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Baldassare GALUPPI (1706-1785)
The Complete Piano Sonatas, volume 3
Sonata in F [5:31]
Sonata in A flat [6:14]
Sonata in E [4:31]
Sonata in C [9:10]
Sonata in D [9:24]
Sonata in G [8:49]
Sonata in B flat [8:10]
Sonata in E flat [7:05]
Peter Seivewright, piano
Recorded 5-6 January 2002 at the Matt Thomson Concert Hall, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow, Scotland. DDD
The Divine Art 25015 [59:05]

 

The Venetian anti-enlightenment composer Baldassare Galuppi is a cause celebre for pianist and scholar Peter Seivewright, and his extended essays in the booklets of the three available volumes of his ongoing traversal of the composer’s piano sonatas do a great deal to advance Galuppi’s standing in the musical world. Prolific and diverse, the sonatas presented in this installment are hit and miss from a musical standpoint, with some very interesting works being rudely juxtaposed with some rather pedestrian writing.

Alas, as with volume two of this series that I reviewed some months ago, the interesting historical read cannot save the day for these rather dull and technically imperfect performances. This is music that begs for an elegant touch, which Mr. Seivewright with his blurry trills and scale passages, his stodgy choices of tempo and complete lack of linear sense, woefully lacks.

Further the Steinway D, about which I complained in volume two, has not been improved. It is still the clangy, too closely recorded tin box that caused me grief in the earlier outing. This is music, with its modest sonorities and drawing room charm, begs to be played on either a harpsichord or fortepiano. The overtly hot sound of a modern concert grand overwhelms the music, distorting its parlor appeal and killing all of the finesse that a period instrument would so readily provide.

There are certainly some lovely moments here, and Galuppi is no stranger to a rollicking melody or a tender cantabile passage. However, I am not completely convinced that a complete set of his sonatas is warranted. A selection of the best of these works would quite suffice, and would serve also to enhance the composer’s reputation. The wade through the lesser lights causes his star to dim a bit.

. Perhaps Mr. Seivewright will compile a highlights disc when the project is complete. Let us hope so, as I for one have little enthusiasm for wading through volume four, whenever it should appear.

Kevin Sutton

see review Volume 1



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