Berio: Complete Piano Works / Matteo Bevilacqua

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The piano was a constant throughout Luciano Berio’s life. Not only is there a considerable quantity of early chamber music which makes use of it,...

The piano was a constant throughout Luciano Berio’s life. Not only is there a considerable quantity of early chamber music which makes use of it, but it assumes a truly important role in any number of his works. The earliest work on this recording is the Petite Suite, written when Berio was 22 years of age. In spite of its very traditional name, the Piano Sonata is one of his last works, completed in 2001 to a commission from the Zurich Festival, but arising from an earlier, brief work called Interlinea, written in 2000 for Pierre Boulez’s 75th birthday.

Stellar Italian pianist Matteo Bevilacqua makes his Grand Piano debut with this album of Berio’s complete piano works. He is joined by Luca Trabucco in the works for piano four hands Canzonetta and Torch. 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Berio’s death.

REVIEW:

In 2007, Andrea Lucchesini recorded most of Berio’s piano music. He had the immediate advantage of having worked on this music with Berio. What differences are there then, in how these two fine virtuosi perform Berio?

Take Sequenza IV. Lucchesini plays in a more exciting, brilliant way, and total playing time for the piece is slightly faster in his hands than Bevilacqua's. The latter’s reading, not surprisingly, is more relaxed, less flashy and more reflective. Bevilacqua also uses the third pedal, producing a sort of random hidden melody. I also prefer the recording.

The Six Encores are stylistically quite contrasted, but meld together successfully. Again, Bevilacqua takes his time. Entirely appropriately, he brings out a feeling of dreamy impressionism in three encores, for example Erdenklavier.

The Petite suite gets its first recording here. It is not really a neo-classical work. but can be thought of as Bach re-imagined through the a Prokofiev lens. The piece is often witty, vibrant, and most enjoyable. This recording may help it find a secure way into the general repertoire.

Cinque variazioni is dedicated to another Luigi Dallapiccola. Such music seems quite out of fashion nowadays, but nonetheless, this is a captivating performance. This also applies to Rounds, perhaps the most pointillistic work of the set, a sort of half-way house between Webern and Stockhausen’s Klaverierstücke.

Andrea Lucchesini premiered the Piano Sonata in 2001. Bevilacqua gives a thrilling and sparkling interpretation, but suspect he has learned a little something from Lucchesini: he enables the more dreamy qualities to come to the fore where necessary. There is a gripping drama here which holds the attention.

Two four-hand duets, Canzonetta and Touch, cap the program. They are small in duration but large in scope. Luca Trabucco is Bevilacqua’s very able partner.

Ivan Moody’s booklet notes feature a very perceptive essay and descriptions of the music.

-- MusicWeb International (Gary Higginson)



Product Description:


  • Release Date: October 13, 2023


  • UPC: 747313990320


  • Catalog Number: GP903


  • Label: Grand Piano


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: Luciano Berio


  • Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua, Luca Trabucco



Works:


  1. Petite Suite

    Composer: Luciano Berio

    Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua (Piano)


  2. Six Encores

    Composer: Luciano Berio

    Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua (Piano)


  3. Sequenza IV

    Composer: Luciano Berio

    Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua (Piano)


  4. Canzonetta

    Composer: Luciano Berio

    Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua (Piano), Luca Trabucco (Piano)


  5. Touch

    Composer: Luciano Berio

    Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua (Piano), Luca Trabucco (Piano)


  6. Five Variations

    Composer: Luciano Berio

    Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua (Piano)


  7. Rounds

    Composer: Luciano Berio

    Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua (Piano)


  8. Piano Sonata

    Composer: Luciano Berio

    Performer: Matteo Bevilacqua (Piano)