Author Topic: The Italian Invasion  (Read 25192 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20014
    • Brian's blog
Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #120 on: May 08, 2018, 05:35:58 AM »
I streamed Vincenzo Maltempo's brand new Brahms Concerto 2 recording yesterday. The playing is up to his usual standards, but the Mitteleuropa Orchestra (from the bit of Italy east of Venice; they also play in southern Austria sometimes) is simply depressing. I mean, they could be worse, but most American conservatory groups are better.

One case where a recording setup that heavily favors the piano is a blessing.

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15363
Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #121 on: May 13, 2018, 03:50:11 AM »



Davide Cabassi caught my eye when I discovered he is recording a complete Beethoven sonata cycle for Decca Italy.  I'm already collecting Decca Italy's competing cycle from Saleem Ashkar, so I didn't want to start buying Cabassi's cycle, at least not without hearing something else from him.  So when I was able to get this disc of Schumann's Carnaval and Piano Concerto for a few bucks, I decided to give it a try.  Forty-something Cabassi studied at the Giuseppi Verdi Conservatory and has concertized and recorded for various labels, so he's been around and knows his stuff.

The pianist's take on the solo work is of the fast and well executed variety.  Cabassi seems most comfortable with the faster, louder music, while the slower music lacks poetry and nuance when compared to better versions.  Also, while well executed, the faster music is kind of faceless a lot of the time.  A few potent sforzandi here or there and a potent Pause aside, nothing really stands out as noteworthy or likely to invite many listens.  It's not bad, it just gets lost in the crowd of many other versions.  The live recording of the Concerto fares a bit better.  Cabassi's overall style is much the same, but his playing is a bit freer, as he seems to play off the orchestra.  The lack of romantic nuance and the less than BPO quality orchestra prevents the recording from being a top twenty choice, but it's good for an occasional listen.

Sonics are OK, but sub-par for modern recordings.  This disc does not make me want to rush out and buy his Beethoven.

The Amazon image does not do full justice to the hot pink hue of the cover.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Online Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9198
Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #122 on: May 13, 2018, 11:31:19 PM »



As with some prior Cascioli recordings, this is pretty much all his show.  He's producer, co-engineer, and did some post-production work. 

I once was part of a conversation when someone who seemed to know what they were talking about suggested that this was part of his deal with DG -- it saves DG some money and it gets the recordings out. I believe that his first recordings at least -- Chopin Waltzes amongst other things -- were self financed.

I enjoyed this Beethoven more than the Mozart sonatas, but that just shows I'm more open minded about how to play Beethoven than about how to play Mozart.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 11:33:57 PM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darĂ¼ber muss man schweigen

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15363
Re: The Italian Invasion
« Reply #123 on: May 20, 2018, 04:03:29 AM »



It sounds too easy.  Alessandro Deljavan has such highly developed technique that Chopin's Etudes sound so easy that the pianist must embellish them to make them interesting for him.  Whether his embellishments make the playing interesting to listeners will depend to a large extent on how much said listeners like a pianist inserting copious amounts of personality.  I'm rather fond of such an approach, especially when backed by playing displaying awesome control and precision.  Tzimon Barto, himself an uber-interventionist, boasted in the liner notes of one of his discs about having three dozen dynamic levels between ppp and fff.  That seems coarse compared to Deljavan.  The best analogy seems to be that Barto's finely tuned playing is the pianistic equivalent of a precise, stepped pre-amp attenuator while Deljavan's is a high-grade, infinitely adjustable potentiometer.  The Italian seems to extract more than three dozen levels between pp and mf alone, and on this disc he rarely ventures into thundering playing, though clearly he can do whatever the hell he wants to do.  Every piece on the disc finds Deljavan doing something of note.  His legato can be a smooth as smooth can be.  His dynamic levels may vary a little or a lot between voices, and alternate throughout a piece.  Accenting and rubato are personal and deployed frequently.  Some passages almost seem as though Deljavan wants you to admire just how beautiful he can play just because he can.  In that way he comes off as a gentler Ivo Pogorelich at times.  I've listened to the disc multiple times, through speakers and headphones, and each time I've heard something new.  As a display of pianistic ability, this disc is most impressive.  I can't say that Deljavan matches the likes of pianists as different as Pollini, or Francois, or even Lisiecki, whose recording has just gotten better with each listen, but there is some compelling playing here - enough to make me think that his recent release of Chopin's Mazurkas and Grieg's Lyric Pieces are worth hearing. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations