Pinto: Grand Sonata in E flat minor, Op. 3/1Grand Sonata in A, Op. 3/2; Grand Sonata in C minor

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COMPOSERS: Pinto
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Grand Sonata in E flat minor, Op. 3/1Grand Sonata in A, Op. 3/2; Grand Sonata in C minor
PERFORMER: Míceál O’Rourke (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9798
George Frederick Pinto is one of musical history’s intriguing might-have-beens. At the time of his death, on 23 March 1806, he was still six months short of his 21st birthday; but his output of works – virtually all of them composed in the last three years of his life – was both surprisingly large, and of a remarkable expressive maturity. As a violinist, Pinto had been a pupil and protégé of Salomon, yet it is not so much for his violin sonatas and duets that he is remembered, as for his half-dozen or so piano sonatas. Of the four recorded here, all but one are in a minor key (in one case, the seldom-used E flat minor), and their atmosphere is often dark and brooding. Perhaps most impressive is the ‘Grand Sonata’ in C minor dedicated to Pinto’s friend John Field, whose harmonic style and keyboard textures distantly anticipate Schubert’s late sonata in the same key. Míceál O’Rourke responds well to the music’s pathos, though his phrasing throughout this disc tends to be rather four-square and uningratiating. These are pieces that need a more flexible and dynamic approach in order to lift the music off the printed page. Misha Donat

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