses of Abu Serug) by Al-Hariri of Basra, a collection of Arabic poems translated into German by the pen of Friedrich Rueckert.
The wonderful wanderings continue with the meeting of another romantic character created by Henrik Ibsen: Edward Grieg composed the incidental music for the premiere of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt in Christiania (Oslo) on 24 February 1876. In Suite No. 1, the whose version for piano four hands is by Grieg himself, we find some unforgettable scenes: the idyllic Morning Mood, the death of Peer Gynt’s mother (Åses), the dance of Anitra, the chieftain’s daughter who cheerfully strips Peer Gynt of everyone his possessions as she seduces him, and finally the Troll King of the Mountain, whose motto Peer Gynt will adopt during the strange wanderings that shape his entire existence: ‘Be true to yourself and to hell with the world.’ Peer Gynt as an old man he ends his days and his journey as poor as it began, but he still retains an aura of childlike innocence that will save him in the end – perhaps.
The last stage of this romantic journey takes the listener to the wiser shores of Brahms’ Neue Liebeslieder Walzer (the second collection of waltzes on love songs by the Hamburg composer) in the version for piano four hands (i.e. without vocal quartet ). Here Brahms unfolds, in the space of one or two minutes for each waltz, a sublime variety of atmospheres and characters. The lyrics of Liebeslieder, from Georg Fredrich Daumer’s collection, come from popular songs from various European and non-European countries, from Turkey to Poland, Latvia, and Italy (Sicily). The Liebeslieder Walzer series ends with Goethe’s ethereal Conclusion: “Nun, ihr Musen, genug” (Now, you Muses, it is enough). The music stops but persists in the mind, with poignant tenacity.
Text © 2022 by Fiammetta Tarli (PhD)

Ivo Varbanov & Fiammetta Tarli

Husband and wife Ivo Varbanov and Fiammetta Tarli are both experienced concert pianists and musicians with a passion for unconventional music production of the highest quality.
When in 2013 they joined forces and started performing as piano duo, a chemistry of musi- cal personalities was immediately evident beyond their bond as husband and wife.
Their encounter at the house of Ilona Deckers in Milan, an eminent Hungarian teacher, ex- plains their refned central European sound culture; yet in many aspects they seem to complement each other in rich textures of a never-ending dialogue.
Despite their success as a duo, they have not ceased their performing activity as soloists and in various other chamber music formations.
Between 2016 and 2023 Fiammetta and Ivo have performed worldwide as soloists as well as a piano duo with recitals in the UK, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Luxenbourg, Poland, Macedonia, Slovakia, and China.