Short Cuts: 50 Piano Pieces / Antonio Ballista

Release Date: 1/1/2021
Catalog Number: BRI95615
Performer: Antonio Ballista
Number of Discs: 2
Length: 107 Minutes

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This remarkable collection of music for solo piano takes one short-form piece (ranging in length from just under half a minute to just over five) by each of 50 composers, forming a cross-section of piano music spanning the centuries from Rameau, born in 1683, to Alessandro Lucchetti, born in 1958. That a listener can make this astounding journey through piano music from the Baroque to the Contemporary in the space of two compact discs is truly a “shortcut” through the ages – but it misses nothing along the way. The programme is jam-packed with detail and character in its compact space. Ballista demonstrates how each composer is able to thoroughly express his style in a handful of bars, even if it means he must be incredibly versatile as a performer, continually adapting and readapting himself to the new territory of each musical microcosm. As he rightly points out, the brevity of these pieces means they are seldom programmed in recitals, such that even well-known composers are represented here by music that is likely to be a revelation to the listener. Guiding us through the twists and turns of this miniature labyrinth, Ballista offers a nine-word epigram to introduce each piece, compact as a haiku, they are often amusing, yet invariably thought-provoking.

 

REVIEW:

 

This is one weird set. The concept at first may appear strange, but the execution is creative. Italian pianist Ballista has mostly selected from the least known of each composer’s works and includes a wide variety of contemporary avant-garde from such experimental figures as La Monte Young, Morton Feldman, Paolo Castaldi, Gyorgy Ligeti, John Cage, Luciano Berio, and George Crumb. Some take mere seconds, others a maximum of just over four minutes (Debussy’s `D’un cahier d’esquisses’). Choices for more mainstream composers are often obscure, but no less alluring for that. With such great variety Ballista proves himself a worthy interpreter, and the sound varies from decent to good. To entice us even further, Ballista includes an often humorous one-sentence descriptor for each piece. Score a smile and a thumbs up to Brilliant for daring to be different on this one.

 

– American Record Guide (Alan Becker)

Works on This Recording
1. Nouvelles suites de piéces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: IV. La poule by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1730 ;
2. Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147: Chorale: Jesus bleibet meine Freude (Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring) (arr. for piano) by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1723 ;
3. Allegretto in G Major, Hob.XVII:10 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1794 ;
4. Funeral March in C minor, K. 453a, "Marche funebre del Sig. Maestro Contrapunto" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1784 ;
5. Bagatelle in C Major, WoO 54, "Lustig-Traurig" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1802 ;
6. Waltz (Albumblatt) in G Major, D. 844 by Franz Schubert
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1825 ;
7. Valse di Bravura, Op. 35 by Carl Czerny
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
8. Péchés de vieillesse, Vol. 13: Musique anodine: Prélude by Gioachino Rossini
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1857 ;
9. Variations on an Original Theme, Anhang F39, "Geistervariationen" (Ghost Variations): Theme: Leise, innig by Robert Schumann
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1854 ;
10. Prelude No. 26 in A-Flat Major, Op. posth. by Fryderyk Chopin
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1834 ;
11. Sarabande in A Minor, WoO 5 posth. by Johannes Brahms
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1855 ;
12. Bagatelle ohne Tonart (Bagatelle sans tonalité), S216a/R60c by Franz Liszt
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1885 ;
13. Waltz in F Major by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
14. Albumblatt in C Major, "In das Album der Furstin Metternich" by Richard Wagner
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1861 ;
15. Carnival of the Animals: XIII. Le Cygne (The Swan) (arr. for piano) by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1886 ;
16. Marche funebre d'une marionnette (Funeral March of a Marionette) by Charles-François Gounod
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1872 ;
17. 10 Pièces de genre, Op. 10: No. 5. Melodie by Jules Massenet
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1866 ;
18. 5 Morceaux: No. 2. Ballabile by Emmanuel Chabrier
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1889 ;
19. 18 Morceaux, Op. 72: No. 2. Berceuse by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1893 ;
20. 8 Pièces brèves, Op. 84: No. 7. Allegresse by Gabriel Fauré
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1902 ;
21. Lyric Pieces, Book 1, Op. 12: No. 1. Arietta by Edvard Grieg
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1867 ;
22. Carmen Suite No. 2: VI. Danse Bohème (arr. for piano) by Georges Bizet
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
23. Triakontameron, 30 Moods and Scenes in Triple Measure: No. 11. Alt-Wien, 'Whose yesterdays look backwards with a smile through tears' by Leopold Godowsky
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1920 ;
24. 3 Pieces, Op. 45: No. 2. Poème Fantastique by Alexander Scriabin
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1904 ;
25. El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat): Danza del molinero (Dance of the Miller) (version for piano) by Manuel de Falla
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1917 ;
26. D'un cahier d'esquisses by Claude Debussy
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1903 ; France
27. Saudades do Brasil, Op. 67: V. Ipanema by Darius Milhaud
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1920-1921 ; France
28. Promenade, "Walking the Dog" (version for piano) by George Gershwin
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1937 ;
29. Prélude by Maurice Ravel
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1913 ;
30. Piano-Rag-Music by Igor Stravinsky
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1919 ; Switzerland
31. Foglio d'album by Giacomo Puccini
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1942 ;
32. 3 Mouvements perpétuels, FP 14: Mouvement perpetuel No. 1 in C Major by Francis Poulenc
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1918 ;
33. Suite 1922, Op. 26: V. Ragtime by Paul Hindemith
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1922 ;
34. The Love for Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33bis: III. March (version for piano) by Sergey Prokofiev
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1919 ;
35. Preludes: No. 3. Le nombre leger (The Light Number) by Olivier Messiaen
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1929 ;
36. Klavierstück III, Work No. 2 by Karlheinz Stockhausen
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1952 ;
37. Hommage a Scarlatti by Jean Françaix
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
38. Composition No. 7 by La Monte Young
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1960 ;
39. Come io passo l'estate: No. 6. La fontanella di Ganna by Niccolò Castiglioni
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1983 ; Italy
40. Intermission VI (version for solo piano) by Morton Feldman
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1953 ;
41. Prole do bebê No. 1: No. 7. O Polichinello by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1918 ;
42. Caro Babbo by Bellerofonte Castaldi
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1972 ;
43. Musica ricercata: No. 3. Allegro con spirito by György Ligeti
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
44. Totem Ancestor by John Cage
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1942 ;
45. 6 Encores: Erdenklavier by Luciano Berio
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1969 ;
46. China Gates by John Adams
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1977 ; USA
47. Un Microritratto by Bruno Canino
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
48. Anamorfosi by Salvatore Sciarrino
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1980 ; Italy
49. The Grey Veil by Alessandro Lucchetti
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
50. Makrokosmos II: Part II: No. 7. Tora! Tora! (Scorpio) by George Crumb
Performer: Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Written: 1973 ;
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