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CLASSICAL  November 2005

CLASSICAL November 2005

Subject:

"Show Some Emotion" - Classical Piano Solos by David DeLucia

From:

Donald Satz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:56:32 +0000

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"Show Some Emotion"
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Pavane pour une infante defunte (1899) [6:23]
Sonatine (1903/05) [11:30]
Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Spanish Dance, Op. 37 no. 2 "Oriental" (1890) [4:41]
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
A Lenda do Caboclo (1920) [4:04]
Claudio Santoro (1919-1989)
Paulistana no. 1 (1953) [1:30]
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Suite Bergamasque (1890) [17:23]
Robert Casadesus (1899-1972)
Prelude, Op. 5 no. 24 (1924) [5:03]
Rick Robertson (b. 1960)
Romance (2003) [3:03]
Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983)
Deux Pieces: Larghetto (1946) [3:19], Valse Lente (1948) [2:04]

David DeLucia, piano
Recorded Neighborhood Music School,
New Haven, Connecticut, February 2005
Personal Label 09419 [59:10]

This is pianist David DeLucia's third recording from his own private
label.  I reviewed the first two discs on these pages in December 2004,
and I refer readers to that review for some biographical information on
the multi-talented Mr. DeLucia.

To recap my opinion of the earlier recordings, DeLucia offers delectable
readings of romantically inclined music from a variety of composers.
Although he displays a fine technical command of the music, DeLucia's
most impressive quality is his ability to fully convey the emotional
content and sound world of each composer's works he performs.  The result
is two enchanting discs covering the themes of romance, sensuality and
rapture.

As expected, the new disc is equally compelling and embraces the same
themes as the first two recordings.  The music of French composers
dominates the program, but is appropriately relieved through the Granados,
Villa-Lobos, and Robertson pieces.  Here's my take on the 3rd Delucia
recording:

Ravel's Pavane and Sonatine - The Pavane is one of the most sensuous and
popular Ravel compositions, although the subsequent orchestral version
written in 1910 is the form in which it is most often heard.  An elegant
and melancholy piece, Ravel was highly critical of performances which
were quite slow and sedate; his marking of "rather gentle, but with a
full sound" reflecting his basic requirements.  DeLucia takes Ravel's
marking seriously, using a full tone and moderate tempo to convey a
stately demeanor.  Giving the work a sultry and mysterious atmosphere
adds to its magnetism.  Definitely a version to listen to with your
significant other.

The Sonatine is a three-movement work that Ravel initiated in order to
submit a 1st Movement for a competition sponsored by a music magazine;
the enterprise had an early death because Ravel was the sole entrant and
his movement's length exceeded the contest requirements.  This obviously
didn't keep Ravel in check as he went on to compose the rest of the work,
and it is a wonderful creation.  Rapture inhabits each movement, starting
with the urgent descending fourth of the opening to the brilliant and
swirling passage-work of the 3rd Movement.  In between is a Menuet that
begins in a rather serene fashion but then explodes in lyricism and
ecstasy.  In his account, DeLucia displays excellent technical control
and always highlights the tension from the score.  Most striking is the
rhythmic lift he imparts to the initial theme of the Menuet, far different
and more vibrant than on Angela Hewitt's highly praised Ravel set for
Hyperion where legato phrasing contributes to a somewhat flat performance
of the theme.

Granados's "Oriental" - One of his most beautiful and evocative pieces
for solo piano, this dance has rapturous Spanish rhythms enveloped in
darkness/regret and exquisite dialogue among the musical lines.  DeLucia's
interpretation is a gorgeous one that well captures the rhythmic flows.
I did also listen to the RCA performance from Alicia de Larrocha who
reigns supreme in the Spanish piano repertoire; her reading possesses
greater elasticity, but DeLucia's loving account matches her in all other
respects.

Villa-Lobos's A Lenda do Caboclo - This is very sultry music with a first
section of subtlety contrasted by the second section's energetic Brazilian
dance rhythms.  DeLucia offers a steamy performance guaranteed to impact
one's libido.

Santoro's Paulistana no. 1 - A Brazilian composer, Santoro wrote seven
short works characterizing the city of San Paulo.  The first one is a
lovely piece evoking comfort and security, and I really like how Delucia
sounds so relaxed and at one with the music.

Debussy's Suite Bergamasque - Composed in 1890, this early Debussy work
was not published for another 15 years.  Although Debussy might have
altered the work during that time period, the music's traditional forms
argue against any significant revisions.  The 1st Movement is a spirited
Prelude, the 2nd an assertive Menuet, and the 4th Movement a bustling
Passepied based on a baroque dance form in triple meter.  The 3rd Movement,
"Clair de Lune", is one of Debussy's most famous piano pieces and fully
deserving for its gorgeous melodies.  DeLucia's performance is perhaps
his best on the disc; the confident swagger he gives the Menuet is very
impressive, and his "Clair de Lune" is a model of dream-like rapture.

Casadesus's Prelude - Best known as one of the leading concert pianists
of the 20th century, Robert Casadesus was also a fine composer writing
attractive music with a blend of impressionist and neo-classical styles.
Such is the case with the 24 Preludes that Casadesus wrote in his
mid-twenties and dedicated to Ravel.  DeLucia programs the 24th Prelude
which is the longest and most poignant of the set.  It begins with music
of hazy mystery that is eventually taken over by dance-like rhythms that
do not appreciably set a more positive tone due to the ominous bass line.
Casadesus then mixes the two themes in a creative manner and closes out
the piece with a highly contemplative epilogue that lasts almost two
minutes.  Given that DeLucia finds a perfect blend of impressionist and
neo-classical elements, his performance is a riveting one that has not
been surpassed on record.

Robertson's Romance - A composer likely unknown to most readers, Rick
Robertson was raised in Roanoke, Virginia and has been a music teacher
for the past fifteen years at The School of Music at the First Baptist
Church on the Square in Lagrange, Georgia.  His most notable teaching
accomplishment came from a highly talented 10 year old girl born without
fingers on her right hand; Robertson was convinced of her artistic
potential and composed and adapted numerous pieces that she could play
in recitals.  His Romance is unabashedly loving and tender music that
DeLucia plays with heart-felt dedication.

Tailleferre's Deux Pieces - Germaine Tailleferre was a member of "Les
Six", a group of six composers who promoted a fresh approach to music
away from Wagnerism and Impressionism.  Mr. Delucia has picked two of
her most lovely piano pieces and plays them with subtle passion; both
works are nostalgic, the Larghetto conveying regret while bitter-sweet
refrains pervade the Valse Lente.

Don's Conclusions: David DeLucia has now given us three exceptional
theme discs in excellent and vibrant sound.  I am not aware of his future
recording plans, but I would love to have him record music of a wider
emotional palette.  Mr. Delucia has proven his mettle, and I am confident
he can stand tall next to the well-known recording artists of our day.
In the meantime, his three discs are available at budget price from
http://cdbaby.com.  If you are looking for romantic music played with
devotion, David DeLucia is certainly your man.

Don Satz
[log in to unmask]

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