Schumann: Davidsbundlertanze/Humoreske/Blumenstuck (Hyperion)
This eagerly anticipated debut recording by Italian pianist Luca Buratto proves why he quite rightfully took top prize at the 2015 Honens Piano Competition, in addition to garnering third prize at the International Robert Schumann Competition three years prior. Each laureate of the prestigious competition held triennially in Calgary receives a recording contract with Hyperion, with this new release the first of those musical fruits.
The trio of Schumann works includes piano cycle Humoreske in B Flat major, Op. 20 composed in 1839, that Buratto approaches with an innate understanding of its poetic romanticism. He also heightens the dreamy Eusebius and more passionate Florestan contrasts of its seven sections performed attacca, displaying sublime lyrical phrasing and luminous tone throughout.
His elegant sensibility underscored by technical prowess is further showcased during the album’s second cornerstone Davidsbundlertanze, Op. 6, that ranges from its pensive second movement Innig, to more forceful thirteenth, Wild und Lustig. The pianist also brings out the good-natured twelfth, Mit Humor, and sixteenth section, Mit Gutem Humor, that always fit tastefully within the greater whole.
Buratto’s interpretation of the lone single-movement work Blumenstuck in D flat major, Op. 19recalls kinder, gentler times, despite its darker second theme hinting at coming storms for the mentally anguished composer. ★★★★1/2
— Holly Harris