Notes and Editorial Reviews
THE OPERATIC PIANIST
Andrew Wright (pn)
DIVINE ART 25113 (64: 48)
Concert Fantasy on Verdi’s
La forza del destino.
A te, o cara.
Fantasy on Bellini’s
. Concert Fantasy on Meyerbeer’s
Robert le diable.
O, du mein holder Abendstern.
Tristan und Isolde:
Concert Fantasy on Verdi’s
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
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
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
Works on This Recording
Thalbergiana, for piano by Andrew Wright
Andrew Wright (Piano)
Venue: Reid Hall, Edinburgh University, Edinbur
Length: 6 Minutes 25 Secs.
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
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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