Anton Bruckner Complete Piano Music Complete Surprise

May I use the word “revelatory?” It most accurately describes my reaction to this release of Anton Brucker’s piano music.

Bruckner’s reputation (rightly) rests on his symphonies. But those were far in the future of the young student who wrote these piano pieces.

All of the works recorded were composed as student pieces and composition exercises. One of the more interesting aspects of these works, I think, is their brevity.

The longest piece (the Sonata in G minor) barely tops seven minutes. Most are between one and two minutes long. They’re short and to the point.

Still, Bruckner shows his talent even in these oh-so-brief pieces. There are quadrilles, waltzes, and polkas. They’re light, breezy little tunes that encourage your feet to move.

There are more serious works; theme and variations, andantes, and fantasias. These hint at the depth Bruckner would bring to his later work.

Francesco Pasqualotto treats these works as fully realized compositions. He thoughtfully phrases the melodies to give them dramatic shape. And yet he plays mostly with a light touch, befitting the modest ambitions of these student pieces.

My only quibble is with the recorded sound of the piano. Room ambiance was kept to a minimum, and yet the piano has a somewhat boomy sound. A minor flaw for an otherwise interesting and enjoyable release.

Anton Bruckner: Complete Piano Music
Francesco Pasqualotto, piano
Brilliant Classics, 956119

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