Ravel,Jan‡cek,Ives,Szymanowski,Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky & Gershwin,Berg,Berio,Ferneyhough,Bart—k, Roslavets, Kod‡ly, Prokofiev

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bartok,Berg,Berio,Ferneyhough,Ives,Janacek,Kodaly,Prokofiev,Rachmaninov,Ravel,Roslavets,Scriabin,Stravinsky & Gershwin,Szymanowski
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Piano 20th Century
WORKS: La valse; Sonata 1.x.1905; Three-Page Sonata; Métopes; Sonata, Op. 1; Sequenza IV; Lemma-Icon-Epigram
PERFORMER: Massimiliano Damerini (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 47215-2, 47216-2
This is a somewhat motley collection, with Rachmaninov and Gershwin rubbing shoulders with Janácek and Ives on the first disc, and Bartók and Berg providing even stranger bedfellows for Sylvano Bussotti and Brian Ferneyhough on the second. No doubt the common denominator was that Massimiliano Damerini happened to have all these pieces in his repertoire at the time the recording was made, but since he is such a fine pianist there are no real grounds for complaint. He is most at home, perhaps, in the world of the avant-garde: his performances of Stockhausen’s Klavierstuck VII and Berio’s Sequenza IV – two very different studies in piano resonance – are superb; and Ferneyhough’s Lemma-Icon-Epigram, dedicated to Damerini, is a dazzling display of virtuosity. There is much to admire elsewhere, too, from the keyboard pyrotechnics of Szymanowski’s Métopes and Prokofiev’s Suggestion diabolique to the touching simplicity of Stravinsky’s Les cinq doigts. Only in the rather lingering account of Berg’s single-movement Sonata does Damerini allow himself momentarily to lose his way. The poorly translated and carelessly proof-read notes manage to spell Baudelaire’s aphorism ‘Tout est hieroglyphique’, given in French in all four versions, in four different ways. (Only the German text gets it right.) Misha Donat