Music and Vision homepage


Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga

CD Conspectus

'Grandeur without mannerism'

on the art of



continued from last Friday, November 5th


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 5558.

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.

 Continue >> 

Copyright © Igor Kipnis, November 12th 1999



 << Pianos and Pianists homepage          Leslie Howard plays Liszt >>