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by Daniel Hathaway
Cleveland, OH — July 28, 2011
Mr. Scipione Sangiovanni (23, Italy) was by far the most idiomatic player we’ve heard so far. He began with a stylized performance of Handel’s Suite in d featuring extravagantly decorated repeats, extremely staccato bass lines and rather capricious dynamics changes that sometimes seemed at odds with the structure of the piece. The famous Chaconne was less a continuous set of divisions than a chain of isolated variations (the last ended so abruptly that the audience missed its cue to applaud). But he brought beautiful colors, clear articulations and fine finger dexterity to the task, even if the overall interpretation was a bit off the beaten path. His second piece, Croatian composer Ivo Josipovic’s Jubulus (2010), sounded like a mashup of borrowed musical references and styles with stock piano effects (black note glissandi, chord clusters and sheer noise) interleaved with toccatalike gestures, a triumphant chordal paean and even a passage that suggested balalaikas. Mr. Sangiovanni went at the piece with power, enthusiasm and great seriousness of purpose. He topped off his set with Haydn’s Sonata in E-flat, Hob. XVI:52, a performance distinguished by dark colors, fluent runs and a good sense of the whole range of dynamic possibilities. Some of his playing here was mannered, with oddly calculated phrasing and unmetrical pauses. Read the rest of this entry »