Short Cuts: 50 Piano Pieces

Short Cuts: 50 Piano Pieces
Artist Antonio Ballista piano
Format 2 CD
Cat. number 95615
EAN code 5028421956152
Release December 2020

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About this release

This remarkable collection of music for solo piano takes one short-form piece (ranging in length from just under half a minute to just over five) by each of 50 composers, forming a cross-section of piano music spanning the centuries from Rameau, born in 1683, to Alessandro Lucchetti, born in 1958.

That a listener can make this astounding journey through piano music from the Baroque to the Contemporary in the space of two compact discs is truly a “shortcut” through the ages – but it misses nothing along the way. The programme is jam-packed with detail and character in its compact space.

Ballista demonstrates how each composer is able to thoroughly express his style in a handful of bars, even if it means he must be incredibly versatile as a performer, continually adapting and readapting himself to the new territory of each musical microcosm.

As he rightly points out, the brevity of these pieces means they are seldom programmed in recitals, such that even well-known composers are represented here by music that is likely to be a revelation to the listener.

Guiding us through the twists and turns of this miniature labyrinth, Ballista offers a nine-word epigram to introduce each piece, compact as a haiku, they are often amusing, yet invariably thought-provoking.

A special and intriguing concept: ultra-short (one minute plus) piano pieces by 50 composers, encompassing 3 centuries, starting with Rameau and ending with Sciarrino, Crumb, Ligeti and Berio.
Much can be said with few words, and so much can be expressed in a few notes; some composers struggled with large forms but could say a deep truth in one page.
Italian pianist Antonio Ballista colourful career includes the great classical repertoire, but he has also explored worlds such as those of ragtime, Italian and American popular songs, rock, and soundtrack music for the cinema. He has worked with Abbado, Bertini, Boulez, Brüggen, Chailly, Maderna and Muti, and played with orchestras such as BBC Symphony, the Concertgebouw, Israel Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Wiener Philharmoniker, l’Orchestre de Paris, Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony, and New York Philharmonic. Composers who wrote for him include Berio, Bussotti, Donatoni, Sciarrino and others.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Jean-Philippe Rameau: Suite in G Major: IV. La poule
  2. Johann Sebastian Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, BWV 147
  3. Joseph Haydn: Allegretto in G Major, Hob:XVII:10
  4. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Marche funèbre del Sig.r Maestro Contrapunto in C Minor, K. 453a
  5. Ludwig van Beethoven: Bagatelle in C Major, WoO 54 “Lustig–Traurig”
  6. Franz Schubert: Waltz in G Major, D.844
  7. Carl Czerny: Bear Dance, Op. 35
  8. Gioacchino Rossini: Prélude from péchés de vieillesse, Vol. XIII Musique anodine
  9. Robert Schumann: Theme in E-Flat Major, RSW:Anh:F39
  10. Frédéric Chopin: Prélude in A-Flat Major, B.86
  11. Johannes Brahms: Sarabande in A Minor WoO 5/1
  12. Franz Liszt: Bagatelle sans tonalite, S.216a
  13. Giuseppe Verdi: Waltz in F Major
  14. Richard Wagner: Albumblatt
  15. Camille Saint-Saëns: Le Carnaval des animaux: XIII. Le cygnet
  16. Charles Gounod: Marche funèbre d’une marionette, CG 583
  17. Jules Massenet: 10 Pièces de genre Op.10: V. Mélodie
  18. Emmanuel Chabrier: Ballabile
  19. Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Berceuse: Andante mosso from 18 morceaux, Op. 87
  20. Gabriel Fauré: 8 Pièces brèves Op. 84: VII. Allégresse
  21. Edvard Hagerup Grieg: Lyric Pieces, Op. 12: I. Arietta
  22. Georges Bizet: Scènes bohémiennes: IV. Danse bohémienne
  23. Leopold Godowsky: Triakontameron: XI. Alt Wien
  24. Alexander Scriabin: 3 Pieces, Op. 45: III. Poème fantasque
  25. Manuel de Falla: El sombrero de tres picos: V. Danza del molinero

Disk 2

  1. Claude Debussy: D’un cahier d’esquisses. Très lent
  2. Darius Milhaud: Saudades do Brasil, Op. 67: V. Ipanema
  3. George Jacob Gershovitz Gershwin: Promenade in C Major
  4. Maurice Ravel: Prélude, M.65
  5. Igor Stravinsky: Piano-Rag-Music
  6. Giacomo Puccini: Foglio d’album in B-Flat Major, SC 81
  7. Francis Poulenc: Mouvement perpétuel No. 1, FP 14
  8. Paul Hindemith: Suite für Klavier Op. 26: V. Ragtime
  9. Sergei Prokofiev: The Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33b: III. March
  10. Olivier Messiaen: Préludes: III. Le nombre léger
  11. Karl Heinz Stockhausen: Klavierstück III
  12. Jean Françaix: III. Hommage à Domenico Scarlatti
  13. La Monte Young: Composition 1960 #7
  14. Niccolò Castiglioni: Come io passo l’estate: VI. La fontanella di Ganna
  15. Morton Feldman: Intermission 6
  16. Heitor Villa-Lobos: A prole do bebê, Book I: VII. O polichinelo
  17. Paolo Castaldi: Caro babbo
  18. György Ligeti: Allegro con spirito
  19. John Cage: Totem Ancestor for prepared piano
  20. Luciano Berio: Erdenklavier
  21. John Adams: China Gates
  22. Bruno Canino: Un microritratto
  23. Salvatore Sciarrino: Anamorfosi
  24. Alessandro Lucchetti: The Grey Veil
  25. George Crumb: Makrokosmos, Vol. II: VII. Tora! Tora! Tora!