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Records International, September 2020

While Bach’s pervasive influence is already evident in some of Busoni’s early compositions including the Preludio e Fuga and Capriccio, it reaches its most complex and glorious expression in the definitive 1921 version of his Fantasia contrappuntistica. In the case of Schumann’s Op. 134 for piano and orchestra, Busoni simply reduced the orchestral part for a second piano. However, his skill as a master transcriber and composer is revealed in his brilliant arrangements of Mozart’s works, which also highlight the subtlety and originality of his style. The Fantasia was recorded in 2000 (which explains Ciccolini’s appearance) while the remainder of the disc comes from 2019. © 2020 Records International

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2020

One of the legendary pianists of the twentieth century, the Italian-born Aldo Ciccolini, here recorded the zenith of music for two pianos, Busoni’s Fantasia.

Bach had been the all pervasive influence, and it brought about the Contrappuntistica, his most complex score in that medium, the two instruments totally intertwining to the point that it is impossible for the listener to differentiate. In one long and lengthy span, it extends past a half hour of concerted bonding between the two performers. Here the seventy-five year old Ciccolini combines with his former student, Aldo Orvieto, with the type of understanding that comes from a long familiarity with the score. The previously unreleased recording took place in Venice in 2000 when Ciccolini was already seventy five, his fingers obviously still very nimble. The remainder, of this generously filled disc, is given to other Busoni works for two pianos, and arrangements of works by Schumann and Mozart. This part of the release was recorded in 2019, Orvieto joined by another Ciccolini pupil, Marco Rapetti, Busoni’s arrangement of the Schumann work simply left the original piano part unchanged, but created the ‘orchestral’ accompaniment in the second piano. There is a difference in the sound quality between the two sections of the disc, but they are both acceptable. For those who remember seeing Ciccolini with much affection, this is a ‘must have’ disc. Others will discover him with pleasure. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, July 2020

This CD combines a recording made in March 2000 of his Fantasia contrappuntisca by first pianist Aldo Orvieto and second pianist Aldo Ciccolini that appears not to have been previously released along with the other pieces, played by Marco Rapetti (piano I) and Orvieto (piano II) recorded in July 2019. The Busoni Preludio e fuga and Capriccio as well as the Schumann-Busoni Introduction & Concert Allegro are first recordings.

…Orvieto and Ciccolini suddenly increase the tempo in the final Stretta, but since I have the highest regard for Ciccolini as a musician I have to believe that this is in the score.

Thus we have here an excellent album of mostly excellent works by Busoni, a worthy entry in that composer’s discography. © 2020 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review

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