ROBERTO ESPOSITO (b.1984): Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 8 “Fantastico”, Piano Sonata No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 10, Indigo Mirage for Piano, Celesta, Electronics and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 06T071
Label: Grand Piano
Description: These are very attractive works, though they may not be exactly what you first thought of when you read the titles. Both concerto and sonata, 25-minute three-movement of full-blown Romantic robustness and vigor, conform to the classical-romantic form, even down to sonata-form opening movements. Both provide no shortage of pianistic virtuosity. But within this framework, the composer freely exercises his love of jazz and folk idioms of southern Italy. So the music, sometimes disconcertingly, presents itself as an accomplished Romantic virtuoso vehicle, then segues into jazz harmonies and figuration, then back again. The slow movement of the Sonata is a popular ballad with the kind of embellishments that a good jazz pianist would weave around a 'standard', but the last movement is a rather Bartókian rhythmic toccata, with only traces of jazz (that of the concerto is like Kabalevsky with a hint of Kapustin). The concerto begins with a neo-romantic introduction and exposition, but little by little the harmonies and piano figuration start to take on a jazzy tinge, and the music continues in this vein, sounding more improvisatory throughout the development and cadenza, then recapitulating in romantic grandeur. The dialogue between the composer's two musical personalities makes for compelling and unexpected listening, and the works are most enjoyable. Roberto Esposito (piano), Budapest Scoring Symphonic Orchestra; Eliseo Castrignano.