• Features

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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30 May 2017 Hessischer Rundfunk

Mendelssohn: Complete Piano Works (Decca, 10 CDs)

Roberto Prosseda spielt Gelegenheitskompositionen mit derselben Sorgfalt wie die großen Stücke, so die Variations sérieuses. Manche Stücke verblüffen, etwa ein "Bärentanz" aus dem Jahr 1842. Gespielt ausschließlich auf der untersten und obersten Oktave der Klaviatur.

Die ganze Bandbreite Mendelssohns zeigt Roberto Prosseda in seiner Gesamtaufnahme. Das Beiheift mit Prossedas Texten ist informativ, übersichtlich und bietet am Schluss alle Klavierwerke in chronologischer Abfolge mit Fundstelle auf den CDs - vorbildlich! So ausgerüstet macht Reisen durch den Mendelssohnschen Kosmos Spaß. Ich garantiere Ihnen so manche aufregende Entdeckung!

http://www.hr-online.de/website/radio/hr2/index.jsp?rubrik=85345&key=standard_document_64601162&xt


25 May 2017 Scherzo

Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 3, Madrid, Auditorio Nacional, May 21, 2017

El martes 23, la Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid se enfrentaba a un programa con dos novedades. Una de ellas lo era más o menos para todos, el estreno español del considerado Concierto número tres de Mendelssohn, una reconstrucción debida al entusiasmo de Riccardo Chailly y el pianista Roberto Prosseda, que brilló en esta bella página, que no es de las menores de Mendelssohn, por mucho que no sea por completo Mendelssohn. Prosseda defendió esta obra tan "suya" con gran musicalidad, sentido de la frase, sabiduría de los tempi tanto si eran contrastados como si se motivaban, y esa capacidad de motivar tema, tempo y frase es una de las cualidades de este excelente pianista, junto con el dominio de las dinámicas hacia el pianissimo. Y tuvo tanto éxito que se vio obligado a un bis, el consabido Rondó de Mendelssohn.

http://www.scherzo.es/content/cr%C3%ADtica-orcam-doble-novedad?platform=hootsuite


21 May 2017 Repubblica

Mendelssohn: Complete Piano Works (Decca, 10 CDs)

L'opera pianistica di Mendelssohn è sterminata. Sospeso tra Bach, Beethoven e la visione di un mondo sonoro inesplorato, costituisce l'incunabolo della musica romantica. Un mondo vastissimo, in cui una mente razionalistica cerca di mettere ordine al caos dell'invenzione. Roberto Prosseda lo indaga con acuta penetrazione e con amore, e ce ne restituisce la ricchezza musicale, la raffinata e moderna scrittura pianistica.

Dino Villatico
 
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9 May 2017 Dyonisos Blog

Mendelssohn: Complete Piano Works (Decca, 10 CDs)

Roberto Prosseda ha concluso il suo lungo e meraviglioso viaggio attraverso l’opera pianistica di Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Per le pagine a 4 mani e per i brani per due pianoforte gli si unisce Alessandra Ammara.[...] Roberto Prosseda legge tutto ciò con sovrana intelligenza, con acuta sensibilità. Il tocco passa da un’aerea leggerezza a una selvaggia irruenza, soprattutto nelle pagine giovanili. Ma a sostenere la tenuta della pagina c’è poi la penetrazione profonda dell’intreccio contrappuntistico (Mendelssohn ha scritto un diluvio di fughe, anche quando non le chiama fughe). C’è l’abbandono a una cantabilità aristocratica, mai esibita, tutta interiore. Anche quando in un bellissimo valzer giovanile è imitata la danza popolare. C’è la mutevolezza illimitata del fraseggiare, l’accarezzamento dolcissimo della melodia. Insomma, se quest’interpretazione dell’opera pianistica di Mendelssohn è un vero e proprio viaggio, un’avventura dalla quale forse lo stesso pianista esce arricchito, consapevole di cose che forse prima ignorava, anche per l’ascoltatore il viaggio è pieno di sorprese, l’avventura una scoperta di sé stessi, del lato oscuro di sé stessi, che qui Mendelssohn gli squaderna davanti con prodigiosa arte d’incantatore, quasi un moderno Orfeo che fa cantare alberi e pietre, o un Hermes che disvela i misteri nascosti delle cose.
 
Dino Villatico
 

1 May 2017 Pianist magazine (Germany)

Mozart: Piano Sonatas 1 - 6 (Decca)

Auch der Italiener Roberto Prosseda startete kurzlich mit einem Doppelalbum seine Gesamtaufnahme der Mozart-Sonaten mit einer historischen Stimmung nach Francesco Vallotti (1770). Nach dieser werden die großen Terzen in Tonarten mit wenigen Vorzeichen fast naturrein (etwas kleiner als normal) gestimmt, in den entfernteren Tonarten fallen sie hingegen etwas größer aus; so entsteht insbesondere im zweiten Satz der Sonate KV 280 sowie im Menuett von KV 282 ein historisch angehauchter Klang. Prossedas Mozart ist energetisch packend und originell in der Detailgestaltung. Glänzend vermag er die Transparenz und den schlanken Ton des historischen Fortepianos auf den modernen Flugel zu ubertragen. Auch wagt er größere dynamische Kontraste und stärkere Crescendi, was insbesondere die schnelleren Sätze noch lebendiger und spritziger erklingen lässt.

Mario Vogt
 
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1 May 2017 International Piano

Mozart: Piano Sonatas 1 - 6 (Decca)

After successful recordings of Mendelssohn, Roberto Prosseda turns his inquisitive mind to Mozart, paying on a Fazioli, but one tuned to Vallotti’s unequal temperament, thereby adding extra nuances of colour to the experience. It is certainly true that the various emotions on display here, from festive to heart-breaking, spring out at the listener; yet that is due to Prosseda’s excellence in this repertoire, too.

Prosseda sees these sonatas as standing at the onset of Mozart’s maturity, and treats them as such. The results are massively rewarding; the profundity of the dissonances of the slow movement of the Sonata in C major K279 is remarkable, while Prosseda’s finger facility in the finale (honed via Mendelssohn, one assumes) is stunning. The same dexterity enables him to sculpt the florid opening statements of K281 to perfection. The presence of opera is never far from Mozart’s piano sonatas, and here the bustle of the opera house seems to inform the bright F major Sonata first movement, which sits in extreme contrast to the sorrow of its central Adagio.

The second disc offers even more fascinating fare: K282 opens with a plangent Adagio, its dissonances penetrating; the pair of Menuets that follow come as blessed relief. If the G major is known to amateur pianists everywhere, Prosseda reminds us of its eloquence (it sounds particularly bright here). Finally, the so-called Dürnitz Sonata, with its quarter- hour set of variations as finale, in a most alive performance (Prosseda includes the ornamentation given in the 1874 Torricella edition); and a performance of a fragment of a draft for the first movement, a fascinating glimpse of work in progress.

Colin Clarke
 
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