Review by: Jed Distler
Artistic Quality: 8
Sound Quality: 9
In contrast to many self-released CDs, this recital by fortepianist Andrea Botticelli boasts excellent production values. The full-bodied sonics do justice to Botticelli’s well-regulated and timbrally diverse instrument, modeled after a Conrad Graf model from the 1830s. The booklet contains informative notes by the artist, along with lovely photos. There’s much fine music making too.
Botticelli shapes the Schubert “little” A major Sonata’s opening Allegro with ample rubato and point making, yet the music flows easily and naturally. She imparts a graceful lilt to the finale, if not quite matching the delicacy of Paul Badura-Skoda’s fortepiano recording.
Probably because the unmatched bravura of Horowitz’s pioneering 1940s recording of Czerny’s “La Ricordanza” variations refuses to dislodge from my memory, Botticelli’s smaller scaled, lower voltage reading leaves nothing more than a pleasant, uneventful impression. Botticelli throws herself into the Robert Schumann F-sharp minor Novelette’s swirling headlong passages, although she underplays the drive of the obsessive dotted-rhythm sequences, while the coda simply drags and dies on the vine.
The pianist’s poetically characterized and cameo-like Papillons evokes Wilhelm Kempff’s similar interpretation, notably in her subtle shifts of voicing and emphasis when phrases repeat. Perhaps Botticelli’s firmly etched and dynamic reading of Clara Schumann’s Notturno takes top honors. For the most part, an appealing and recommendable release.
Album Title: Stimme aus der Ferne: A Voice from the Distance
Reference Recording: None for this collection
FRANZ SCHUBERT: Piano Sonata in A major D. 664
CARL CZERNY: Variations on a Theme by Rode Op. 33 “La Ricordanza”
ROBERT SCHUMANN: Papillons Op. 2; Novelette in F-sharp minor Op. 21 No. 8
CLARA SCHUMANN: Soirées musicales Op. 6 No. 2: Notturno
- Andrea Botticelli (fortepiano)