‘Delucchi has done us a great service’, noted Fanfare magazine in January 2022 after the release of his Czerny album (PCL10204) on Piano Classics. This young Italian pianist continues to go from strength to strength and to broaden his already diverse catalogue of recordings for the label – spanning Bach, Godowsky and his own music – with this new album of Stravinsky’s works for the piano.
The music of Stravinsky, like Beethoven, unmistakably bears the imprint of being composed at the piano – think of the pounding chords of The Rite of Spring or for that matter the delicate right-hand traceries in a later ballet such as Orpheus. However, the composer wrote relatively little dedicated to his own instrument. There are concertante works such as the Capriccio, composed as much as anything to give him something to play, to tour with and earn valuable income from in his appearances with orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic. The solo music is more niche, but no less characteristic, every note a Stravinsky note as Elliott Carter remarked.
The Cinq doigts (Five Fingers) of 1921 were composed for a recording – probably the first-ever piece of music specifically written for that purpose – though the recording itself was lost until recently. Much of Stravinsky’s piano style is influenced by the records of ragtime which were brought back for him from New York around that time, including the rippling pianola textures and cross rhythms of the Sonata from three years later.
Nearly all of these pieces belong to the Stravinsky of the 1920s – a figure of coruscating brilliance who could draw all music from the past to himself and make it his own. Counterpoint, hymn and a spirit of relaxed nonchalance all pervade the Serenade of 1925, while the brief Etudes encapsulate the glittering virtuoso tradition of Liszt and his successors within a few minutes. The rarity here is a transcription of the chorale from the Symphonies of Wind Instruments, which Stravinsky expeditiously made for a magazine tribute to the memory of Debussy.
- Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a Russian composer who revolutionized the world of classical music with his innovative and groundbreaking works. Especially famous became his ballets written for Les Ballets Russes, of which Le Sacre du Printemps caused a scandal because of its savage, brutal and overtly sensuous character.
- Stravinsky's piano works were notable for their departure from traditional musical norms. He utilized unconventional harmonies and rhythm patterns, and often incorporated elements of folk music and jazz into his pieces.
- The Piano Sonata and Serenade in A may be labeled as Neo-classical, using traditional forms infused with a new tonal language. The Piano Rag Music, Tango and Circus Polka (original title: Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant) are delicious examples of “light” entertainment music, spiced up with syncopated rhythms and “wrong” notes.
- Emanuele Delucchi is one of the most remarkable pianists of his generation. He has the technique and style to master the most difficult pieces with ease, logic and elegance. He made a name with his recordings for Piano Classics of the insanely difficult Chopin Studies by Godowsky, of which the Gramophone wrote: “Its palette of warm colors remained intact but gained a more incisive attack, allowing Delucchi’s voicing and extraordinary digital facility to be heard at its best…’. “Delucchi is in a class of his own”, Jed Distler of Classicstoday.com wrote: “9/9: every inch a viable contender to the reference”. He recently recorded the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Carl Czerny.