SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

RACHMANINOFF: Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor (First Version); 5 Morceaux de Fantasie; Variations on a Theme of Corelli – Alessando Mazzamuto, piano – Arts

A fiery performance of 3 Rachmaninoff piano works in hi-res surround.

Published on April 9, 2013

RACHMANINOFF: Sonata No. 2, Op. 36 in B Flat Minor (First Version); 5 Morceaux de Fantasie Op. 3; Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42 – Alessandro Mazzamuto, piano – Arts multichannel 5.1 SACD 47761 (Distr. by Albany) ****:

Young pianist Alessandro Mazzamuto shows some daring and flair in this first recording on the German Arts label. A recent winner of the Busoni Competition, Mazzamuto does a fine job of performing these Rachmaninoff piano pieces.

There was much to like in the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, which actually isn’t a Corelli theme, but a Portuguese folk tune that Corelli adapted for use in his Violin Sonata No. 2, Opus 5. Mazzamuto has complete command of the keyboard, and the performance is sometimes quirky, but never goes over the top.

I also appreciated the recording of the 5 Morceaux De Fantasie, Op. 3. It’s a technically difficult piece, and one of the composer’s early composition milestones.  Each performance on the CD was technically first rate, and Mazzamuto is obviously giving the Rachmaninoff his full attention and passion.

The disc is a SACD 5.1 production, with a 2-channel CD layer for compatibility with standard CD players. The recording is a good one, with the rear channels providing ambience that sweetens the sound. There wasn’t much output from my subwoofer during the listening sessions, but that’s a usual thing for piano. The 2-channel CD layer sounds similar, with a bit less sheen on the higher notes and, of course, no hall ambience from the rear.

I would expect Mazzamuto to have an illustrious and productive career if he can retain the polish and creativity he gives to these performances.

—Mel Martin




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