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ensembles and
compilations of performances
featuring various artists:

An Evening of Chamber Music:
Gruppman, Gruppman, Itin

The Guarneri String Quartet
Plays Beethoven

Here to Make Music
- 8th Van Cliburn Competition

In Celebration of the Piano
Hosted By Van Cliburn,
at Carnegie Hall.

Great Pianists -
of the Bell Telephone Hour

Great Violinists -
of the Bell Telephone Hour

Producers' Showcase:
Festival of Music, Vol 1 & 2

Istomin, Stern, Rose Trio
Beethoven & Brahms

Miami Int'l Piano Festival
Masters of the Keyboard, Vol. 1
Masters of the Keyboard, Vol. 2

Piano Trios
Gruppmann, Kosower,
Itin, Neiman

by artist last name:

Argerich, Martha
Martha Argerich

, Claudio
Plays Mozart & Beethoven

Cheung, Rachel
Keyboard Prodigy

, Aldo
Aldo Ciccolini
Homage to Debussy
Saint-Saëns & Ravel Concertos

Cliburn, Van
Van Cliburn - A Portrait
Live in Moscow, Vol 1-5

Dacic, Mischa
In Recital

De Larrocha
, Alicia
Glory of Spain

Eckardstein von, Severin
In Recital, 2007
Live in Recital, 2009

Ferras, Christian
In Recital

Firkusny, Rudolf
Dvorak Concertos
with Suk: In Recital

In Recital

Fournier, Pierre
The Art of

Freire, Nelson
In Concert

Galway, Sir James
Vivaldi: Concerti for Flute

Gavrylyuk, Alexander
Live in Recital
In Recital, May 8, 2007

Live in Recital

, Emil
The Art of
Live in Moscow, Vol 1-5
In Concert

Haendel, Ida
The Art of Ida Haendel
In Recital
with Misha Dacic in Recital

Itin, Ilya
In Recital

, José
The Art of

Jia, Ran
Live in Recital

Kempff, Wilhelm
Plays Beethoven

Kraus, Lili
In Recital

, Wanda
Uncommon Visionary

Libetta, Francesco
Libetta in Lecce
Live at Roque d'Antheron

Lifschitz, Konstantin
Well-Tempered Clavier
with Eugene Ugorski

Michelangeli, Arturo
Two Titans
Plays Beethoven

, Nathan
With the CSO

Dvorak Concertos

Neiman, Adam
Piano Works of Chopin

, Zara
Grand Dame of the Cello

with Sviatoslav Richter

David Oistrakh, Vol 1
Shostakovich 2nd Violin Cto

in Recital

In Concert
In Recital

Prats, Jorge Luis
In Recital

, Jean-Pierre
CBC telecasts

Richter, Sviatoslav
Two Titans
With David Oistrakh

Dvorak Concertos

, Aaron
Live at Mills College
Celebrating a Life of Music

Plays Chopin: Live in Recital

Plays Beethoven: Live in Concert
Plays Schumann, Live in Recital
Plays Liszt, Live in Recital
Plays Schubert, Live in Concert

, Arthur
Plays Chopin, & Rachmaninoff

Rzewski, Frederic
Plays Rzewski

Slenczynska, Ruth
Tribute to Rachmaninoff

, Andres
Glory of Spain

Stern, Isaac
The Art of

Suk, Josef
with Firkušný: In Recital

, Henryk
The Art of

Szigeti, Joseph
Plays Tartini, Prokofiev
& Beethoven

Tortelier, Paul
Complete Cello Suites

, Rosalyn
Goldberg Variations
The Art of
On Television

Wild, Earl
Wild About Liszt


Libetta in Lecce, on CD

Libetta in Lecce
VAI, DVD 4225, $24.95

Francesco Libetta, piano
Live Recital, March 22, 2002,
Paisiello Theatre
Lecce, Italy

Part 1

1. Opening Credits

2. Commentary -
Giuseppe Pastore, musicologist

Beethoven (17701827):
Sonata No. 18 in E-flat,
Op. 31, No. 3

3. I Allegro
4. II Scherzo Allegretto vivace
5. III Menuetto Moderato e grazioso
6. IV Presto con fuoco

7. Commentary -
Fredy Franzutti, choreographer

8. Delibes (18361891):

9. Chaminade (1857-1944):
Les Sylvains

10. Schubert (1797-1828):
Ballet Music from Rosamunde (transcription by Godowsky)

1 Ravel (18751937):
La Valse
(transcription by the composer)

12. Commentary -
Pasquale Romano, count

Part 2

13. Chopin (1810-1849):
Souvenir de Paganini

14. Chopin: Tarantelle

15. Chopin: Mazurka in A minor (1841)

16. Commentary -
Elvira Romano, teacher

17. Commentary -
Anna Palmieri, bookseller

Brahms (1833-1897):
Variations on a Theme by
Paganini in A minor, Op. 35

18. Book I
19. Book II


20. Debussy (1862-1918):
Claire de lune

21. Saint-Saëns (1835-1921):
Le Cygne (The Swan)
(transcription by Godowsky)

22. Chopin:
Polonaise in A-flat, Op. 53

23. Closing Credits

Of all virtuosi of the present day, Francesco Libetta is the most natural, and yet the most theatrical: conscious, always, of the degree to which every successful musician interprets a role—or even, in the course of a concert, several roles. Libetta is as subtle as Vladimir de Pachmann (whom he admires, and to whom, in performances of the so-called "Minute" and C-sharp minor waltzes of Chopin, he has paid homage); as technically adroit as Moriz Rosenthal; now audacious (his harmonic explorations of Mozart's concerto K. 467, in the third movement of which he once did a glissando); now earthy (Edouard Risler's transcription of Richard Strauss's Til Eulenspiegel, which he plays much as Clemens Kraus conducted it); now bardic. One thing he is not, however, is decadent. For example, if he is master of the world of Godowsky—a world of the most rarefied, almost hothouse type—it is precisely because he is not of it. In essence, Libetta is a plein-air pianist, which may be why he is one of the few musicians before the public today who has chosen not to make his home in a great capital, but rather among the rock and pine and sea and baroque of his native Lecce.

This recording documents the pianist's one-hundredth recital. (His performances of the thirty-two Beethoven sonatas and his private concerts belong to a separate account.) The program is vintage Libetta—a sophisticated assembly of works that, one way or another, dance: Beethoven's sonata opus 31, number 3 (the second movement anticipates Delibes, the finale is a tarantella); a passepied of Delibes; Chaminade's Les Sylvains; the Schubert/Godowsky Rosamunde ballet music; Ravel's La Valse; Chopin's Souvenir de Paganini, Tarantelle, and the mazurka dedicated "à son ami Emile Gaillard"; and both books of Brahms's Paganini variations (based on the caprice that also inspired Liszt, Lutoslawski, and Rachmaninov, among others). What is most compelling about this program is the way in which Important Music (for instance, Beethoven) illumines and is illumined by music that is not usually thought to be Important (for instance, Delibes).

Beethoven's sonata opus 31, no. 3, like its companions nos. 1 and 2, was written in 1802; a pivotal year in the composer's life. The year before, according to Carl Czerny, Beethoven had pronounced himself "only a little satisfied" with his works through opus 28 (the "Pastorale" sonata) and determined to set off on a "new path." Maynard Solomon nonetheless has rightly asked whether the opus 31 sonatas "opened an era or closed one." For instance, no. 3 has a scherzo and a minuet, but no "slow" movement—interesting, though hardly revolutionary. (It was not until after he had gone through the crisis he articulated in the "Heiligenstadt Testament," in October 1802, that Beethoven was really able to begin following a "new path.") This sonata has nonetheless been a favorite of virtuosi from Josef Hofmann to Artur Rubinstein, who played it in his last public recital (Wigmore Hall, London, 31 May 1976). Saint-Saëns, another committed Beethoven player, wrote a set of variations on the theme of the trio in the work's third movement.

The next four works on the program declare Libetta's passion for the dance. The passepied of Delibes is one of the airs and dances he composed for Victor Hugo's stage play Le Roi s'amuse (the basis of Verdi's opera Rigoletto), while Chaminade's Les Sylvains fits into the French pastoral tradition exemplified by grander works such as Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun and Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe. Schubert composed his incidental music to Rosamunde: Princess of Cypress, a play by Helmina von Chézy, in 1823, and made use of some of the same material in both the string quartet opus 29 and the impromptu opus 142, no. 3. Godowsky, one of whose most astonishing responses to the work of another composer was a passacaglia on a theme from Schubert's "Unfinished" symphony, confected the ballet music from Rosamunde with so much tactful luxury that we can understand why Vladimir Pachmann idolized him.

Mark Mitchell

Mr. Mitchell is the author of Vladimir de Pachmann: A Piano Virtuoso's Life and Art and Virtuosi: A Defense and (Sometimes Erotic) Celebration of Great Pianists, both published by Indiana University Press.

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