WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F; Piano Concerto No. 3 in A; Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor; Piano Concerto No. 6 in B flat
PERFORMER: Mariaclara Monetti (piano); ECO/Stephanie Gonley
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 872 DDD
Giovanni Paisiello’s fame as one of the most prolific opera composers of the late 18th century has meant that much of his instrumental music, which includes eight piano concertos, has remained virtually unknown.
Between 1776 to 1784 Paisiello was active in St Petersburg where, among other things, he taught piano to members of the Russian court. His Second Concerto was written for the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna during this time. It is a light, dilettante work whose spirit is engagingly captured by Mariaclara Monetti, suitably balanced by the ECO under Gonley’s direction.
The other three concertos here demonstrate a wide emotional range, imaginative melodic invention and a remarkable diversity of form. Here, too, Monetti and the ECO sound stylistically appropriate: the darker- toned G minor concerto is bold and dramatic; Paisiello’s fluid, cantabile style is eloquently expressed in the slow movement of the B flat major concerto, and the overlapping of the first two movements of the A major concerto is judged with subtlety. Consequently, these bright, well-recorded performances of Paisiello rarities should attract a wide audience. Nicholas Rast