Monday, August 18, 2014

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1942-1943)

The war, wich prevented Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli from carrying out the summer tours which had been offered him after the Geneva victory (1939), did not hinder him giving concerts in Italy and recording his first discs. Among these figure the concertos by Robert Schumann and Edvard Grieg (Teldec 9031-76439-2), which the young pianist performed with the orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala of Milan, a body in whose symphonic seasons he had begun taking part from October 1940 (Beethoven's "Emperor" and Liszt's "Totentanz"). In that same period Michelangeli recorded the pages for piano solo which appear on this disc. As already mentioned, what strikes one today is the difference of this repertoire from the artit's later one, in which composers like J.-S. Bach and Edvard Grieg have no longer found a place.
Unusual is the presence of 18th-century composers by the harpsichord, like the younger Scarlatti and the forgotten Pellegrino Tomeoni, whom almsot no Italian pianist had in the repertore in those years. Probably under Anfossi's influence, Michelangeli applies himself in thse Baroque pages to seeking out a timbre suitable to reflect the colours of the original (it is a corner of the history of Italian usic which would see Michelangeli later concentrating on the sonatas of Baldassare Galuppi). The only compositions consistent with the repertoire of a young, recent winner of an international competition are the Berceuse and the Mazurka in B minor of Chopin. Even thses two jewels, however, appear permeated with an interpretative fever which, in the preciosity of sound, reveals something of decadence. It is this "liberty style" of the young Michelangeli which, combined with his personal fascination, in those years so intrigued his female audience. "Erotik", a little page from the third book of Lyriske smaastykker by the Norwegian, Edvard Grieg, reinforces this feeling. In Michelangeli's insinuating interpretation, "Erotik", a declaration of love that Grieg addressed to his wife Nina, recalls the ambiguity which the slightly "osé" title at first suggests.
Michel Selvini, translation Lionel Salter, from the booklet

Arturo Benedetti


Edvard Grieg

1 Erotik  3:18
(from "Lyriske Smaastykker", Op. 43 n° 5)

Johann Sebastian Bach

Italienisches Konzert in F major, BWV 971
2 [untitled]  3:45
3 Andante  4:40
4 Presto  3:29

Pellegrino Tomeoni

5 Allegro  2:41

Domenico Scarlatti

6 Sonata in D major, K.96, Allegro  5:07
7 Sonata in B minor, K.27, allegro  2:44

Frédéric Chopin

8 Berceuse in D-flat major, Op. 57  4:53
9 Mazurka in B minor, Op. 33 n° 4  5:07


Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli - p

Recorded September 6 [# 1] & 9 [# 8 & 9], 1942 ; & January 20 [# 6 & 7] & 22 [# 2-5], 1943


Melanchthon said...

fcapeau said...

He is a legend ! I think i payed for five season tickets at the time, in order to have the privilege to listen to him on stage ........ But he never came, and I never bought a record !!!!
So, forty five years later ........ May be a good opportunity to listen to him ?!

rubberduck said...

Many thanks MAel, : this is an invaluable musical document