• Features

28 April 2019 Repubblica

Mozart: Piano Sonatas 13-18 (Decca)

Roberto Prosseda va alle radici del pianoforte moderno e conclude il ciclo delle Sonate di Mozart. Un viaggio verso la modernità. Filologia e fantasia restituiscono un Mozart dinamico, pieno di contrasti, imprevedibile. Compresa la pratica d'inserire, improvvisando, varianti e abbellimenti: finalmente! Libertà ritmica negli allegri, introspezione negli adagi: perfetto! Anche perché, finalmente, la tanto famigerata limpidezza mozartiana si rivela qui per quello che è: una infinita libertà d'invenzioni.


1 October 2016 Fono Forum

Mozart: Piano Sonatas No. 1 - 6 (Decca)

The 40 year-old Italian, known by his commitment for the pedal piano, has made another attempt to slip into his play anything which could be found in Mozart’s statements passed on to us, in autographs and first editions and in our knowledge upon historical performance practices and instruments.

And that lead him to a performance  which sets, more uncomprimisingly than all his spiritual predecessors, on sensible articulation and phrasing, colourfulness, agility and flexibility.

However, the instrument he chose was not a historical fortepiano, but a Fazioli grand piano from 2015, delicately tuned in one of the historical unequal temperaments, which allowed him to realize amazingly well Mozart’s piano writing in a lean way, with an extreme richness of nuances and a soft piano down to a breathed-like pianissimo.

Thus, he realized an interpretation of these 6 works of the Salzburg teenager which is free from professoral or historicizing rigidity, but still less from the smart ‘modern’ one-track-ideology with which Mozart can still often be heard.

On the contrary, I have the impression that, here, it has been succeeded to convey the whole musical wealth of these Sonatas more lively and more powerfully than ever.

Prosseda always remains close to the text, but presents it by a colour palette applied in an excitingly imaginative way and constantly opening new perspectives:

A recording which has to become a new reference.

 

Ingo Harden
 
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1 March 2016 Gramophone

"Mendelssohn: Complete Works for piano four hands and for two pianos" (Decca)

Is there another single-disc recording of all five of the complete original pieces composed by Mendelssohn for piano duet and two pianos? If so, I doubt if it’s as good as this with Roberto Prosseda, tireless champion of the composer, joined here by his wife Alessandra Ammara.

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20 April 2012 Wall Street Journal

Article about Roberto Prosseda and the Pedalpiano

Roberto Prosseda is a concert pianist of the old school who typically performs in white tie and tails. But for his most recent spate of concerts, he pairs them with slippers—five-fingered rubber-coated slippers that look vaguely amphibian. That's because Mr. Prosseda plays with his feet as well as his hands.The Italian pianist is on a one-man mission to revive the music of the pedal piano, a monstrous double-decker grand piano that was popular in the late-19th century but has long since fallen out of fashion.

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1 July 2014 International Piano

The Multitasking Pianist

While undertaking some research on Mendelssohn, one of his favourite composers, pianist Roberto Prosseda came across the Gounod Concerto for Pedal Piano, which had been neither performed nor published for decades. The work inspired him to study the instrument, a piano with a pedal keyboard that is usually connected to a second set of hammers and strings. As the music critic Norman Lebrecht has written: ‘It’s a piano that thinks, deep down, it’s an organ.’

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1 December 2013 Gramophone

"Gounod: Works for pedal piano and orchestra" (Hyperion)

Gounod's complete works for pedal piano and orchestra is not something the musical worls has been waiting for with bared breath. Yet, lile an item in one of those gift cataloggues full of things you never knew existed but suddenly seem essential, it proves to be a real winner. It is also among the jolliest of piano-and-orchestra recording to come my way for some time. [...] Hyperion's cast is top-drawer. The Concerto (1889) is a charmer with an especially touchin, Schubertian slow movement, beautifully pòayed by Prosseda. The finale and the 1888 Danse Roumaine give the hands and feet plenty to do. Given exactly the right light touch and deft execution, abetter by Howard Shelley's stylish accompainment, Gounod's box of bonbons is an unexpected delight. 

Jeremy Nicholas
 
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1 November 2014 American Record Guide

"Da Capo al Fine" (Decca)

“One of the best Mendelssohn recordings I have reviewed…An invaluable release”. 

In the final installment of his project to record Mendelssohn's complete oeuvre, Prosseda stresses rarely heard, newly published, and yet unpublished repertoire. His scholarly acumen (he wrote his own liner notes), impeccable technique, and good taste leads to one of the best Mendelssohn recordings I have reviewed. The Baroque legacy recurs in the more familiar Variations Sérieuses, with his admirable attention to its dense textures and contrapuntal moments. He supplements the variations with four additional variations excluded from the definitive version. The 7 Charakterstücke, an earlier srt, are short, charming works performed with sensitivity and gusto. Also lively are the poised and brilliant 3 Etudes. An invaluable release for the Mendelssohn enthusiast or scholar. 

Sang Woo Kang
 
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16 February 2015 Suddeutsche Zeitung

Im Forte-Gewitter

Deshalb sind auch die Etuden op. 56 und die Skizzen op. 58 von Robert Schumann eher diskrete Experimente mit ein paar zusätzlichen Grundtönen. Doch danach legte Roberto Prosseda mehr Wert auf den pianistschen Überbau. Bei einer Uraufführung von Luca Lombardi eighte er, mit Themen von Mendelssohn und jüdischen Melodien, subtilen Piano-Minimalismus sowie dramatische Fort-Cluster-Gewitter als Schreckensbeschwörungen von Aushwitz. Auf diesem Weg zeighte Prosseda sämtliche Möglichkeiten seines Instruments. Zum Höhepunkt wurde jedoch der alte Klaiertitan Liszt - ohne Pedal, nur mit ein paar sparsamen Basstönen als Verstärkung der orchestralen Fantasien. In der gewaltigen Dante-Sonate nach Sonetten von Petrarca spielte Prosseda alle Register von Liszts Klavierkünsten aus, sein unermüdliches Narrativ, die thetorische Überwältigung, die facettenreiche Tonmalerei un das wogende Aud- un Ab gestischer Beschwörungen. Nach so viel Piano pur blieben nur noch zwei Zugaben von Alkan und Gounod für die Demonstration der exotischen Pedalkünste an diesem Abend.  

Klaus P. Richter

Klaus P. Richter
 
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1 January 2014 Fono Forum

CD Review "Gounod: works for pedal piano and orchestra" (Hyperion)

Charles Gounod hat insgesamt vier Werke für Pedalfliügel mit Orchester geschrieben, von denen das Konzert in Es-Dur sicherlich das eindnacksvollste Stück ist. Virtuose Figuren, nicht nur für die Hände, sondern von allem für die Füße, werden dem, Solisten hier abverlangt, und Roberto Prosseda bewältigt diese bravourös.

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9 April 2013 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Review: Gounod's Pedalpiano Concerto with Staatskapelle Weimar and Leopold Hager

Der Pedalflügel gehörte zu den ausgestorbenen Dinosauren im Musik-instrumenten-Zoo. Nun hat sich der Pianist Roberto Prosseda ein neues Pedalflügel-System bauen lasen, es wurde in Weimar mit einem Gounod-Konzert eingeweiht. [...] Delikat ist das Adagio, darin der Pianist die traurig-trüben Akkorde der Hände mit dem Nachhallpedal binden und gleichzeilig mit den Füssen eine Basslinie spielen muss, was Prosseda, der in der Staatskapelle Weimar und in Leopold Hager überhaus sensible und präzise Partner hatte, eindruckswoll gelang.

Jan Brachmann
 
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13 April 2019 MDR Radio Leipzig

Mozart: Piano Sonatas 13-18 (Decca)

Unique art: reduction and pureness [...] generating an increasing gain in colors and atmospheres, which makes Mozart sonatas sound tremendously new under Prosseda’s hands [...]
Absolutely convincing, how Prosseda is obtaining interpretive volts out of humbleness and unobtrusiveness, how he’s able to gain accents out of the harmoniously flowing balance of his play.
This is music making without pathos and artificiality, and yet we find most subtle decorations and little cadenzas.
With this recording, Prosseda celebrates working upon musical details and the hidden inner life of these works.


8 April 2019 WDR Radio

Mozart: Piano Sonatas 13-18 (Decca)


One of the most exciting Mozart editions of the last years...
"As in the former parts of his Mozart edition, Roberto Prosseda plays again a Fazioli grand piano, tuned with the so-called Valotti tuning from the time of Mozart. [...]
This way, the sound becomes more colorful, at some moments more intensely glowing, the harmonies have a more immediate effect.
As for example in the Allegretto of the F Major Sonata, in the middle section of which Prosseda connects the gentle melody of the right hand with almost dancing accents of the left hand – seldom heard like that!
If we consider the whole cycle, already the first parts were convincing all around. And that is here seamlessly continued.
Prosseda’s smoothly flowing, but also flexible touch, his utmost sparely, almost ascetic use of the pedal, his lively articulation and the measured way historically informed playing is applied on the modern piano make of this recording one of the most exciting Mozert editions of the last years. [...]
There are many pianists, who consider Mozart’s piano concertos to be fare more important than the sonatas, [...]
With his complete recording, Roberto Prosseda proves that these works are certainly much more.
One might speculate, how many time Roberto Prosseda has invested to achieve this form of naturalness. He unites many elements required for a moving Mozart performance: liveliness and esprit, but also the art of forming shadows; a crystal-clear, sharply defined touch und the ability to build arioso lines, even without pedal."
 

1 March 2019 L'Ape Musicale

Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos 1 - 2 (Decca)

Sebbene sia appena ventiduenne quando compone quello che ufficialmente è il suo primo concerto per pianoforte e orchestra, Mendelssohn non è nuovo al genere e, fanciullo prodigio, già a tredici anni aveva iniziato a metter su pentagramma partiture per questo organico. Arriva, allora, come a una pietra angolare al numero uno con tutta la freschezza della sua età ma anche con una consapevolezza solida e matura. L'invenzione è compatta, i tre movimenti si susseguono in un unico pensiero rimarcato anche dal ricorrere tematico, mentre un tocco (ironico?) di fanfara scandisce le cesure invece delle cadenze convenzionali. L'impressione immediata è salottiera, ma solo perché la scrittura, pur fitta e anche fiorita, ha un tratto d'intimità che rifugge l'estroversione del virtuoso; in realtà, l'assenza di effetti e compiacimenti solistici è anche assenza di qualsivoglia leziosità, nel salotto non serviamo té e pasticcini, ma ragioniamo d'arte. Asciugare l'effetto significa allora puntare all'essenziale e farne il nerbo di una visione nuova. Accattivante, in apparenza rassicurante, ma radicalmente proiettata in avanti, come in quell'orchestra che sembra quasi discreta, che non si espande in ampie introduzioni, stringendosi invece in un dialogo stretto e intenso con il solista. Un dialogo che assume un aspetto perfino giocoso nel Presto conclusivo. Non differente è il principio che domina l'articolazione del secondo concerto, pur concepito con una gestazione più tormentata, né del Rondò Brillante op. 29, che pure sfrutta una forma tradizionale, classico banco di prova per solisti brillanti, e ne fa manifesto di una diversa concezione del virtuosismo come articolazione del pensiero.

Roberto Prosseda ha quell'intelligente sensibilità cameristica per le piccole cose perfetta per soppesare il respiro di melodie che paiono romanze senza parole, nel dipanare con la giusta misura d'introversione e incisività, di grazia e contegno la scrittura di Mendelssohn. Nel Rondò ha modo di ribadire l'energia di cui è capace scandendo il carattere marziale della prima esposizione del tema e tutte le sue successive declinazioni. Dei concerti possiede l'arcata dialettica, che dipana con naturalezza persuasiva, piacevole levigatezza timbrica (che ci ricorda il retrogusto classico di Mendelssohn e il calore ligneo della sua orchestra del Gewandhaus) coniugata al giusto incalzare dello spirito romantico. Dialoga con la Residentie Orkest The Hague in perfetto equilibrio, sia quando si fonde con essa, sia quando si pone al centro dell'attenzione, ne coglie gli inviti e li trasforma in stimoli pungenti, ma sempre elegantissimi.

Il complesso diretto da Jan Willem De Vriend, oltre a collaborare alla riuscita dei tre pezzi con pianoforte, si produce nell'Ouverture Die Hebriden, che con il suo afflato evocativo, fra suggestioni nordiche e senso leopardiano del vago, si sposa perfettamente con la poetica dei brani precedenti, con il gioco di sottrazione e sperimentazione sotteso all'apparente serenità di Mendelssohn.

Sarà un caso – ne dubitiamo – ma in tutto il CD solo il Rondò Brillant ha una tonalità d'impianto in modo maggiore: il genio sereno ama giocare con le ombre, per chi le sappia cogliere.


1 March 2019 Concerti.de

Mozart: Piano Sonatas 13-18 (Decca)

Outstanding
" Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda displays the potential of Mozart’s late piano sonatas.
Does the world really need another complete recording of Mozart’s piano sonatas?“, someone may ask. Answer: yes, but this only applies, in case it is as outstanding as the one presented by Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda.
Also on his third album, which concludes the cycle, the 43 years aged shows on the wonderfully sounding Fazioli grand piano what this music is made of.
Prosseda’s Mozart has esprit and temperament, he is brilliant and at the same time full of great depth of feeling, he is determined by the classical sens of form, but does not deny, however, the early romantic buds in the slow movements.
The sound culture, for example, with which he approaches the „Adagio“ of the „Jagdsonate“, is phenomenal, but nevertheless his play is never pleasing. [ ... ]


1 March 2019 Piano News

Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos 1-2 (Decca)

With a sublime technique, he steps back behind the music, lets melodies shine, brings light on the positive character of both the concerts with pearling elegance, musical sense and shimmering energy.
Just the same way, he celebrates the soft and fines tones and always keeps the right balance with the sensitive „accompaniment“ of the Residentie Orchestra. A tonally and musically rewarding CD.