> GIANNEO Sonatas 8225205 [HC]: Classical Reviews- May2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Luis GIANNEO (1897 – 1968)
Piano Sonata No. 2 (1943)a
Suite (1933)b
Piano Sonata No. 3 (1957)c
Sonatina (1938)b
Six Bagatelles (1957/9)c
Improvisation (1948)b

Dora De Marinis (piano)a; Alejandro Cremaschi (piano)b; Fernando Viani (piano)c
Recorded: Schloss Gottesauer, Velte Saal, Karlsruhe, August 2000
MARCO POLO 8.225205 [64:11]


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An Argentinian composer of Italian origin, Luis Gianneo is much lesser-known than his slightly younger colleague Alberto Ginastera. His music however clearly paves the way for Ginastera’s in that much of it is, in one way or another, folk-inspired. Many of these pieces actually use Argentinian folk rhythms rather than quote or rhapsodise on folk-tunes, much in the same way as in Bartók’s so-called imaginary folklore. Indeed, Gianneo’s music is never slavishly nationalistic (i.e. in the narrowest meaning of the word) or merely picturesque. It nevertheless is deeply rooted in the local tradition as well as in mid-20th Century musical language. His piano writing is clearly of its time, and often brings Prokofiev, Stravinsky or Bartók to mind.

The Suite of 1933 is the earliest work in this selection and a good example of Gianneo’s musical thinking. It successfully blends folk-like rhythms and phrases with a more cosmopolitan idiom. It is a brilliant piece, full of energy and colourful contrasts.

The Sonatina, completed in Paris in 1938, is much more Neo-classical in outlook though its main themes are again often redolent of folk music. The thematic material is moulded in more traditional forms and handled with much economy and clarity. It never outstays its welcome.

The Piano Sonata No.2 (1943) is a much more ambitious piece, though it has still much in common with the earlier works, especially in its reliance on traditional Neo-classical forms and Argentinian rhythms. In this, as in the earlier pieces, there is much contrapuntal activity which Gianneo expertly masters; but again his colourful music is never blandly academic or dryly austere.

The shorter Improvisación of 1948 is set in a clear ABA form. The gently undulating outer sections frame a more impassioned middle section. A beautiful short piece that should become a popular encore, were it heard more often.

The Piano Sonata No.3, completed in 1957, is another ambitious, substantial piece. It is a much more troubled work than any of the other ones recorded here. According to Dora De Marinis, this may reflect the composer’s sorrow at the death of his wife but also the turbulent political situation of the country at that time. In any case, the music here is rather more austere, harsher, though it still has its share of folk-inspired material. The way in which this material is handled already points towards Gianneo’s later music. This is characterised by a greater economy of resources as is evident in the masterly Seis Bagatelas, written between 1957 and 1959. This is one of his last piano pieces, and, as far as I am concerned, the finest work here. The folk material is less prominent and the counterpoint is in strict two-part writing, whereas the musical idiom now tends towards some free atonality. The music is still very colourful, inventive and superbly written for the instrument.

Gianneo’s attractive piano music is well-served by the present performers and is given a warm, natural piano sound. I for one hope that Volume 2 will soon be released, for, judging by the present recordings, Gianneo’s music greatly deserves to be re-assessed, the more so when it is played, as it is here, by dedicated performers.

Hubert CULOT


Luis GIANNEO (1897-1968)
Piano Works - volumes 1 and 2
Volume 1

Piano Sonata No. 2 (1943) [14.19]
Suite (1933) [12.33]
Piano Sonata No. 3 (1957) [14.52]
Sonatina (1938) [9.10]
Six Bagatelles (1958) [6.37]
Improvisation (1948) [6.40]
Pianists: Dora de Marinis (Sonata 2); Alejandro Cremaschi (Suite; Sonatina; Improvisation); Fernando Viani (Sonata 3; Bagatelles)
rec Schloss Gottesauer, Velte Saal. Karlsruhe, Germany, 26-31 Aug 2000. DDD
MARCO POLO 8.225205 [64.11]

Volume 2

Bailecito (1931) [2.25]
Music for Children (1946) [18.50]
Two Etudes (1933) [14.52]
Five Little Pieces (1938) [8.34]
In the Altiplano - Prelude (1932) [9.08]
Seven Little Pieces for Children (1946) [8.59]
Three Argentinian Dances (1938) [8.59]
Christmas Carol (1946) [2.02]
The Little Road to Bethlehem (1947) [2.12]
Pianists: Dora de Marinis (Etudes; Seven Pieces); Elena Dabul (Bailecito; Little Pieces; Altiplano); Fernando Viani (Dances; Carol; Little Road)
rec Schloss Gottesauer, Velte Saal. Karlsruhe, Germany, 26-31 Aug 2000. DDD
MARCO POLO 8.225206 [62.58] AmazonUK

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