bacchetti concert monarda

Andrea Bacchetti (piano)
In Concert
rec. live, 13 April 2015, Carlo Felice Theatre, Genoa, Italy
Monarda Music 109461 DVD [106]

Performed as part of 2014-2015 Giovine Orchestra Genovese Concert Season, this substantial recital shows Andrea Bacchetti holding his audience spellbound, appearing small-scale on the untreated wooden stage floor of the Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa. This is quite a huge venue, but even with close microphones and camerawork there is a nice impression of the sense of occasion and of the environment. The DVD has been recorded with a couple of stage views, from behind the piano looking towards an audience in darkness, and another from the front looking at the artist’s face. There are also some edited in moments with a roving camera that wobbles around Bacchetti and gives is some alternatives of his hands at work. There is otherwise is no evidence of this cameraman on the stage, so these moments have clearly been dropped in from a rehearsal or post-recording session and they are a bit unnecessary and disorientating when the fingers don’t quite synchronise with the sound, though I’m sure the producers felt a little more dynamism was needed to beef up the static views. Sound quality is good and the piano is also fine, and while there is applause and a few distant coughs here and there this just adds to the live feel of the whole thing.

At over 100 minutes this is indeed a substantial programme, but you can have your interval whenever you like and there is a grouping to the pieces that becomes apparent as the recital proceeds. Andrea Bacchetti has written informative booklet notes on all of the pieces here, and this is actually quite a serious prospect for fans of this artist and of live piano music in general. There is no theme or ‘through line’ with regard to the programme, and for once it is quiet refreshing not to be taken on a journey of one kind or another. The Bach selection is superbly played though is a bit of a grab-bag, and Bacchetti’s Mozart is always sensitive and dynamic. Beethoven’s Sonata in G major op. 49 n. 2 is one of his ‘easy sonatas’, and its light and fairly character wraps up an opening sequence in which the family resemblances and character differences between Baroque and Classical are nicely balanced.

Bacchetti tends not to go in for blockbuster virtuoso repertoire, and the Liszt selection is tuneful and played with restrained expression, leading up Louis Diémer’s lovely Nocturne Op.15. Diémer is a less familiar name but fits in nicely here, going straight into the quiet atmosphere of Schumann’s Mignon, which is given a stillness and sustained intensity by Bacchetti.

Impressionist colour takes over with some elegantly poised Debussy, but Malipiero’s La Siesta is the opposite of taking a nap, its ‘piano concerto’ four movements full of contrasts. Chopin’s familiarity brings us back to earth, and I appreciate Bacchetti’s expressive but unpretentious approach to these pieces. Rossini’s Tarantelle pur Sang (avec traversée de la procession) is one of his ‘Péchés de Vieillesse’ (Sins of Old Age), played here with suitable wit, high spirits and processional gravity. Bacchetti leaves the stage at this point but the audience insists on more, so everything beyond here is encore material. Hasse’s Sonata in G major is a sprightly miniature with a hint of Scarlatti in its character, while Villa Lobos’ O Policinelo might be familiar to fans of Arthur Rubinstein who also employed its wild character as an encore piece. The finale is given to Chopin, with a refined performance of Étude in G flat major op.10 nr.5 sending us home with some ‘proper music’ in our ears.

There are no frills or extra tracks here, but no-one should feel the need to complain about lack of content or quality. This DVD is more than just a souvenir of a fine concert, and if the repertoire attracts then it can be wholeheartedly recommended. (Editor’s note – Monarda Music is the new name for the Arthaus Musik label).

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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Toccata in E Minor BWV 914 (c.1708)
Corale BWV 691         
Prelude in C major BWV 846a  
Menuet in G major BWV Anh 114
Aria in G major BWV 988        
French Suite in G major BWV 816 (1723)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Fantasia in D minor K 397 (1782)
Rondo in D major K 485 (1786)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Sonata in G major op. 49 nr. 2 (1795-96)
Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
An den Sonnenschein, Rotes Röslein     
Consolation in D flat major S 172 n. 4   
Louis Joseph Diémer (1843-1919)
Nocturne in D flat major op. 15 (1870)  
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Mignon op. 68 nr. 35 (1849)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir           
Gian Francesco Malipiero (1882-1973)
La Siesta (1920)
Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849)
Nocturne in B flat minor op.9 nr.1
Étude in F minor op.25 n.2
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Tarantelle pur Sang (avec traversée de la procession)
Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783)
Sonata in G major        
Heitor Villa Lobos (1887-1959)
O Polichinelo   
Fryderyk Chopin
Étude in G flat major op.10 nr.5 (1830)

Video details
Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM stereo and DTS 5.1
Region code: 0