Piano Concerto #2 in E-flat Minor by Alfredo Napoleão

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Piano Concerto #2 in E-flat Minor by Alfredo Napoleão

Post by Lance » Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:08 am

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Tonight, I heard one of the most delightful piano concertos I have heard in a long time, the Piano Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Minor by the Portuguese composer, Alfredo Napoleão (1852-1917), whose music I know nothing. Even Wikipedia doesn't provide much. Only the notes to this most exciting Hyperion CD [67984, Volume 64 in the Romantic Piano Concerto series]. The three-movement work is performed by Artur Pizarro[/i] with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Martyn Brabbins direction. Truly, it is rare for yours truly to play a piece of music twice in succession!

The composer's mother died when he was a mere one year old, according to Nancy Lee Harper's excellent notes. His whole family was involved in music, but Napoleão was noted for noted for being a highly successful music publisher in Brazil. There, Alfredo worked in a piano store,and having studied and lived in London where his father worked. In 1869 he gave his piano recital debut at the Teatro Lírico, considered highly successful. He was adept at playing the music of Bach, Beethoven and Schumann.. He was also a composer, having ritten four piano concertos, symphonic music, chamber music, and solo pieces (sonatas and brief works) for solo piano. .The date of the concerto is not verified, but it was premiered by Evaristo de Campos Coelho (1893-1988) with whom Artur Pizzaro studied with as a child (there is a lovely photo of the child with de Campos Coelho, from 1972) in the booklet). Interestingly, Artur Pizarro is only the third pianist to perform the work.

The recording quality is first class in every respect, and Pizarro is in absolute top form, offering variegated colours from a superb piano, beautifully tuned and voiced, one that sings ... the treble is reminiscent of little clear bells. Believe me, as a concert piano technician myself, having such an instrument under one's hands can make a great difference in what the listeners hear. Pizarro is a Yamaha artist, but on this recording, a Steinway is listed as the piano.

The other concerto is Henrique Oswald's [1852-1931] Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 10, which didn't have the same affect on yours truly, but at 30 minutes plus, has some interesting points. Oswald was an highly respected composer, and the booklet gives an outstanding overview of that composer.

Artur Pizarro (b.1968) began his piano studies in Lisbon with Campos Coelho, professor of piano at the Lisbon Conservatory of Music, at age three. At age five, he began studying with pianist Sequeira Costa, also in Lisbon. In 1977, after Sequeira Costa accepted a position as Distinguished Professor of Piano at the University of Kansas, Artur followed him to Lawrence, Kansas, in the United States. He continued working with Sequeira Costa until 1990, except for a brief interruption during which Artur also worked with other teachers, including Aldo Ciccolini at the Conservatoire de Paris. [This ¶ courtesy of Wiki.]

I have long collected Artur Pizarros's recordings on several labels and have yet to be disappointed in any way. If you do not know his work, you would be pleased to investigate it more! SIX stars for this recording!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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