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Vianna da Motta: Piano Concerto, Ballada, Fantasia Dramatica CD

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Orquestra Gulbenkian
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Composer: José Vianna da Motta
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B00004YYQ2
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 347,824 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Moderato
2. Largo
3. Variation 1
4. Variation 2
5. Variation 3 - Vivace - Tranquillo
6. Variation 4 - Lento
7. Variation 5 - Coda (molto vivace) - Artur Pizarro A
8. Ballada, for solo piano, (1905)
9. Allegro Moderato -
10. Andante -
11. Animato - Maestoso

Product Description

CD Description

For Volume 25 of 'The Romantic Piano Concerto' Hyperion went to Portugal to celebrate one of the country's greatest musical sons. José Vianna da Motta, if he is remembered at all, is primarily known as a very fine pianist. He was one of Liszt's last pupils, became a friend of Busoni, and left a small body of very impressive 78rpm recordings. After many years based in Berlin he returned to his country of birth as director of the Lisbon conservatory and became central to the musical life of the country. And like many other performers of the day, he also composed. Though he later went on to compose songs, chamber works, and a symphony, both his works for piano and orchestra are early works and were never published. Indeed the A major Concerto was never performed in Vianna da Motta's lifetime and the world premiere was given by the forces assembled for this CD the day before the recording sessions took place! The Concerto is unusual in being in two movements, the second of which is a set of variations which serves the purpose of both slow movement and finale. The Fantasia Dramatica was premiered by the composer in 1893; its three movements make it almost more of a concerto than the earlier work. Both works, though using the harmonic language of the time, show real individuality in their ideas. The conventional conflicts of the 19th century concerto being largely replaced by an integration of the piano with the orchestra which suits the primarily lyrical ideas (though there is much very awkward virtuosic writing which testifies to da Motta's pianistic ability). The CD is completed with the Ballade for solo piano of 1905. The composer regarded this as his greatest piano work.


'Pizarro performs prodigies in getting around these unfamiliar scores with hair-raising aplomb and the utmost conviction' (Piano International) 'Goza, además, de una toma sonora espléndida' (Scherzo, Spain) 'A marvellously recorded programme … a joy to listen to' (Gramophone) 'Pizarro gives the music exactly the full-bodied treatment [the piece] requires. A fine, satisfying disc, well worth exploring' (Fanfare, USA) 'To hear Pizarro is always a pleasure … lyrical phrasing wrapped in one of the most entrancing and expressive pianissimos of any pianist' --International Record Review

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By someonewhocares2 on 24 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Jose Vianna da Motta (1868-1948) was a Portuguese pianist and composer who was one of Liszt's last pupils. The Piano Concerto on this disc dates from 1887 but was not premiered until 1999. The "Fantasia Dramatica" dates from 1893 and was given one performance before being shelved. Both works were played in concert by the same forces that perform on this disc and the recording was made the following day.

I have collected most of the discs in this series but, if you are not a Hyperion "Romantic Piano Concerto" completist, I think I can safely suggest that you could give this one a miss. The music is far from bad; indeed, it is very competently written. However, da Motta's tunes, though lyrical enough, tend to be rather uninspired and squarecut. His idea of development is often to keep alternating their phrases as he visits different keys and switches between major and minor. On the evidence of this music, da Motta is not really capable of a compelling musical argument and the music is simply not sufficiently imaginative to hold the listener's interest consistently. da Motta also seems incapable of maintaining a true allegro for any length of time.

The concerto's first movement (Moderato) is a sonata structure built on a rather bland tune and, as its "second subject", a little sequential pattern. The development section begins at 4 mins 3 secs with a move to the minor which, in the context of this music, is moderately striking. The second movement is a set of variations (perhaps da Motta had realised that sonata form wasn't for him!)on a stern and again not particularly memorable idea which is given a lyrical appendage. The inbuilt danger of variation form--that the music keeps stopping and starting--is not avoided.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good performances of mildly interesting music 8 Jan. 2013
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
José Vianna da Motta (1868-1948, also spelled "Viana da Mota") was a pupil of Liszt and an important figure in his native Portugal as a pianist, composer and educator. He is - at least before this release - probably best known for his single symphony, although the majority of his output was for his own instrument, the piano. Much of it is also on a smaller scale, suggesting perhaps that he was first and foremostly a miniaturist. The Concerto in A major cannot completely dispel that suspicion - it contains many appealing and interesting things, but the ideas have a certain tendency of lapsing into very predictable and unimaginative patterns.

The concerto is, it should be mentioned, a very early work written when the composer was 19. Stylistically it relies heavily on the concertos by his teacher Liszt with the occasional hint of other contemporaneous composers and with the shadow of Schumann hanging over everything. The form of the concerto is somewhat unusual, with a substantial first movement followed by a set of variations - and I suppose he succeeds better in the variations than in the somewhat meandering first movement (which, I hasten to add, contains its fair share of good ideas). The Fantasia Dramatica in three movements dates from 1893, but does not really display any obvious developments of style or technique (though there are some flashes of a more personal voice in the third movement). Again, there are some very good ideas, especially in the first movement, but the composer seems unsure about how to develop them - there is little forward momentum - and has a tendency to fall into the routine. The solo Ballada appears to find the composer in his preferred medium, however, and the result is a virtuoso piece well worth hearing and returning to.

Let there be no doubt about Artur Pizarro's performances, which are excellent throughout; Vianna da Motta's demands for virtuosity are significant, but no obstacle to Pizarro, who brings color and ferocity to all the music - as much as it can take, really. The Orquestra Gulbenkian under Martyn Brabbins provide reliable support thought they do not always sound ideally full-blooded or engaged (which is probably primarily the composer's fault). The sound is good, however, and overall this disc is well worth investigating by fans of romantic piano concertos - don't expect any revelations, however, for this is hardly among the finest installments in Hyperion's invaluable series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Pleasant but not tier 1 concerto 29 April 2012
By sergei kochkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The whole Hyperion romantic concerto set is worth having and listening to. Motta like other composers in this library produce very competent and melodic concertos. In the scheme of things unless you are a trained musician few of these I would call a gem or hidden treasure. They are pleasant to listen but few will leave a lasting memory. They simply are not at a calibre as Beethoven, Grieg, Tchikovsky or Rachmaninoff. So when you tire of the dozen or so key concertos on the concert circuit, listen to one of these, any one randomly. You will be pleasantly surprised.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hidden works from the Romantic repertoire 29 Aug. 2012
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album was a pleasant surprise. Vianna de Motta is far from being a great composer. But who cares? His melodic vein is visibly influenced by Scharwenka, Liszt, Reinecke and Moscheles. Arturo Pizarro is a solvent pianist and the inspirational conduction make of this album a true curiosity for all of those (as I do) who love these forgotten gems of the Romantic repertoire.

Recommended all the way through.
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