off to Arte Nova, part of Sony-BMG records, for consistently
interesting releases of unusual repertoire. This release features
well known orchestral music from in the lesser known guise of
the composers’ own piano arrangements.
2005 Cliburn Competition finalist and prize-winner Davide Cabassi
made his orchestral debut at the age of thirteen with the RAI
Symphony Orchestra in Milan. He has also collaborated with the
Munich Philharmonic, the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen, and the
Russian Chamber Philharmonic, as well as with several Italian
orchestras, working with such conductors as Gustav Kuhn, James
Conlon, Asher Fisch, and Vladimir Delman, among others. In recital,
Cabassi has been engaged by most of the prominent musical associations
of his native country, including Serate Musicali and Societa
dei Concerti in Milan and Festival Pianistico in Brescia and
Bergamo. Cabassi has played concerts in Austria, China, France,
Germany, Japan, Portugal, Russia, Scandinavia and Switzerland,
highlighted by appearances in Salzburg’s Mozarteum, the Gasteig
in Munich, and Rachmaninov Hall in Moscow.
a finalist in the Twelfth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition,
Cabassi has embarked on three years of concert engagements throughout
the USA. During the 2005/2006 concert season Cabassi will perform
extensively with the American Symphony Orchestras from Big Spring
in Texas and Enid from Oklahoma.
arrangements of orchestral works were long regarded as an insignificant
genre but ambitious transcriptions can be works of art in their
own right. Proof of the high artistic standard of the transcriptions
is the fact that the composers of the original works arranged
them with their own hands.
transcribed three movements from Petrushka in 1921, from
his second ballet for the Ballets russes of Diaghilev.
In 1925 Bartók made an arrangement of his Dance Suite;
a work that is highly cosmopolitan in character. Falla’s 1916
arrangement of the three Scenes from ‘El amor brujo’
came as a direct response to the popularity of the ballet
which was written straight after his period of study in Paris.
The 1920 piano version of La Valse is not an arrangement:
it was written by Ravel at the same time as the orchestral score.
youth and enthusiasm that Davide Cabassi transmits to these
four piano transcriptions makes for a truly thrilling recital.
The structure of the recital and its effect on the spirit is
an inextricable part of the vitality of these interpretations.
Cabassi plays the Petrushka movements magnificently and
manages to transform the score into a restless mood picture.
The cosmopolitan character of Bartók’s Dance Suite allows
Cabassi to display his extensive palette of colours to great
effect. The gypsy elements so infused in Falla’s three Scenes
from the ballet ‘El amor brujo’ (Love, the Magician)
are marvellously portrayed by Cabassi who plays with a great
command of rhythm and dynamics. In the final work Ravel’s La
Valse I feel that Cabassi could have brought out more of
the Viennese waltz rhythms that are so prevalent in the score.
piano arrangements were not familiar to me before receiving
this release and a quick check revealed that there are not too
many alternative versions available in the catalogue. In the
Stravinsky arrangement of the three movements from Petrushka
the best known account is contained on Maurizio Pollini’s recital
disc of twentieth century piano music on Deutsche Grammophon
‘The Originals’ 447 431-2. Bartók specialist Zoltán Kocsis has
recorded an acclaimed account of the piano arrangement of the
Dance Suite on Volume 7 of his complete series of Bartók
piano works on Philips 464 639-2.
recorded sound is well caught by the Arte Nova engineers and
the annotation is concise and reasonably informative.
very enjoyable recital from Davide Cabassi who is certainly
a name to follow.