Notes and Editorial Reviews
FABIO MARTINO PLAYS BRAHMS, KRIEGER, SCHUMANN AND HÖLLER
Fabio Martino (pn)
OEHMS 427 (58:03)
Piano Sonata No. 1 in C,
Piano Sonata No.
Brazilian pianist Fabio Martino was born in 1988 in Brazil. This disc is the direct result of his win at the 2011 competition “Ton und Erklärung—Werkvermittlung in Musik und Wort” organized by the Cultural Committee of German Business. He is brave to take on the Brahms op. 1 Sonata, given that the competition includes such luminaries as Richter (1988, RCA, raved about by Leslie Gerber in
16:2) and Zimerman (DG). In fact, it is the weakest part of the present recital. Martino blurs the edges of the music’s grandeur. At no stage is this great Brahms playing, despite being spirited and accurate. Some lines in the second movement (
) are overprojected, and intimacy is never really achieved. The autumnal Brahms is absent—this is more a reflective late Summer. If the third movement is more successful and contains some great staccato chordal playing, and the finale displays some panache, this is not really an interpretation to make one sit up and take notice.
The Brazilian composer Edino Krieger (born 1928, a Milhaud pupil) writes in very complimentary fashion about Martino’s playing of his three
. Each short study takes an interval each (seconds, thirds, fourths). There is no mistaking the Ravelian nature of the opening of the first. Subsequent gestures are delivered so crisply by Martino they seem to refer to electronic music. It is very impressive, as is Martino’s delivery of the darker elements of the central study (which again nods to Impressionism). The final movement is open-sounding and resonant and in the nature of a Bartók folkdance. Martino brings real grit to his reading.
This is the second time Schumann’s op. 111 has come my way. The recording quality on Oehms Classics is of the first-rank, and is actually the deciding factor here between Martino’s superb reading and Sung-Suk Kang’s on Meridian (
36:6). Both players seem totally immersed in Schumann’s gorgeous
in the central piece; both relish his voice-leading and both readings will bring much joy. Finally, though, this disc’s coup: York Höller’s Third Piano Sonata. This disc actually becomes the perfect complement to the superb CPO disc of Höller’s piano music played by Kristi Becker and Pi-hsien Chen (999 954). It would appear that that CPO disc is deleted, unfortunately, as it is not listed at ArkivMusic (a great shame, and if you see it anywhere, snap it up immediately). The earlier disc included the first two sonatas, of 1968 and 1986, respectively. Here is the Third, given to Martino at the time of his win, to perform and premiere some six months later. The booklet notes talk of Höller’s feelings regarding this process, and of Martino’s success. This recording certainly bears that success out. Martino seems to have grasped the score’s gestural as well as technical difficulties. There are some wonderful textural moments (the high moto perpetuo between five and six minutes in is beautifully, evenly and magically delivered). Höller’s music is quite hard-hitting, and Martino gives its granitic substance full due.
There is the feeling of a crescendo about this disc, perhaps because there is an element of miscalculation in including the Brahms, where Martino does not quite seem on the composer’s wavelength. But the remaining three items bring much to enjoy and stimulate. Worth investigating.
FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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