Skip to content

Michele Tozzetti – Bernstein: Complete Solo Piano Music (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Michele Tozzetti – Bernstein: Complete Solo Piano Music (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:16:40 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Piano Classics

Bernstein’s piano output reflects the various strands of his multifaceted personality, in works as different as Touches (1981) – influenced by Aaron Copland’s thorny Piano Variations – and , at the other end of the scale, his often tender, sentimental Anniversaries, miniatures written in commemoration of important people in his life. Taken together his piano works form a musical diary tracing the breadth of his experiences and ideas. Smaller piano pieces often preview bigger things to come. Four of his Five Anniversaries (1949-51) appear as themes in his violin concerto, the Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium.”

The personal commemorations he created were not portraits so much as self-portrayals, revealing different aspects of his own multi-faceted personality. To play these works well requires an understanding of the various elements that made up the Bernstein persona. The Italian pianist Michele Tozzetti brings out the heartfelt tenderness of most of these tributes, the Jewish elements and the dance rhythms.

In the Anniversary dedicated to Aaron Copland (in Seven Anniversaries, 1943), Tozzetti captures the sound and spirit of the man Bernstein called ‘my first friend in New York, my master, my idol, my sage, my shrink, my guide, my counselor, my elder brother, [and] my beloved friend.’ The pianist reveals a delicate sense of sonority along with fine dynamic control in For Paul Bowles, and brings an idiomatic edginess to For Sergei Koussevitzky. He also injects youthful vigour into Bernstein’s Sonata (1937), a probing work rich in counterpoint, written when the the composer was still a student.

Also on this recording are Non Troppo Presto, a manuscript discovered in the Leonard Bernstein archive at the Library of Congress; and Touches: Chorale, Eight Variations and Coda, commissioned by the Van Cliburn Piano Competition in 1981. Its bluesy chorale is identical to Virgo Blues, written for his daughter, Jamie on her twenty-sixth birthday in 1978. Bernstein dedicated this work ‘to my first love, the keyboard’. In Michele Tozzetti’s hands, that love is beautifully realized.

Leonard Bernstein was without doubt one of the most important musical figures of 20th century America: active as pianist, composer, conductor, teacher and media star, he was in short a musical icon. 2018 saw the centenary of his birth, which generated a renewed interest in this towering genius.

Bernstein’s compositions are as multi-faceted as the man himself: his “Touches” is influenced by the thorny and fiercely dissonant sounds of Copland’s variations while the “Anniversaries” are touching and sometimes even sentimental commemorations of important people in his life. Bernstein’s complete piano works are played on this new recording by the young Italian pianist Michele Tozzetti, who plays on a superb Fazioli grand piano F278.

The booklet contains liner notes written by the noted author Stuart Isacoff.

1. Sonata: I. —
2. Sonata: II. —
3. Touches
4. 4 Sabras: I. Ilana. The Dreamer
5. 4 Sabras: II. Idele. The Chassidele
6. 4 Sabras: III. Yosi. The Jokester
7. 4 Sabras: IV. Dina. The Tomboy Who Weeps Alone
8. 4 Anniversaries: I. For Felicia Montealegre
9. 4 Anniversaries: II. For Johnny Mehegan
10. 4 Anniversaries: III. For David Diamond
11. 4 Anniversaries: IV. For Helen Coates
12. 5 Anniversaries: I. For Elizabeth Rudolf
13. 5 Anniversaries: II. For Lukas Foss
14. 5 Anniversaries: III. For Elizabeth B. Ehrman
15. 5 Anniversaries: IV. For Sandy Gellhorn
16. 5 Anniversaries: V. For Susanna Kyle
17. 7 Anniversaries: I. For Aaron Copland
18. 7 Anniversaries: II. For My Sister, Shirley
19. 7 Anniversaries: III. In Memoriam. Alfred Eisner
20. 7 Anniversaries: IV. For Paul Bowles
21. 7 Anniversaries: V. In Memoriam. Nathalie Koussevitzky
22. 7 Anniversaries: VI. For Sergei Koussevitzky
23. 7 Anniversaries: VII. For William Schuman
24. Non troppo presto
25. Music for the Dance, No. II: I. Moderato
26. Music for the Dance, No. II: II. Waltz Time
27. Music for the Dance, No. II: III. Allegro non troppo
28. 13 Anniversaries: I. For Shirley Gabis Rhoads Perle
29. 13 Anniversaries: II. In Memoriam. William Kapell
30. 13 Anniversaries: III. For Stephen Sondheim
31. 13 Anniversaries: IV. For Craig Urquhart
32. 13 Anniversaries: V. For Leo Smit
33. 13 Anniversaries: VI. For My Daughter, Nina
34. 13 Anniversaries: VII. In Memoriam. Helen Coates
35. 13 Anniversaries: VIII. In Memoriam. Goddard Lieberson
36. 13 Anniversaries: IX. For Jessica Fleischmann
37. 13 Anniversaries: X. In Memoriam. Constance Hope
38. 13 Anniversaries: XI. For Felicia, on our 28th Birthday
39. 13 Anniversaries: XII. For Aaron Stern
40. 13 Anniversaries: XIII. In Memoriam. Ellen Goetz

Michele Tozzetti, piano


%d bloggers like this: