Alfonso Soldano: Metamorphoses

Soldano is professor of piano performance at the Giordano Conservatory in Foggia, Italy. He was awarded the International Gold Medal for best Italian artist in 2013 and has performed and given masterclasses all around Italy, and in Germany, Switzerland and Romania. So he’s good.

This new album sees him transcribe 15 of Rachmaninov’s romantic songs for solo piano and four works by Debussy. (We’re not sure what he has done, as they were written as piano pieces to begin: transcribed them adding his own twists we assume, or so they run as a programme, or maybe amend so they work without words).

Whatever; it’s basically a Now That What’s I Call Romantic Piano Music Vol 1. The song titles are romantic and flowery, from Your Beauty Is That Of A Flower to Night Is Sorrowful and the overall sound is a rather bubbly sort of background piano music, with nothing too dramatic. Sig S is obviously a world-class player, and his piano expressive and vibrant, but it is essentially classy background music.

On the other hand, earlier this year we revied Benedetto Boccuzzi’s À Claude, pieces from or based on Debussy, which was a little challenging in places, despite being just piano, bringing out the impressionistic nature of Debussy. This album might be easier on the ear but it’s probably also the one we will play more.

In the sleeve notes (translated from the Italian and perhaps losing some of Soldano’s meaning – either that or he’s just a little verbose) we think he wants to intrigue listeners enough to go back to the original music and words. Or maybe not, and just reading too much into it: it’s just a nice collection of romantic piano music played really well that he wants you to enjoy.

This is out on Divine Art, dda 25215

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