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Napoli / Antonio Pompa-Baldi

Release Date: 09/21/2018
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30086
Composer:  Roberto Piana Performer:  Antonio Pompa-Baldi

In all of these Neapolitan songs I found an immense potential and an evocative power that I could use in many different combinations. Intense melodies, rich harmonies, on which I could improvise producing ever different results, ever changing outlooks. Hence the title Improvisations, a word that well describes my modus operandi. - Roberto Piana

R E V I E W:

Napoli is a 2018 release of 20 keyboard arrangements of Neapolitan songs, lavishly embellished by pianist/composer Roberto Piana and recorded for the Steinway & Sons label by Antonio Pompa-Baldi. To be clear, the word "improvisations" mentioned in the album title is misleading, for these are actually fully composed pieces in the style of impromptus
Read more that seem spontaneous because of Piana's use of dazzling runs and arpeggios, which give the music its color, and Pompa-Baldi's effortless virtuosity, which gives the performances their flair. Non-Italian listeners will appreciate such fun tracks as the jaunty Funiculí Funiculá, the combination of Ernesto Curtis' Torna a Surriento with Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata in B minor, K. 27, and the closing track, Napoli, with its winking reference to the universally known Italian song Santa Lucia. A lively spirit of invention comes across in the sparkling settings and the flamboyant playing, which can be sampled in the characteristic 'A Vucchella, and one can easily connect these versions to the passionate vocal tradition of Naples in the age of Enrico Caruso. Steinway & Sons provides clean sound that captures all the details while preserving the piano's warmth.

-- AllMusic Guide

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