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Eugenio Catone

A rare evening simply listening without score

HOT music correspondent Brian Hick faced a real challenge to relish on this evening of piano music in the eighteenth online concert featuring prizewinners in Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

Eugenio Catone was a prize-winner in the 2012 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition where he played the Shostakovich concerto. The composer has since become a passion of his and he is currently undertaking the Shostakovich Project to perform and hopefully record all of the composer’s works for the piano.

For his on-line recital he chose to bring us Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes Op.34. These were written in 1932/33 after he completed work on his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District and he gave the premiere himself in Moscow. The 24 preludes are written as a linked series, with one for each key signature.

So far so good, but this is a real challenge for a music critic. The works are rarely performed – I doubt if I’ve ever heard them live – and not part of the familiar pianist’s repertoire. I also do not have a score. I was, consequently, meeting these cold for the first time, and such is the writing that it is not clear where one piece ends and the next starts.

There are some very familiar melodic lines here and harmonies which immediately seem obvious as Shostakovich. The technical writing is direct and open, frequently percussive and not without moments of lyricism. Where concerts earlier in the series have leaned towards the popular, it was good to be given a real challenge. I shall need to hear these again!

Listen again

Posted 12:26 Tuesday, Jul 21, 2020 In: Music & Sound

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