The Finnish pianist Sanna Vaarni has made an extraordinarily exciting recording here. Under the title “Illustrazioni” piano music by Italian composers of the 20th century can be heard. Names like Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Nino Rota are there, but also Giacinto Scelsi, Gian Francesco Malipiero and Luigi Dallapiccola. All names that you know, but which cause some surprises in this compilation. Nino Rota, for example, is mainly known for his film music, but unfortunately little is known about the fact that he also composed numerous “serious” works. His Preludi, composed in 1964, are stylistically a bit out of date, but they are still beautiful pieces with a late Romantic-Impressionist touch. Or Scelsi, who always likes to be placed in the avant-garde corner.
High musical quality
These are undoubtedly his Quatro illustrazioni, composed in 1953, but a capriccio composed in 1935 shows a much more “conventional” composer searching for his own style. Sanna Vaarni has really put together a highly interesting program that has a clear common thread, shows stylistic developments and cross-relationships and also arouses curiosity. Her formidable playing also contributes to this. Sanna Vaarni has a rich palette of touch nuances, which she is able to use convincingly in Scelsi’s Illustrazioni or Dallapiccola’s Quaderno musicale. Rota’s distinctive Preludi also shimmer in all imaginable nuances. All in all, this recording convinces all around: through a polished program and the high musical quality.
Guido Krawinkel [02/03/2023]