Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Andrea Bacchetti
Director: Gian Andrea Lodovici
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Two Performances of the Goldbergs by Andrea Bacchetti
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 11/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Another set of Goldbergs by another pianist I never heard of? Well, why not, I thought. After all I own more than thirty Goldberg Variation sets and every one has something of value in it. I was not aware until I examined the case carefully that this box contains not one but two performances of the Variations. This is because there are both a DVD and a CD, each containing a performance by Andrea Bacchetti, and they were recorded about a year apart.
First a word about Bacchetti. He is a thirty-year-old Genoese pianist who has been before the public since he made his début with Claudio Scimone and I Solisti Veneti when he was eleven. His career has been centered on Italy and central Europe, although he has performed in the rest of Europe, made a Japanese tour, and has played in the prestigious Dame Myra Hess piano recital series in Chicago. I don't know with whom he studied but I was struck by how much his physical address of the keyboard reminds me of a recently seen DVD of Boris Berezovsky. His technique is exceedingly clean in spite of the fact that he plays with a super-romantic approach with liberal use of the sustaining pedal. Bach's polyphony is crystal clear.
The DVD performance from 2006 was photographed beautifully, with ingenious camera angles that do not interfere with the music. One gets to see his hands for much of the time, always a plus for an old pianist like me, but one rarely sees his pedaling. He plays a gorgeous Fazioli piano set in a beautiful room in the Villa Trissino Marzotti in Vicenza, Italy. Unfortunately the sonic ambience of the room is, to my taste, over-reverberant, which intruded on my enjoyment of Bacchetti's performance. The sound in the accompanying CD, recorded a few months later at the Teatro Chiabrera, in Savona, Italy, is much drier and more enjoyable. The performances are not carbon copies. The Theater performance is generally faster. The Villa performance seems more legato in general and there are more added ornaments throughout, although both performances are more ornamented than any I've ever heard before. Depending on how you feel about that will determine whether you will want to consider these performances. I frankly found the ornaments unobtrusive once I recognized there were going to be a lot of them. They are extremely expertly done and for the most part seem to grow out of the architecture of the music. They are generally, but not always, confined to the ritornelli. They do not interfere with tempi or phrasing except perhaps in some of the more rapid cadential passages in which they can slightly delay the arrival point. Another notable feature of these performances is the romantic application of shaped dynamics from whispery pianissimi to ferocious fortissimi. Again, one's taste for this sort of thing will determine whether one wants to hear these performances. I enjoyed hearing both the florid ornamentation -- which, I must admit, made me think from time to time that I was listening to Rameau or Couperin -- and the bold application of romantic expressive means. But I will also admit that it is unlikely these will become among my very favorite performances. Technically young Signor Bacchetti is above criticism. If I had to say whose technique his most reminds me of, I'd say Murray Perahia, high praise indeed. But I'd also say that I much prefer Perahia's way with the Goldbergs, Bach: Goldberg Variations
On the DVD there is a ten-minute spoken introduction, with musical examples, by Signor Bacchetti. His rapid Italian in a very high voice and his vigorous gestures made watching and listening to him a bit of a trial, and I don't know that I learned anything particularly helpful from what he said.
I hope I have given enough particulars that any reader of this review will have enough information with which to make a decision about whether to purchase this DVD/CD combination.
DVD: Sound: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1; Picture format: 16:9 (Concert), 4:3 letterbox (Introduction); Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French; Menu language: English; Time: 97 mins (Concert); 10 mins (Introduction); DVD 9 NTSD; Region Code: 0 (worldwide)
CD: Total time: 77'30"