Beethoven • Scriabin • Musorgsky

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Musorgsky,Scriabin
LABELS: Champs Hill
ALBUM TITLE: Pictures at an Exhibition: Federico Colli
WORKS: Beethoven: Sonata No. 23; Scriabin: Sonata No. 10; Musorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
PERFORMER: Federico Colli (piano)


Winner of the Leeds Piano Competition in 2012, Federico Colli launches his recording career with a well-chosen programme featuring three hugely demanding works that respond equally well to his special brand of poetic intensity. Countless are the versions of the Appassionata that thrash about restlessly, articulated by sforzandos hammered home with ferocity. How refreshing to experience, therefore, a thoughtful Appassionata that conveys its profoundly revolutionary zeal through ingenious fluctuations of texture and revelatory harmonic tectonics. Colli may not offer the last word in shoulder-pumping fortissimos, yet his refusal to take the easy rhetorical way out reveals felicities and subtleties that often pass by unacknowledged.

Colli’s captivating ability to illuminate even the most densely packed musical terrain pays special dividends in Scriabin’s single-movement final Sonata, which for once emerges as a structure of supreme logic, propelled rather than merely embellished by mystical ripplings and flutterings. Turning to Musorgsky’s groundbreaking Pictures at an Exhibition, some may feel that the psychotic changeability of ‘The Gnome’’s distorted gyrations are a shade underplayed here in the interests of musical continuity, yet the haunting, pedal-pointed introspection of ‘The Old Castle’ and spectral weightlessness of ‘Con mortuis in lingua mortua’ are magically conveyed. Colli excels in conjuring up the massive, clangourous sonorities required
for ‘Bydlo’ and ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’ without any harshness of tone, yet also possesses a deft, fleet-fingered touch ideal for ‘The Tuileries’ and ‘The Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks’. A highly accomplished debut that bodes well for the future.


Julian Haylock