New recordings of rare keyboard concertos from the 18th century and beyond: an essential acquisition for concerto collectors.
One of Brilliant Classics’s best-selling boxes has been a 25CD compilation of rarely heard piano concertos from the Romantic era in much-prized recordings from the 60s and 70s. Here is an imaginatively designed prequel: concertos written at a time of rapid evolution in the technology of keyboard instruments, by Italian, German and Czech composers who were responding to a rapidly increasing demand for soloistic repertoire which would show the harpsichord or fortepiano to best advantage as capable of both poetic reflection and virtuoso showmanship. Often these composers are better known for their vocal music, such as Jommelli and Pergolesi, or their works for strings and winds such as Stamitz and Koželuch: this release expands our understanding of their talent in a genre defined and immortalised by Mozart and Beethoven.
‘Being galant, in general’, wrote Voltaire, ‘means seeking to please’. All the composers gathered here sought to fulfil Voltaire’s dictum in their own ways. The concertos abound in grand opening tuttis which draw back the curtain for the solo instrument to sing as if on the operatic stage – an important origin for the ‘galant’ style as these composers understood it – and to engage the ensemble in lively and brilliant discourse. Second movements are often gentle Romances, never less than charming and, in the case of Clementi and Stamitz, for example, more profound than that. The finales are cast as Rondos, finishing off with a flourish and handfuls of brilliant figuration for the hard-working soloist.
On this occasion that role is taken by the Italian pianist David Boldrini, who also contributes valuable booklet notes to the album. As a student of Bruno Canino and Paul Badura Skoda he acquired a thorough understanding of early-Classical keyboard style which he has demonstrated in competitions, festivals and concerts across the world. In his native Florence he also works as an opera director and conductor, and brings a special flair to these rarely encountered concertos which is informed by his experience of working on the lyric stage.
This highly original and attractive 3CD set brings together a fine selection of piano concertos written in the period around 1800, in the Galante Style, by composers Paisiello, Clementi, Stamitz, Pergolesi, Kozeluch, Boccherini, Cambini, Jommelli, and Johann Christian Bach.
The concertos are characterized by an abundance of charm, clarity, wit and brilliance, entertainment on a high level!
Played by pianists David Boldrini and Elena Pinciaroli, backed up by the enthusiastic support of the Orchestra Rami Musicali conducted by Filippo Conti.
The extensive liner notes in the booklet are written by the pianist David Boldrini, who already successfully recorded the complete Piano Sonatas by Cimarosa and Piano Concertos by Viotti and Czerny.