on the art of
continued from last Friday, November
Fortunately, through the ministrations of three Fiorentino
enthusiasts, there are now a number of valuable reminders of the great pianist.
In Germany, Ernst Lumpe, connoisseur of piano playing and informed admirer
of Fiorentino [instrumental in persuading him to appear in Germany in 1992],
has brought his name to the wider notice of others. In Britain, Bryan Crimp,
whose label Appian Publications & Recordings features so much valuable
[and responsibly documented] pianistic material from the past, has released
no less than seven CDs, providing an admirable cross-section of Fiorentino's
major repertory. Notably the 1993 German recordings on APR
7036 (2 CDs, including Chopin's Funeral March Sonata,
Scriabin's Fourth, Beethoven's Op 110, and the C major Fantasy of Schumann).
Russian Sonatas by Scriabin [Nos 1, 2, 4], Rachmaninov [Nos 1, 2, the latter
in the 1931 revision], and Prokofiev [No 8]) on APR
5552 & 5556. The late
Schubert B flat and Chopin Third on APR 5553.
Wonderfully evocative early recordings from the 1960s, entitled, Vol. I,
'The Contemplative Liszt') on APR 5581.
And Bach's Partitas Nos. 1 and 4 plus the pianist's own transcription of
the unaccompanied G minor Violin Sonata on APR
On the latter, Fiorentino displays his characteristically gorgeous tonal
palette, plus a certain deliberateness familiar at times from other of his
recorded performances - for example, the Schubert B flat Sonata [a measured
reading]. But he is never staid, lethargic, or lacking in esprit. The lively
movements bounce along merrily (the Courante of the First Partita), in spite
of a post-romantic yet never merely objective outlook the playing exceptionally
clean, well articulated ... and, oh, so musical and warm. Fiorentino's own
transcription of the G minor Sonata is effectively filled in harmonically,
without ever approaching a Godowsky-like extravagance, while his Fourth
Partita is extraordinarily eloquent: suprisingly, he even adds a few discreet
embellishments to the repeats of the Allemande and Sarabande. This, like
the Liszt anthology, is listed as a Vol I.
Copyright © Igor
Kipnis, November 12th 1999
<< Pianos and Pianists
homepage Leslie Howard plays Liszt >>