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Respighi’s Piano Sonata of 1897/98 was not discovered until the 1980s. A student work, the second movement is beautifully nocturnal with a Busonian slant, giving way to a sprightly, again somewhat Busonian, finale. More expansive than Scherbakov (Naxos), Gatto finds great beauty and lyricism in this work. There is a Rachmaninov-like poignancy to the B-flat minor Preludio, while the Toccata in D-Dorian reflects Respighi’s interest in older musics, here the Stylus Phantasticus.

The three Andantes are simply beautiful, dating from just before the Piano Sonata, while the Tre preludi sopra melodie gregoriane were written in the wake of Great War. The second, Tempestuoso, is a fabulous piece, buzzing with energy; the last, Lento, is truly haunting. Fabulous, rich-toned performances.

Volume two is eagerly awaited.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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