D Scarlatti, Liszt, Schubert, Chopin

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Chopin,D Scarlatti,Liszt,Schubert
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Presenting Pietro de Maria
WORKS: Works by D Scarlatti, Liszt, Schubert & Chopin
PERFORMER: Pietro de Maria (piano)
This is a live recital the 34-year-old Venetian-born pianist gave at the Miami International Piano Festival of Discovery last year. His choice of programme suggests a flamboyant bravura performer, and so he turns out to be. His piano sound is rich and brilliant. He can also be sensitive, as he shows in the first of two Scarlatti sonatas, in which his ruminative manner is compelling. But Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy calls for a deeper architectural sense and more discipline than Pietro de Maria’s sanguine temperament allows. The wrong kind of tension here destroys the grand sense of purpose, because of a wayward pulse, details not always clearly articulated, and the sort of rhythmic licence that seems applied rather than necessary. Too much flab, not enough muscle. In the other big work, Liszt’s Reminiscences de Don Juan, Maria is sonorous and strongly committed, yet neither spectacular nor stylish enough to sweep you off your feet. It’s all a bit like a boxing match. And the same unduly effortful impression spoils die second encore, Chopin’s A flat Polonaise, which should be proud but not pugilistic. Nor do the flowery passages, or ‘fioritura’, in Liszt’s Petrarch Sonnet No. 104 show much grace. The Romantic dreaminess of No. 123 suits this pianist much better. To sum up, not bad, but not special. Adrian Jack