JWR Articles: CD - Bottiroli: Complete Piano Works - 2: Nocturnes (Featured artists: José Antonio Bottiroli, Fabio Banegas, George Takei) - July 17, 2021

Bottiroli: Complete Piano Works - 2: Nocturnes

4 4
73 min.

Argentinian composer deserves a wider audience

Until this Grand Piano CD found its way into my 100+ review lineup, the music of Argentinian José Antonio Bottiroli was completely unknown to me. Thanks to his championing by gifted pianist Fabio Banegas, the world can come to its own conclusions about the output of this late-inning romanticist.

Three Sorrows from 1984 (so appropriately linked to George Orwell’s masterpiece).

The first—thoughtful unhurried, curiously unsettled—offers hesitato sorrow before a fond adieu.

Next, fuelled by a bit of push-and-pull phrasing, searching for “What’s the goal of life?”, comes readily to mind.

The closer deftly features “soldiering on”, welcome triplets with a few morsels of Gershwin and Debussy. Banegas delicately balances it all.

Six Album Pages (1976/77) 

  1. Introspective, delicate; a touch jazzy; Banegas understands there is no rush.
  2. Beautifully voiced, searching furtive opening; welcome movement from “Vivo”’ even as the top seems a tad brittle.
  3. Much darker soliloquy with some moments of hope, gradually finding their way.
  4. Deeply personal, feels like a homage to…? The “Animato”—however brief—is an ideal tonic to the moodiness.
  5. Much more melancholic; Banegas leads well with the bassline; this “Animato” provides a breath of fresh air, then full-bore drama.
  6. Launches as busier than most, before reverting to an overriding quietude with specks of “flair”; “Poco più builds most effectively; a rare staccato ushers the ear into the major mode and a welcome feeling of hope.

Four Pieces from 1974 

Just as the Nepean Symphony Orchestra began its 17-year life, these four works also came into being, feeling like a shared experience and adventure.

  1. Delicatissimo, somewhat brooding. Banegas keeps everything moving steadily forward. The Allegretto a welcome contrast indeed.
  2. Eros, marvellously sensual, hear it with a loved one! Especially the wistful, loving triplets.
  3. Memento has immediate links to Christopher Nolan’s film (cross-reference below); also a study of contrasts.
  4. The concluding “Forgotten Doll” overflows with melancholy and personal feelings that—sooner or later—have touched us all.

Two Nocturnes (1978/84) 

  1. Appropriately dreamy, quietly shared thoughts (admissions?).
  2. Liquid lines, barely asking the question; who will answer? Followed by moments of rhapsody/fun then, inevitably, back to pervasive quietude.

Five Piano Replies (1974/80) 

This varied disc’s closer is, arguably, the weakest composition of the lot. The wonderfully dulcet tones of George Takei are “replied to” by composer-poet Bottiroli and interpreted-translated (literally) by Banegas.

Certainly, studies in contrasts and moods (all manner of “dyings” in “Autumn” being my personal highlight), the planned separation from voice to music, feels more like talking to oneself than declaiming inner, mysterious thoughts and revelations. JWR

Your comments are always welcome at JWR.

Click here to have your say (please mention the headline for the article):Feedback to JWR.

Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Naxos Records
Cross-reference(s): Please click on the image link(s) below
for related work: