Michele Campanella - Années de pèlerinage
- 01 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – I. Chapelle de Guillaume Tell
- 02 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – II. Au lac de Wallenstadt
- 03 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – III. Pastorale
- 04 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – IV. Au bord d’une source
- 05 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – V. Orage
- 06 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – VI. Vallée d’Obermann
- 07 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – VII. Eglogue
- 08 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – VIII. Le mal du pays (Heimweh)
- 09 – Premiere annee Suisse, S.160 – IX. Les cloches de Geneve (Nocturne)
- 10 – Deuxieme annee Italie, S.161 – I. Sposalizio
- 11 – Deuxieme annee Italie, S.161 – II. Il Pensieroso
- 12 – Deuxieme annee Italie, S.161 – III. Canzonetta del Salvator Rosa
- 13 – Deuxieme annee Italie, S.161 – IV. Sonetto 47 del Petrarca
- 14 – Deuxieme annee Italie, S.161 – V. Sonetto 104 del Petrarca
- 15 – Deuxieme annee Italie, S.161 – VI. Sonetto 123 del Petrarca
- 16 – Deuxieme annee Italie, S.161 – VII. Apres une lecture de Dante. Fantasia Quasi Sonata
- 17 – Troisieme annee, S.163 – I. Angelus! Prière aux anges gardiens
- 18 – Troisieme annee, S.163 – II. Aux cypres de la Villa d’Este I Threnodie
- 19 – Troisieme annee, S.163 – III. Aux cypres de la Villa d’Este II Threnodie
- 20 – Troisieme annee, S.163 – IV. Les jeux d’eaux a la Villa d’Este
- 21 – Troisieme annee, S.163 – V. Sunt lacrymae rerum, en mode hongrois
- 22 – Troisieme annee, S.163 – VI. Marche funebre, en memoire de Maximilian I, Empereur du Mexique
- 23 – Troisieme annee, S.163 – VII. Sursum corda
Franz Liszt – Années de pèlerinage
Michele Campanella piano
The three sets of Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage take the listener on a journey not only through the geographical regions that inspired the composer, Switzerland and Italy, but on a voyage through his own personal development, becoming increasingly inward-looking and spiritual with each cycle. The first set, Suisse, already displays much of that psychological scope, with works of quintessential Romanticism: poetic, evocative and wide-ranging in their emotional landscape. The second set, Italie, is even more organic and compact in its conception, and in the final set we hear an older composer reflecting on life and death in music characterised by impressionistic colours and profound spiritual depth.
“The gem of this three-disc set is the second Année. Campanella’s straightforward approach to ‘Sposalizio’, Liszt’s evocation of Rafael, strikes just the right balance between devotion and poetry. ‘Il penseroso’ speaks with simple directness, with strong harmonic direction shaping its dark atmosphere… The three Petrarch Sonnets are vividly individual and so rhetorically apt that one can easily imagine them sung.”
Gramophone - Patrick Rucker / February 2021
“Throughout his career, Michele Campanella, the Neapolitan pianist now in his 74th year, has been identified with the music of Liszt. In the early 1970s he recorded a set of Hungarian Rhapsodies (reissued by Philips, 8/93), and the Hungarian Fantasy and Totentanz with the Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra under Aldo Ceccato (5/72). More recently, Campanella has been one of the growing number of pianists to record Liszt on 19th-century instruments. For a 2011 recording of late works, he used an 1860 Bechstein (Brilliant Classics). A programme of the Wagner transcriptions was recorded at the Villa Wahnfried in 2012 on Wagner’s own 1876 Steinway. For his first recording of the Années de pèlerinage, Campanella has chosen an 1892 Steinway from the collection of Roberto Valli.
The gem of this three-disc set is the second Année. Campanella’s straightforward approach to ‘Sposalizio’, Liszt’s evocation of Rafael, strikes just the right balance between devotion and poetry. ‘Il penseroso’ speaks with simple directness, with strong harmonic direction shaping its dark atmosphere. Campanella’s little Salvator Rosa song is less spirited than most, though its relatively relaxed tempo is nonetheless effective. The three Petrarch Sonnets are vividly individual and so rhetorically apt that one can easily imagine them sung. In ‘Pace non trovo’ Campanella eschews melodrama in favour of a spacious metric stability, lending an air of grandeur, and it’s difficult to think of a more touchingly intimate reading of ‘I’ vidi in terra angelici costumi’. The same sure tread Campanella exhibits in the Sonnets serves him well in the greater complexities of the ‘Dante Sonata’. Unrushed and far from histrionic, the performance radiates clarity, abetted by the quicker decay of the 1892 Steinway. If there are moments when one might wish for greater elasticity of phrase or a more passionate forward impetus, in its own Apollonian terms this is a beautifully realised conception. What a pity that Campanella, himself a Neapolitan, chose not to record the supplement to the second Année which Liszt published three years later, Venezia e Napoli.
Unfortunately, Campanella’s Swiss Year is less assured. Following a stolidly stentorian ‘Chapelle de Guillaume Tell’, the placid ‘Au lac de Wallenstadt’ seems oddly moribund, the freshness of its melody and open harmonies collapsing under a lethargic tempo. The gentle rocking rhythm of ‘Pastorale’ is more plausible, though its deliciously quirky contrasting section comes across as anaemic. The metronomic pulse that pervades ‘Au bord d’une source’ leaves the impression of a whirligig rather than a bubbling Alpine spring. Campanella’s judicious pedalling works well with the instrument’s less than booming bass in providing a corrective to the sonic onslaught that is so often ‘Orage’. Strangely, however, shortly before the end of the piece, Campanella expands Liszt’s four-bar rallentando to 14 bars. Did this furious Alpine storm suddenly make a quick rest stop before roaring back and dumping tons of snow over everything in sight? On the other hand, ‘Vallée d’Obermann’, save for a few moments when momentum threatens to stall completely, is noble in concept and execution. Overly cautious tempos, vague articulation and lacklustre sound rob ‘Eglogue’ of its playfulness and ‘Le mal du pays’ of its pathos. Things rally in an atmospheric ‘Les cloches de Genève’, pulling together some if not all of the purposeful loose ends that have preceded it.
If the first Année is ‘about’ nature and the second ‘about’ art, the third Année, published a quarter of a century after its predecessor, could be described as ‘monuments’. Though it presents fewer purely technical challenges than the first two Années, its musical and conceptual challenges are nonetheless formidable. Apart from a seasoned and persuasive ‘Les jeux d’eaux’, the rest of the cycle seems lacking in focus and empathy. Some see Liszt’s late works as defoliation; others argue that they represent a distillation of essences. It’s unclear where Campanella stands. When Lazar Berman’s 1977 Années de pèlerinage appeared (DG, 12/77, 11/93), they created a sensation. It may be Alfred Brendel who has, through performances as well as various audio and video recordings, wielded greatest influence over perceptions of Liszt’s masterpiece. Of the recordings that appeared during the 2011 bicentennial, those of Bertrand Chamayou (Naïve, 3/12) and Louis Lortie (Chandos, 6/11) are standouts. Against these, and despite the fine qualities of his Deuxième année, Campanella faces some heavy headwinds.”
“… lightness and virtuosity… Michele Campanella’s introspective Liszt is a rediscovery and a very beautiful gift to music.”
Classique c’est cool - Hugues Rameau-Crays / November 2020
“We cannot approach the review of this CD like any other release. Michele Campanella is a rare musician and one of the great specialists in the music of Franz Liszt . The three series of Years of Pilgrimage brought together here are the fruit of patiently elaborated work. With modesty and respect for the score, the artist preferred to wait until maturity to sit down in front of the microphones and record his version on a Steinway from 1892, which has miraculously remained intact. This collection of 26 pieces, divided into three notebooks, the composition of which spanned forty years, occupies a special place in Lisztian production. It contains some of the most grandiose pianistic pages like the impressionist before the hour Water games at the Villa d'Este, interpreted here with lightness and virtuosity. It is said that Liszt sought in this inner journey in an emotional landscape to come closer to a stripped spirituality. The musician indeed attains an asceticism which can be impressive or leave the most insensitive to this music unmoved. We have known Sonnets of Petrarch that are certainly more flamboyant, more breathtaking but so much less telling. Released the day after the anniversary of his birth, Michele Campanella's introspective Liszt is a rediscovery and a very beautiful gift to music.”
“… elegance and depth … formidable and exciting … complete, superlatively executed, captured with remarkable care and, no small compliment, fascinating from start to finish.”
Bertrand Ferrier / January 2021
“... elegance and depth … formidable and exciting … complete, superlatively executed, captured with remarkable care and, no small compliment, fascinating from start to finish.”
“Campanella’s inspiration is pictorial and pianistic at the same time, in the sense that he uses the nuances of musical writing and pianistic extremes to extract unusual timbres and dark shadows, like prophecies of arcane resonances projected into the future.”
Suonare News - Angelo Foletto / January 2021
“First of all, we must thank Maestro Campanella. For a number of reasons. For example, for having had the humility to reflect, in silence (it seems impossible for a Lisztian who has been an unblemished and fearless musician for decades, like him, but this is his first recording of the Années), on the nature of this impressive masterpiece in three chapters. Then, even more so, for not having stopped to do so and thus having entered the recording studio with a profound poetic idea, not taken for granted and quite far from what is often (too often) attributed to auteur pianism.
For this reason, the interpreter, as on other occasions - some are enclosed in the pages of “Suono. Pensieri e divagazioni di un musicista fuori dal coro” (Castelvecchi 2019) - in the liner notes indicates “how” to listen to this reading that seems to be an account of a performer. Or rather, of a musician of a force and intelligence who has chosen the Cycle de Pélerinage to express “with rawness, without literary modesty”, without descriptive-impressionistic yielding or virtuoso ostentations, his devotion to Liszt, as an author in whom spirituality has become extreme pianism and creative idealism, always “disconcerting”, and above all, in the third Année, sonorous and compositional spoliation in favour of a purely sonorous and colouristic dimension, but entirely projected within himself.
As a tragic echo, painful at times, of those “images” that are still given as titles to the individual pieces. Campanella’s inspiration is pictorial and pianistic at the same time, in the sense that he uses the nuances of musical writing and pianistic extremes to extract unusual timbres and dark shadows, like prophecies of arcane resonances projected into the future. If the despondency of the third “album” is touching, the Petrarchan succession of the second and the imperious vivacity of contrasting touches and brushstrokes of Dante’s Fantasia Quasi Sonata remain even more impressive.”
“Classical Record of the Day”
France Musique - Emilie Munera & Rodolphe Bruneau-Boulmier / 14 October 2020
“Classical Record of the Day”