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Solo Piano - Released July 27, 2018 | Brilliant Classics

Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
The complete sets issued by the budget Dutch label Brilliant often don't satisfy, delivering mere bulk in place of intelligent, illuminating programming. An exception is this set of Hummel piano sonatas by Italian fortepianist Costantino Mastroprimiano, even if it's not the complete set that's promised (there are at least three more works that were unpublished during the composer's lifetime but generally accepted as genuine). One might also complain that there was room on the CDs to do the sonatas in order, and that sequencing might have fit better with Mastroprimiano's aims. All this said, hearing a lot of Hummel at once illuminates why he was well-regarded as a composer in his time, even by the notoriously praise-stingy Beethoven. Better still, other major Hummel releases have been mostly on a modern grand, but Mastroprimiano uses a pair of fortepianos, a 1790s Walter instrument, and an 1830s Erard. The cumulative effect is to give the listener an idea of the range of ways in which Hummel influenced the incipient Romantic movement. He influenced Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Schubert in various ways, and here you get the serious slow movements, the expanded sparkling Mozartianism, the exploration of figuration, and the vastness of musical space, respectively. The strongest work is the truly proto-Romantic Piano Sonata No. 5 in D major, Op. 106, and you can sample that on the third CD. But each of the sonatas has something to contribute to the overall picture. Mastroprimiano is a talented pianist in this repertory, giving each sonata its particular sound and shade, and the set is heartily recommended to lovers of the pre-Romantic period.
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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Brilliant Classics

Distinctions 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique
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Classical - Released January 7, 2014 | Brilliant Classics

Distinctions 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique
£30.19

Classical - Released October 9, 2012 | Brilliant Classics

Booklet
£6.47

Classical - Released December 11, 2013 | Brilliant Classics

Booklet
£10.79

Classical - Released October 1, 2014 | Brilliant Classics

£10.79

Classical - Released October 1, 2012 | Brilliant Classics

£7.99

Classical - Released October 1, 2012 | Tactus

Francesco Pollini, born in Ljubljana, was a student of Mozart and the dedicatee of La sonnambula; the slow movements in the pieces on this disc are interesting as examples of the ways vocal melodism could be transferred to the keyboard in the generation before Chopin (who greatly admired Bellini). Pollini was best known in his own time for a strong-selling piano method used by both professionals and amateurs, and the music here is not of an especially virtuosic cast. The two sonatas in the middle of the program were part of a set intended to capitalize on Pollini's Metodo, published in 1811, and even the variation sets on the outside don't contain anything the average amateur, then as now, couldn't handle. Instead the music illustrates Pollini's emphasis on cantabile playing -- he even proposed that music should be notated on three staves so as to have the melody appear separately -- and other forms of articulation. There's nothing terribly compelling about any of it, but this recording, like others released by the Tactus label, fills a gap in the discography of Italian music. The period fortepiano employed is the most distinctive thing on the album. A Triestine instrument, it's noisy and clunky, with an odd buzz effect in the lower register in one of the variations of the Variazioni e Toccata, Op. 53 -- perhaps it's produced by a keyboard shift, but the notes pertaining to the instrument are only in Italian, and even those who read that language will find the text squeezed almost beyond recognition. (Note to Tactus management: the average teenager tends to have decent design skills these days, at least better than those of the designers you have been using.) The final toccata in that work is colorful, and it's something of a compendium of piano techniques of the day -- something certainly of interest to those fascinated by the history of keyboard instruments. Sound is boxy to the point where it interferes with the listener's ability to divine the timbres of the old instrument involved.
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Classical - Released May 1, 2010 | Brilliant Classics

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Classical - Released October 1, 2012 | Brilliant Classics

£10.79

Classical - Released October 1, 2012 | Brilliant Classics

£9.99

Classical - Released December 11, 2012 | Brilliant Classics

Booklet
£8.63

Classical - Released March 1, 2011 | Brilliant Classics

Booklet
£10.79

Classical - Released October 1, 2009 | Brilliant Classics