Vivanet Plays Szymanowski on Naxos

SZYMANOWSKI, K.: Piano Works

Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937): 9 Preludes, Op. 1 (excerpts); 4 Studies, Op. 4; 12 Studies, Op. 33; Maski [Masks], Op. 34
Andrea Vivanet, piano
Naxos 8.551401 (August 2019)

From the CD liner notes written by Norbert Florian Schuck:

The relevance of the piano in Karol Szymanowski’s work may hardly be underestimated. During his whole career the composer took the instrument into high consideration. As a result of that, piano music—starting from 1900 with the Nine Préludes Op.1 and ending in 1934 with the Two Mazurkas Op.62—runs like a red thread throughout his worklist. Though only twelve of his numbered works are meant for solo piano, we must take into account more than 100 songs with piano accompaniment, several chamber works for violin and piano, the Mythes Op.32 being the most popular, and the Symphony No.4 Op.60 known as the Symphonie concertante for piano and orchestra.

Critical Acclaim

Myron Silberstein wrote the following review of the album in Fanfare in March 2020 (excerpt—read the full review at www.fanfarearchive.com):

These facets of Vivanet’s playing shine throughout his performance of a varied program of works by Szymanowski. The sound Vivanet gets from the piano is ideal: ingratiatingly warm, singing, and expressive at all dynamics. And the engineering strikes me as a faithful representation of a live experience of Vivanet’s playing; there is plenty of room ambience and no damper sounds or other symptoms of overly close microphone placement.

The Artist Speaks

Born in Cagliari, Italy, Andrea Vivanet began to play the piano at the age of 8 and continued his studies at the Conservatorio di Musica Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina in Cagliari. By the age of 13, he performed Mozart’s piano concerto K. 414 and won the 1st prize at the Giovanni Battista Pergolesi Piano Competition. He continued his studies under the guidance of Christa Bützberger and Marina Rossi at the Conservatorio di Musica Girolamo Frescobaldi in Ferrara where he graduated with honors after attending the Triennial Masterclass Ars et Labor in piano and chamber music. Afterwords he studied in Hungary with professors Balázs Szokolay and István Lantos at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest where he obtained the Master Degree with honors in piano performance. There he also attended the classes of Miklós Perényi, András Keller, Gábor Csalog, Géza Hargitai, Ferenc Rados and took part in masterclasses held by Franco Rossi, Mikhail Voskresenky and Paul Badura Skoda. In October 2014 he was awarded the 3rd prize at the Osaka International Music Competition. In 2016 he released his first album with works by Ravel and Tchaikovsky, which was then broadcast by Danish Radio (Denmark), Radio Classic (Kazakhstan), and Radio Orfey (Russia). A second album followed with works by Bartók and Mussorgsky.

Vivanet shared the following with the Polish Music Center, regarding his experience of preparing the repertoire for this album release:

Szymanowski’s music has had a strong influence on my musical journey. The piano writing is extremely rich, and in its complexity it never aims at a purely external or acrobatic virtuosity, and a profound poetic dimension is always present even where the writing is particularly demanding from a technical point of view. The technical aspect is also very fascinating, as it is particularly rich and refined but at the same time always physiologically convenient [for the pianist]. This recent recording has encouraged me to learn new piano works by the great composer in the future.

[Sources: press release, naxos.com]