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The Operatic Pianist

Martucci / Bellini / Verdi / Wright,Andrew
Release Date: 03/25/2014 
Label:  Divine Art   Catalog #: 25113   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz LisztAndrew WrightSigismund ThalbergGiuseppe Martucci
Performer:  Andrew Wright
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE OPERATIC PIANIST Andrew Wright (pn) DIVINE ART 25113 (64: 48)


MARTUCCI Concert Fantasy on Verdi’s La forza del destino. BELLINI (trans. Thalberg) I puritani: A te, o cara. WRIGHT Fantasy on Bellini’s La Read more sonnambula. Thalbergiana . Concert Fantasy on Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable. WAGNER (trans. Liszt) Tannhäuser: O, du mein holder Abendstern. Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod. THALBERG Concert Fantasy on Verdi’s La traviata. BELLINI (trans. Thalberg) Norma: Casta diva


It is claimed that the Martucci is receiving its first commercial recording here, and I assume that the three contributions—very much in a Lisztian/Thalbergian style, by the way—by Wright himself also are new to CD. Even so, this is a disc that seems warmly familiar the first time one hears it: The operatic melodies are part of the cultural vocabulary, as is the ornate, virtuosic garb in which they are presented. There’s no point in recording a program like this one without panache, and this Scottish pianist sells the repertory in question to listeners without cheapening it. He’s a very capable pianist too, although some of the playing on this disc hardly can be called effortless. The peroration of his La sonnambula fantasy, for example, suggests a heroine not in slippers but in sensible shoes as she gingerly picks her way down the staircase leading from the old village mill. On the other hand, the transcription of the “Evening Star” aria from Tannhäuser really sings, and this is doubly difficult because Wright does not seem particularly enamored of the sustaining pedal. In other words, throughout this recital he doesn’t cheat nearly as much as he might!


Wright is a pianist-scholar, and he penned the booklet notes that accompany this release. He writes that his “introduction to this corner of the repertory came through Earl Wild’s 1964 recording of Thalberg’s Don Pasquale Fantasy —a delightful performance which elevated lightweight music through charm and panache.” Wright doesn’t have Wild’s agility, nor his wit, but these sincere, well-prepared performances have much in their favor, and collectors who enjoy this sort of thing should find Wright’s contributions to this genre, both as a pianist and as a performer, enjoyable, as long as their expectations are not unreasonably high.


FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

1.
O du mein holder Abendstern, transcription for piano (after Wagner: Tannhäuser), S. 444 (LW A163) by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 7 Minutes 42 Secs. 
2.
Isolde's "Liebestod" from Wagner's "Tristan", S 447 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Weimar, Germany 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 7 Minutes 48 Secs. 
3.
Thalbergiana, for piano by Andrew Wright
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 6 Minutes 25 Secs. 
4.
Fantasia on Verdi's "La Traviata", Op. 78 by Sigismund Thalberg
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 8 Minutes 26 Secs. 
5.
Fantasia on "Casta diva" from Bellini's "Norma", Op. 70 by Sigismund Thalberg
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 6 Minutes 26 Secs. 
6.
Concert fantasy on Verdi's La forza del destino, for piano by Giuseppe Martucci
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 8 Minutes 53 Secs. 
7.
A te, o cara, transcription for piano (from Bellini's opera "I puritani") by Sigismund Thalberg
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 5 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8.
Fantasy on Bellini's La sonnambula, for piano by Andrew Wright
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 8 Minutes 0 Secs. 
9.
Concert fantasy on Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, for piano by Andrew Wright
Performer:  Andrew Wright (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Venue:  Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur 
Length: 5 Minutes 20 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Fantasia sull'opera La forza del destino, Op. 1
L'art du chant applique au piano, Op. 70: A te o Cara (from Bellini's "I Puritani")
Fantasy on La Sonnambula (after V. Bellini)
Wagner - O du mein holder Abendstern, Rezitativ und Romanze aus der Oper Tannhauser, S444/R277
Wagner - Isoldes Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, S447/R280
Thalbergiana
Grande fantasie de Concert sur l'opera La Traviata de Verdi, Op. 78
Casta Diva from Bellini's Opera Norma, Op. 70: Casta Diva, Op. 70 (from Bellini's Opera, Norma)
Concert Fantasy on Robert le Diable (after G. Meyerbeer)

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