César FRANCK · Piano Music (Piano Classics)

Violin Sonata in A Major  (transcription for piano solo by Alfred Cortot)
Prelude, Fugue et Variation Op.18  (arrangement for piano solo by Harold Bauer)
Prelude, Choral et Fugue

PIANO CLASSICS, 2013

 

 

The spirit of Alfred Cortot and, to a lesser extent, Harold Bauer hangs over this most distinguished and enterprising recital. Cortot, despite his mischievous claim that Franck’s music reflected a church-worker style (‘le côté artisan d’église’), was also an ardent admirer, championing all the major keyboard works and arranging the Violin Sonata for solo piano. And here in particular, Domenico Codispoti, a young Italian pianist claimed in Piano Classics’ accompanying notes to have come close in stature in Liszt’s B minor Sonata to ‘benchmark recordings by Argerich, Arrau, Brendel, Pollini, Richter and Paul Lewis’, plays with a warmth and fervour worthy of Cortot himself. His sonority, too, has an Arrau-like fulness and richness, captured in sound as mellow as the playing. In the breathless second-movement Allegro, Codispoti gives us an impetus and virtuosity to set pulses racing.

There is a no less superb sense of alternating heartache and heart-ease in Bauer’s incense-laden arrangement of the Prélude, fugue et variation and in the once widely played Prélude, choral et fugue, a total response to Franck whether anguished or seraphic. All this and more is enough to make you fall in love all over again with Franck’s instantly recognisable, indeed, indelible idiom.

Bryce Morrison, Gramophone