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Sgambati: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 2 Gaia Federica Caporiccio

Sgambati: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 2 Gaia Federica Caporiccio

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An Italian disciple of Liszt, Giovanni Sgambati (1841-1914) was once chiefly for his once-popular transcription of the Melodie from Gluck’s Orphée ed Euridice. His own music has only begun receiving sustained attention in the last couple of decades, and Gaia Federica Caporiccio’s projected complete survey is only the second such project to reach completion. The first volume of the survey (PCL10216) met with a warm critical welcome. According to Fanfare magazine, ‘Gaia Federica Caporiccio plays with a winsome freshness, offering some finely shaped melodies and some insightful rubato.’ Caporiccio now turns to some of the collections which most betray the influence of Schumann on Sgambati’s style, or at least they share the German composer’s capriciously divided personality. The eight pieces of Fogli Volanti (Flying Pages) Op.12 begin with a Romanza which could almost have strayed from the pages of Kinderszenen, but then Sgambati reveals his hand, and his Italian origins, in a gently swaying Canzonetta. The simplicity of the following Idyll is likewise Sgambati’s own, and a fine balance between German and Italian influences continues to mark the suite until the concluding festivities of its ‘Campane a festa’. On a miniature scale – the six movements lasting hardly more than a miniature each – the Fantasie Alpestri return to Sgambati’s origins, or at least an idealised, rural version of them. The ghostly presence of Schumann once more surges up between the semiquavers in the opening Prelude of the Quattro pezzi di seguito before a kind of commedia dell’arte spirit takes over in the ‘Vecchio menuetto’. The slow movement of the suite is supplied by ‘Nenia’, taking its name from an old Roman funeral song. The Mélodies poetiques are cast in a lighter vein, whereas the five-movement Suite Op.21 finds Sgambati at his most Lisztian, with rippling figuration to test out any virtuoso pianist. Gaia Federica Caporiccio’s pianism and dedication is restoring the name of Sgambati to a measure of wider renown; her own booklet essay completes a labour of love which will make essential listening for any piano collector.

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    • Number of Discs: 2
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    • Label: Piano Classics
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