Italy tends not to be considered as a cradle of pianism in the same way as are Russia, Austria or, more recently, China. Since 1945 only a small number of Italian pianists have reached top international standards - they include Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and his pupil Maurizio Pollini, or Maria Tipo and her pupil Andrea Lucchesini who was born in 1965 in Tuscany and caused a sensation at an early age. Even then, he mastered the great repertoire. But because, for Lucchesini, music knows no limits, he has always promoted the revolutionaries around Arnold Schoenberg as well as his compatriot Luciano Berio. And studying musical modernism has, naturally, informed Lucchesini's approach to his favourite composers of the past, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert.
audite have now managed to win over the Florentine master pianist for a three-part recording series dedicated to his impressive interpretations of late Schubert works. The series opens with two sonatas that are closely linked to one another, alongside the atmospheric Allegretto in C minor, D. 915 of 1827. The Sonata in A minor, D. 537, written when Schubert was twenty years old, features a dance-like melody to which he would return eleven years later when he worked on his mature Sonata in A major, D. 959. The reworking of the theme highlights the distance between Schubert's middle and late creative periods. What is initially a rousing, though slightly traditional tune, later appears embedded in a richer harmonic framework, but also in a more virtuosic form, at times almost transfigured.
It is this compositional and emotional range in Schubert's music that is especially fascinating to Andrea Lucchesini. "One recognises the difference between the artist who entertained his friends at social gatherings, and the composer working in solitude - without any prospect of publishing or performing his works, completely confined to his internal world where he felt many precipices. One has to take a plunge into his emotional labyrinth, not only to become intoxicated with his fabulous themes, but also to recognise their infinite variations that take one's breath away. This is how the work of a performer became a complete immersion for me."