Notes and Editorial Reviews
The 24 pieces comprising Rossini's self-deprecatingly titled "Quelques Riens" collection are anything but "little nothings". They're just as witty, original, and crackling with life as the composer's best operatic inspirations, and more harmonically and contrapuntally adventurous at that. Check out the catchy fugal writing in No. 6 that brackets a lovely aria-like sequence, or the Chopinesque No. 4 that resembles the love child of Chopin's E minor Prelude and Liszt's Vallée d'Obermann. Nor does Rossini skimp on the virtuoso fireworks, as you'll hear in No. 14's finger-twisting runs and machete-like accents, No. 18's relentless left-hand repeated chords (Prokofiev would have approved!), or the ironic salon-tinged
patterns gracing Nos. 13 and 15.
Rossini's idiom, moreover, is enhanced by the twangy immediacy of Paolo Giacometti's 1837 Erard instrument (splendidly engineered, by the way). The pianist clearly loves and has fun playing these pieces. Sometimes he milks cleverly wrought cadences, turns of phrase, or unexpected silences just a hair longer than necessary, much in the manner that comedian Jay Leno often overstresses his punchlines. But that takes nothing away from my delight in Giacometti's work, to say nothing of this scandalously undervalued repertoire. Recommended.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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