Bomtempo, Portugal’s leading composer from the Classical
period, is now well represented on disc. This CD is part of the Portugalsom/Strauss
edition and it makes for vibrant and exciting listening. An assimilator
rather than an innovator Bomtempo lived in Paris and London, moving
in Clementi’s circle before returning to Lisbon to become that city’s
leading innovative force.
He had a distinct lyrical gift and an ability to spin
arching song-like slow movements to great effect, all the while reserving
for himself a battery of pianistic devices – scalar passages, riotous
hand crossings and virtuoso runs – which argue for his exceptional technique.
The fusion of lyricism and virtuosity is most rewarding; the op 20 Sonata
reveals, as everywhere in Bomtempo, the influence of Beethoven which
seems by this time to have begun to eclipse that of Mozart. Composed
between 1812 –1816 it is a big work of some 33 minutes and if there
is a certain diffuseness in the first movement the distinguished Turin-born
pianist Nella Maissa triumphantly brings out the spine of song that
runs throughout the work.
Both here and in the Beethovenian staccato of the rondo
of the op 15 No 1 sonata Nella Maissa displays formidable executive
powers. In 1989, when this recording was made, Maissa was 75 but she
plays with real fluency and élan even though the constricted
acoustic doesn’t flatter her, tonally. She graces everything she plays
with understanding and skill and brings distinction to this disc.
These discs are available direct from Portugalsom-STRAUSS
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