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Francesco Libetta Recital: Godowsky: Studies on Chopin Etudes; Chopin: Mazurka etc

Francesco Libetta , Leopold Godowsky , Camille Saint Saens , Frederic Chopin , Carlo Gesualdo Audio CD

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1. Gagliarda
2. Siciliana
3. Canzon Francese
4. Studies On The Chopin Etudes: Op.10, No.3
5. Studies On The Chopin Etudes: Op.10, No.5 & Op.25, No.9, (Played Simultaneously) 'Badinage'
6. La Valse
7. Estampes: Pagodes
8. Estampes: La Soiree Dans Grenade
9. Estampes: Jardins Sous La Pluie
10. Two Operatic Transcriptions: Tannhauser: 'O Du Mein Holder Abendstern'
11. Two Operatic Transcriptions: Faust: Valse
12. Encores: Mazurka in a, Op.68, No.2
13. Encores: Etude in D flat, Op.52, No.6, 'Etude En Forme De Valse'
14. Encores: Cancion VI

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Mr. Schonberg says.. 2 Jan 2002
By Gianluca Panareso - Published on Amazon.com
An Italian pianist, born in 1968, Libetta makes a formidable impression in this recording of a concert given in Miami, January 27, 2000. He is a super-virtuoso who does not dowse you with pail-full of notes. No technical showmanship here: with his kind of technique Libetta does not need to try to make an impression. He takes his wonderful fingers for granted (he makes the difficult Ravel sound easy), and the listener is swept along. He has put together an interesting program, from Gesualdo to Mompou - mostly arrangements - and he is the master of every period or style represented. Seems that a new generation of virtuosos is appearing: a generation that accepts virtuosity not as tightrope walking but as a species of literalism, where musical meaning is more important that knock’-‘em dead fingerwork. Libetta is the best of this modern style. He obviously can play, most convincingly, everything he wants, and he has an acute feeling for style: but he never makes a big thing of his technical expertise. Melodic lines are graceful shaped: the pieces sing. I have no hesitation calling him an important pianist.
Harold Schonberg on AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, June 2001
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable Readings Only Hint at Performers Skill 30 July 2001
By John Bradley - Published on Amazon.com
There are several problemns with this particular item. Firstly the sound is excessively boney on some playback devices,something that breaks up the sweep of phrases and makes even the most miniscule inconsistancy sound enormous, fortes are also a bit clangy. The artist seems to be pulling his punches which leads to awkward hesitations and disjointed readings. Also half of the disc showcases the weakest points of libettas musical personality. If you have a way to turn up the mid range or have a processor on your playback device which will make the sound less sharp and more reverberent much of this recital is excellent. Also the piano was voiced in a way I feel was rather monochrome. I was expecting much more from libetta as I had heard much pirate material which is honestly some of the more sensational playing I have ever heard. This recital though riddled with nervous performances is still worth getting however. The godowsky Badinage and the Saint-Saens numbers are played in a jaw dropping manner none-the-less. The badinage clocking in in about a minute and a quarter! And the Etude in the form of a Waltz eclipsing even Cziffra!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Altogether Satisfying Recital Recorded Live 1 Jan 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Francesco Libetta's name has been bruited about for a few years and the buzz has universally almost ecstatic. I first heard about him because he has played the Godowsky-Chopin Études in concert and recorded some of them, to great acclaim. This CD is the first I've actually heard of his playing and I would have to agree with what I've heard and read about him -- he is an extremely talented pianist with technique to spare and musicianship to match it. His playing does not so much call attention itself as command attention for the music itself. (This is in contrast to the recording I've just reviewed by another youngish phenom, Kemal Gekic, whose playing strikes me as the reverse of that.) Frankly, in this recital recorded in 2000 as part of the Miami International Piano Festival of Discovery, there is not a weak performance.

Libetta's playing is marked by extremely sensitive shaping of musical phrases, dynamic variety, natural rubato, rich sonority and understanding of harmonic tension and release. This recital contains works as disparate as Mompou's reticent (and gorgeous) Canción VI and Saint-SaŽns's knuckle-busting D Flat Étude, Op. 52, No. 6 ('Étude in forme de valse'). Each is given a magnificent performance, the latter being almost superhumanly virtuosic, the former gently melancholic and seemingly the simplest thing in the world (it's not!).

Two of the Godowsky-Chopin Études are included: one on Op. 10, No. 3 and the 'Badinage' (a combination, in blazing counterpoint of features of Op. 10, No. 5 and Op. 25, No. 9). The first is, like the Mompou, delicate and soulful, the latter full of fireworks and breathtaking simultaneous fingerwork in both hands. Another highlight is his performance of Ravel's own arrangement of 'La Valse.'

I would suggest you try the clips provided here at Amazon and hear for yourself the wondrous abilities of this rising pianist. I personally am hopeful that I will one day be able to hear Signor Libetta in person.

Scott Morrison
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