Bu­soni

BBC Music Magazine - - Concerto -

Pi­ano Con­certo

Pi­etro Scarpini (pi­ano); Bavar­ian Ra­dio Choir & Sym­phony Or­ches­tra/ Rafael Kubelík

First Hand Records FHR 64 69:58 mins Recorded in Mu­nich 52 years ago, and brought to CD thanks to tire­less lob­by­ing by the Ital­ian mu­si­col­o­gist An­to­nio Latanza, this per­for­mance is a heroic at­tempt

to hon­our a work whose Ber­lin pre­miere in 1904 was greeted with howls of crit­i­cal de­ri­sion. ‘Fright­ful’ and ‘pan­de­mo­nium let loose’ were com­ments from con­tem­po­rary re­view­ers. The flam­boy­ant Bu­soni him­self de­scribed it sur­pris­ingly humbly. ‘I en­deav­oured with this work to gather to­gether the re­sults of my first pe­riod of man­hood, and it rep­re­sents the ac­tual con­clu­sion of that pe­riod,’ he wrote. ‘The pro­por­tions and con­trasts are care­fully dis­trib­uted and…there was noth­ing ac­ci­den­tal in it.’ Its five move­ments in­clude a Taran­tella and an evo­ca­tion of Ve­su­vius erupt­ing, and a male-voice choir is wo­ven into the fi­nale to coun­ter­point the pi­ano; the ef­fect of the whole is of a sym­phony with pi­ano ob­bli­gato, rather than a con­certo in the con­ven­tional sense of the word.

It opens on strings and wood­wind in a Brahm­sian vein, with the pi­ano en­try hav­ing a grave, chordal sim­plic­ity, and when it gets into gear Pi­etro Scarpini’s key­board vir­tu­os­ity is for­mi­da­ble. But de­spite the com­poser’s in­ten­tion it’s hard to dis­cern any struc­ture, ei­ther within move­ments or be­tween them: by turns som­bre, quirky and ex­u­ber­ant, the mu­sic swirls in a sub-rach­mani­nov way, and in the last anal­y­sis adds up to a lot of fire and thun­der sig­ni­fy­ing noth­ing. Bu­soni’s bril­liance shone bright­est when it was an­chored in the Bach chorales he so ma­jes­ti­cally ar­ranged, but here it’s sim­ply rud­der­less. Michael Church

PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★

RECORD­ING ★★

A serene soloist: Frank Peter Zim­mer­mann tri­umphs play­ing Lind­berg

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.