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Schoenberg, Bartók and more from Pina Napolitano

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‘Elegy’. Schoenberg: Piano Concerto; Bartók: Piano Concerto No 3 and more

Liepaja Symphony Orchestra/Atvars Lakstīgala

Odradek ODRCD339

4 stars

 

Having recorded the solo works on a well-received debut for the artist-owned Odradek label, Pina Napolitano returns to Schoenberg. She is a persuasive advocate for the more relaxed Piano Concerto, at home with its idiom of ‘12-tone Brahms’ and benefitting from the well-balanced support of a Latvian orchestra. After Expressionist orchestral-only interludes by Schoenberg and Ernst Krenek, she offers the unique and intelligent pairing of Bartók’s Third, which again finds a 20th-century great writing in a late and congenial synthesis of Modernism and Romanticism. Better recorded, more measured but also more characterful than Bronfman and the LSO (reviewed in Pianist 94), if without quite the finesse and brilliance of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, this is an account of vivid colours and human warmth which also corresponds with Sir András Schiff’s idea of the concerto as ‘a wise man’s farewell’. Napolitano makes difficult music if not easy then approachable, issuing a grateful invitation to listen. PQ

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