Handel: Suite in B flat; Brahms: Handel Variations; Bach: Partita No 1; Liszt: Vallée d'Obermann – review

Francesco Piemontesi (Avanti Classic)

Franceso Piemontesi's latest recital disc confirms the fine impression left by his set of Schumann's piano sonatas released by Claves last year. There's a real aristocratic sweep to this 27-year-old Swiss pianist's playing; the Handel suite from which Brahms extracted the theme of his Handel Variations is generously expressive, while Piemontesi's account of the Brahms Variations themselves, if not barnstorming exactly, is full of delicacy and transparent textures that make you hang on every phrase. Liszt's transcription of Bach's G minor Fantasy and Fugue makes the neat link between the first partita and the extract from the first book of the Années de Pèlerinage. Piemontesi's unaffected Bach playing is recognisably all of a piece with his fundamentally unflamboyant approach to Liszt, which manages to present the rhetorical grandeur of Vallée d'Obermann truthfully, without exaggerating it in any way.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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