Sergej Rachmaninov - Études Tableaux - Edoardo Brotto
Sergej Rachmaninov - Études Tableaux (CVLD364)
Edoardo Brotto, piano
01 – Op.39 No.1 in C minor, Allegro agitato 3’09”
02 – Op.33 No.3 in C minor, Grave 4’46”
03 – Op.33 No.1 in F minor, Allegro ma non troppo 2’54”
04 – Op.33 No.2 in C major, Allegro 2’31”
05 – Op. 39 No.5 in E♭ minor, Appassionato 5’14”
06 – Op.33 No.5 in E♭ minor, Non Allegro – Presto 1’35”
07 – Op.33 No.7 in G minor, Moderato 3’ 41”
08 – Op.33 No.4 in D minor, Moderato 2’54”
09 – Op.39 No.8 in D minor, Allegro Moderato 3’17”
10 – Op.39 No.2 in A minor, Lento Assai 6’45”
11 – Op.39 No.3 in F# minor, Allegro Molto 2’48”
12 – Op.39 No.6 in A minor, Allegro 2’26”
total time: 42’00”
88kHz / 24bit original digital recording made at M° Edoardo Brotto’s studio, Italy, on the 1st and 20th of May 2023.
Analog mix & mastering made at Velut Luna Studio, Valencia, Spain, on the 26th of August 2023.
M° Edoardo Brotto plays his BECHSTEIN D282 CONCERT GRANDPIANO “ALBUS”, tuned and prepared by Edoardo Brotto.
M° Edoardo Brotto chose Sennheiser MKH 8020, Schoeps CMC6 Mk21, Millennia Media HV 3C and Rupert Neve 5211 Portico Designs mic preamplifiers.
The original master was monitored and personally approved by M° Edoardo Brotto.
INTRODUCTION BY EDWARD BROTTO
The Études Tableaux, miniature-masterpiece of extraordinary harmonic beauty, form, writing, synthesis, images that are able to evoke and...of an extraordinary musical and technical difficulty. I don’t want to add anything else, the music is wonderfully descriptive and it is right that the listener creates his own worlds and perceives the paintings that each piece paints.
Although the repertoire is known to fans, this is a particular record and, contrary to the standard, I’ll tell you in person.
I didn’t have the courage to play the Études even when I was a full-time pianist, despite the fact that I had Rachmaninov’s greatest works on hand, including his formidable third concert. I thought instead of studying and recording them when life became much more complex; engineer by day, pianist by night. I don’t want to lie by saying that reconciling the two is easy, it isn’t. Playing at the recording level is already a big challenge in itself, adding a complex everyday work makes it all exceptionally trying. These lines serve as a context to the fundamental concept that I would like to pass on to those who read these words: it is possible to set oneself and achieve objectives that seem impossible in an already more than full life context. And I say that because it’s worth it, whatever you choose. The challenges, won or lost, give us invaluable lessons first of all on our ego, on our limits that will prove to be wrong, and then give us a magnificent wave of new knowledge, wide spectrum. What is needed is a good dose of stainless will, a predisposition to resist fatigue, sometimes suffering, and never be distracted from the primary objective. And another thing I write, never be content to learn, study, challenge, improve. Because satisfaction is the death of desire.
Now, coming to the particularities of this record, let’s start with the fact that the piano used for the recording is my personal: a wonderful Bechstein D282 that I call Albus. A dream of a lifetime, lasting more than twenty years, come true. Albus was delivered to me directly from Berlin this April (2023) and its opening was the recording of this record. The preparation and tuning of the piano for the recording, I personally edited it.
Another peculiar fact is that I recorded this record. By this I mean that the work of sound and balance engineer (microphone positioning, balancing, acoustic treatment and recording) I did personally. I had in mind a shot that was as faithful as possible to the sound of the instrument, extremely detailed and precise, with particular attention paid to obtaining a perfect sound image. The choice inevitably fell on electronics of absolute excellence and the characteristic of a linear frequency response and neutral tone: microphones Sennheiser and Schoeps, omnidirectional and sub-cardiodes for a great presence and crystal clear, preamplifiers Millennia and Rupert Neve that guaranteed the least possible alteration of the native signal, signal cables at the height of the components mentioned.
This too is the result of years of study, experience and mistakes; a dutiful thanks to the precious teachings of my producer Marco Lincetto to whom I then left the finished traces. In the expert hands of Marco I entrusted the delicate mixing and mastering phase, strictly in analog chain, as I like. The result is a recording with a natural sound and great impact that, with a well built system, makes you enter the piano in the house, in all its glory.
Regarding the choice of songs and their order, I had been intuitively imagining this exact sequence for a long time. It is a path of sounds and images that in my head has developed just like that, which I particularly love and therefore, would not need further illustration. Nevertheless, I add that as a person who naturally perceives and imagines abstract worlds, beyond the images that these scenes evoke, their sequence, to explain it in understandable words, reminds me of a beautiful iteration of sinusoidal functions in three spatial dimensions and a temporal one, translatable into a sheet of pure space that moves sinuously, sometimes wrapping you, interspersed with moments of great impetus to others of deep reflection, sometimes dismayed, but in any case intimate. In the face of the complete recording, having extracted these twelve passages in this exact order, did nothing but confirm that intuition had long ago. I recommend a yarn listening to better understand the above.
Rachmaninoff and I.
You could dedicate the whole libretto just to this theme. Simply, to conclude, his music is my soul mate in music. I’ve spent the last 15 years studying and playing his plays. His language is so much part of me that I recorded a whole record (Within & Without - Homage to Rakhmaninov) that collects a series of my original compositions dedicated to the great master. With this instead, I want to pay tribute to him again playing his music, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth.
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