Notes and Editorial Reviews
The six nocturnes that open Volume 2 of Arts Music's Sgambati piano music cycle are charming, tuneful examples of ersatz Chopin. You could imagine more flexible and romantically nuanced performances than Pietro Spada's rather austere, rhythmically strict interpretations, yet such an unsentimental approach minimizes the music's drawing room trappings, and proves convincing. The same holds true for the six Lyric pieces that follow, although here Spada reveals that he can be quite the colorist when he chooses. Examples: the murmuring chromatic accompaniment in "À la fontaine" and the Lisztian bass-register grumbles in "Vox Populi".
Spada's account of Sgambati's famous transcription of the Melodie from
Gluck's Orphee ed Euridice makes a pretty surface impression, even though it yields to the soaring elegance of Egon Petri's sublime shellac version (reissued on Pearl). However, the Beethoven transcription is clunky and heavy-handed in the manner of an expert sight-reader who grasps the notes but not the style. In any event, the Nocturnes and Lyric Pieces provide the main focus for this release, and they showcase Spada's enterprising (albeit uneven) pianism to its best advantage. As with Volume 1, Spada provides well-researched and informative booklet notes.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Fogli volanti, Op. 12 by Giovanni Sgambati
Pietro Spada (Piano)
Written: circa 1881; Italy
Be the first to review this title