Born and raised in Foggia, Italy, Antonio Pompa-Baldi won the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 1999 and embarked on a career that continues to extend across five continents. A top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition of Paris, France, Antonio Pompa- Baldi also won a silver medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Mr. Pompa-Baldi appears regularly at the world’s major concert venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Milan’s Sala Verdi, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and Paris’ Salle Pleyel, to name a few.
On this, his first disc for the TwoPianists label, Antonio Pompa-Baldi brings together an exhilarating collage of works connected by the formidable Franz Liszt. First on the menu are the etudes of Sergei Lyapunov, also named Douze études d’exécution transcendante, Op. 11. Lyapunov’s intention was to ‘complete’ Liszt’s etudes, by writing pieces in the major and minor keys that Liszt never visited. The final piece of Lyapunov’s set—the etude recorded here—carries the title ‘Élégie en memoire de Franz Liszt’. It is a natural progression for the Lyapunov to be followed by the etudes of Frederic Chopin for, like Liszt, Chopin composed etudes for personal use as well as publication. And, again like Liszt, these etudes were not simply technical exercises, but instead surpassed their pedagogical origins by being presentable as concert pieces. Chopin’s Op.10 set, featured here, was dedicated to Franz Liszt. Next are two pieces by Franz Liszt himself: the Ballade no.2 and Ernani: Paraphrase de Concert. The latter work represents a marriage between showmanship and compositional craft, and as a result stands head and shoulders above the ‘Carnival of Venice’-style showpieces of the time. The final piece on this program is one that Paraphrase de concert, the selected themes will be a delight to the seasoned admirerof Liszt’s music: Après une Lecture de Liszt, by the Sardinian-born composer Roberto Piana (b. 1971). In Après une Lecture de Liszt, Piana pays tribute to the immense influence of Franz Liszt on the modern pianist, by means of extensive quotation from some of the composer’s most important piano works. This work was dedicated to Antonio Pompa-Baldi and receives here its debut recording.
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