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Len Mullenger:

PINTO Four sonatas, two Rondos etc     Míceál O'Rourke (piano)   Chandos CHAN 9708 77'51"

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This is a collection of the most important piano compositions by an original composer who died at 20, his enormous promise unfulfilled.

My difficulty (which will be unshared by many readers) is with the choice of piano, probably a modern Steinway. I find it quite unsuitable for music by a teenage prodigy c.1800, however well recorded on 20-bit technology. It is even anachronistic with the c.1900 Tissot cover picture, which raises different expectations of what those elegant people might hear with their tea.

George Frederick Pinto (1785-1806) was an innovator, his harmonies and piano writing anticipating the later romantics. Precise dating for some of the pieces remain uncertain, but the two sonatas op 3 were published in 1801 and the Grand Sonata in C minor a year later. Op 3 no 1 in Eb minor is stormy, with a serene adagio in the middle. No 2 is predominantly relaxed & pastoral, suggesting Schubert. Amongst the 16 tracks there is also a rondo on an Irish air. It is all neatly played, but somehow uninvolving.

O'Rourke has also recorded John Field for Chandos. I would urge readers (and Mr Rourke) to listen to Joanna Leach's recording of Field's nocturnes on square pianos of the period - it might change their lives, and his! [Athene CD1].


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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