Four Impromptus D. 899 (op. 90)

N. 1 Allegro molto moderato in C Minor

N. 2 Allegro in E-Flat Major

N. 3 Andante mosso in G-Flat Major

N. 4 Allegretto in A-Flat Major

Composed in 1817


Six Moment Musicaux  D. 780 (op. 94)

N. 1  Moderato in C Major

N. 2  Andantino in A-Flat Major

N. 3  Allegro moderato in F Minor

N. 4  Moderato in C-Sharp Minor

N. 5  Allegro vivace in F Minor

N. 6  Allegretto in A-Flat Major

Composed in 1828


Opus Klassiek, June 2020

CD Review – Aart van der Wal

It was not Franz Schubert who invented the impromptu, but the Czech Jan Václav Hugo Vorísek (1791-1825). A contemporary of both Schubert (1797-1828) and Beethoven (1770-1827). And, not coincidentally, Vorisék also died in Vienna: on November 19, 1825. He also belonged to the echelon of composers and musicians attracted by the music metropolis.

Those ‘impromptus’, short piano pieces, were very popular with the Viennese audience. So much so that they quickly became an important genre. Obviously, Schubert’s music publisher did not miss that, so he arbitrarily renamed the ‘Klavierstücke’ offered by Schubert into ‘Impromptus’. Apparently in the expectation that this would positively influence the sales figures. Not so. Schubert was and remained a shadow composer for the Viennese audience and this ‘impromptus’ could not change that either. A fate that was also granted to the ‘Moments Musicaux’.

But not only the naming went under the chopping block: for example, the impromptu in G-Flat Major, the third of D 899, which became much later so famous, was transposed for convenience by the same publisher only a semitone higher, so that the original six flats could be neatly exchanged for only one sharp: the proud f sharp of G Major. Which, anyway, drastically changed the character of the piece. No one, however, was awake. The poor composer may also have agreed: ‘if only it sells’. Later, Brahms would also play an important role in this when he was commissioned to make strict edits to Schubert’s piano works for the leading publishing house Breitkopf & Härtel. He wouldn’t have had the feeling that he was moving on slippery ice back then, because “it could only get better.” Julius Epstein (1832-1926) also did it after Brahms, with of course a different result. Which also applies to  Walter Gieseking (1895-1956), the pianist who still speaks through his many recordings.
It was then still a long way in the direction of something so obvious to us as the “Urtext” editions, stripped of all kinds of interventions by third parties; usually with the best intentions.

However, one important question may be asked: what about the different interpretations from the  skilfully restored image of notes? The freedom that the individual artist allows himself or herself – and this certainly applies to these precious miniatures, true school examples of very successful ‘exercises’ in the small form – to bring this music to life according to his or her views? After all, there is no pianist who does not want to give it his own ‘interpretation’, whereby it is of course left to the listener whether he can associate with it or not. What is ‘responsible’ from a historical perspective often turns out to be a matter of perception in practice, although some would like to make people believe otherwise.

That interpretation remains – fortunately! – still a valuable attribute that can push the musical experience to new heights. This applies primarily to performances that we have come to regard as the top segment, with pianists of the caliber of Arrau, Brendel, Uchida, Lupu, Pires, Schiff, Perianes and Hamelin in the front ranks. And then there is that inimitable Sokolov who repeatedly succeeds on the concert stage to unfold a very idiosyncratic evocative panorama and whose extremely expressive, often even whimsical play seems to be detached from any (supposed) tradition and perhaps precisely because of it knows how to fascinate. Where I immediately point out that a live performance that is recorded for ‘eternity’ always remains that one live performance in which the concept is explored to the utmost limits and of which the result no longer resembles an interpretation thought up to the smallest detail. In the heat of the moment, with the inevitably associated pros and cons.

The “Impromptus” (D 899), the “Moments Musicaux” (D 780): oh well, it is just a naming that is completely in the shadow of what is without a doubt Great Music – yes, with capital letters!. Music that constantly captivates and whose chosen form perfectly matches some drama and lyricism and of which every note can make it without any further finery thanks to its faceted properties. Incidentally, not every pianist has understood this correctly, stuck with the misunderstanding that a consciously chosen own interpretation profile would need that finery. It can be demonstrated, the large mutual differences in interpretation shows it, that there is sufficient maneuvering within that inexorable given context without falling into fiddling.

Having said that, there is no question of a tradition determined by the same discographic history to which every newcomer should conform. Or in other words: the spell can strike again and again. As Ingrid Carbone proves with her new album, which was not without reason given the title ‘L’Enchantement retrouvé’: in this case the spell that could (had to?) be rediscovered in her eyes and which she managed to redeem with heart and soul.  Her composition studies may have helped her in what is ultimately one of the most beautiful aspects of her interpretation: rediscovering the notes and then giving it interpretative direction and staying away from what I theoretically call dry swimming and that ultimately brings nothing; and certainly not for the listener. This music should sound as fresh as dew and as clear as glass, with the accents set where, given the musician’s individual perception, they are the most eloquent. Accelerandi and rubati thus do not become a goal in themselves, but take shape with a suppleness that – it should be interpreted as paradox – is embedded in form. This has nothing to do with ostentation, showing, but with devotion, enthusiasm, intimacy and poetic metamorphosis. It provides a convincing exposé of what will always remain a fascinating landscape in my ears.

The sonority of the exquisitely voiced and tuned Bechstein grand piano (the model D comes from the Angelo Fabbrini collection) and the detailed recording prove to be the ideal carriers for this richly varied, magnificent game by this acclaimed prize winner (you will find the necessary on the Web).

Corrierebit, June 14, 2020

An excellent Schubert for Ingrid Carbone – Cesare Guzzardella

Ingrid Carbone interprets “the harmonies” of Franz Liszt

In her “other” life Ingrid Carbone is a mathematician and teaches Analysis at the University of Calabria; in her artistic curriculum, however, there are well exhibited a diploma with full marks in piano at the age of 19, international competitions and masterclasses with pianists of the caliber of Lazar Berman. And it is with a program entirely dedicated to the music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886) – which she considered “the arrival point of a pianist: a goal from a technical and interpretative point of view” – that the Calabrian artist celebrates her recording beginnings; the album entitled Les harmonies de I’esprit ctually combines some famous pages of the Hungarian composer with lesser known works of great value. It starts with the most virtuosic piece of the album, the famous Fantasia, quasi Sonata Après une lecture du Dante, the last piece of the second volume of the Années de Pèlerinage; it is “visual” music, which intends to transport the imaginary world of the Divine Comedy to the pentagram through a sort of musical fresco that Carbone paints at the tip of a brush between continuous expressive chiaroscuro, diluting the agogics in times perhaps a little too much restrained. Embedded in the diadem of the six Consolations is the Third one, which represents one of the greatest poetic and intimistic peaks of Liszt, and which is coupled with the following Liebestraum n. 3, the famous “love dream”, initially conceived as a vocal lied but then left speechless and with the only seal of a sublime music. Finally, the record closes with a page that is rarely heard, Légende n. 2: St. François de Paule “marchant sur les flots”, in which the miracle performed by the holy hermit Francesco da Paola is described, when he crossed the Strait of Messina walking on the waters after having spread his cloak; among fine motions of notes, resounding sounds and intense chord progressions, the worthy crowning of those “harmonies of the spirit” that entitle the disc.

MusicVoice, March 17, 2020

I segmenti incantatori di Schubert – Andrea Bedetti

Artistic judgment: 4,5/5

Gothic Network, June 25, 2020

Da Vinci Classics. Schubert’s charm with Ingrid Carbone – Piero Barbareschi

Klassiek Centraal, May 29, 2020

★★★ Global Music Award for Schubert by Ingrid Carbone who also supplies Liszt 

Ludwig van Mechelen

The pianist Ingrid Carbone dedicates her recording debut to the sacred music of Liszt

In the life of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), mystical crises alternated with moments in which he followed behavior far from religious values, to which he seemed yearned for as a teenager. This at least until 1865, when he received tonsure and minor orders in the Vatican, also appropriating the title of abbot and focused his production mainly on the sacred repertoire.In previous years, however, he had provided noteworthy musical contributions and, in the context of this repertoire, moved Ingrid Carbone (born in Cosenza), an eclectic figure of pianist and university professor of mathematics, for her debut CD entitled “Les harmonies de l’esprit ”, recently published by Da Vinci Classics.

The disc opens with “Après une lecture du Dante” (Fantasia quasi sonata), which dates back to 1849.It is the longest and most elaborate piece belonging to the second volume of “Les Années de Pèlerinage”, the first of two dedicated to Italy, and refers to the Divina Commedia, describing the different moods of the souls of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise (with a clear predilection of the author for the “infernal” passages).

The second piece, Consolations, six pensées poétiques (1849-1850), is also closely related to literature as it refers to a homonymous collection of poems by the French writer Charles Sainte-Beuve (pseudonym of Joseph Delorme), published in 1830, but there are also those who wanted to see as reference the lyric Une larme, ou Consolation by Alphonse de Lamartine, from the collection Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (used by Liszt in 1847 for a piano cycle with the same title).

We then move on to the famous “Love dream” in B flat major, placed at the end of Liebesträume S. 541, a triptych dated 1850, initially conceived as a brief collection of lieder, using the texts of Ludwig Uhland and Ferdinand Freiligrath, two Germans writers coeval of Liszt. In particular, the translation of the title of this third composition brings with it a great misunderstanding because the “dream” is not the one between two lovers, but consists in the memory of a loved one who no longer exists.

Closure with St. Françoise de Paule marchant sur les flots in E major, second of the Deux Légendes S. 175 (both written in 1863, with the first focusing on the preaching of St. Francis to the birds, in a style that anticipates Messiaen).The piece describes the miracle performed by the saint when he crossed the Strait of Messina by walking on the water, after the boatmen had refused to take him to the opposite shore because he did not have the money to pay for the transfer. Dedicated to his daughter Cosima, he was inspired by a painting by Eduard Jakob von Steinle (an artist belonging to the group of German romantic painters called “Nazarenes”, for their ascetic life and for the long hair that distinguished them), donated to Liszt by princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.

As for the interpretative side, Ingrid Carbone deals with the different compositions with the precise intention of not exceeding in that virtuosity which, although undoubtedly one of the main peculiarities of the Lisztian production, often ends up blurring the rest, and aims at a whole series of shades, present but often ignored, also the result of in-depth preliminary studies. Moreover, it is no coincidence that the various passages are proposed in chronological order, to witness the evolution of Lisztian thought.

A real shame, therefore, that a recording that is not up to par, in part nullifies the interesting concepts underlying the work of Carbone, since the sonorities of the Bechstein model A-228 piano appear extremely redundant, to the point that only listening at a rather low volume provides, albeit incomplete, an idea of ​​the executive approach.
Lastly, we recall the brief but comprehensive accompanying booklet, edited by the pianist Chiara Bertoglio, another eclectic figure, as it ranges from music to theology, and therefore very suitable for drawing up introductory notes on passages that involve the religious sphere. In conclusion a disc that, beyond the technical problems, brings out a good and well-prepared musician, to whom we hope to continue in the best way a career already full of satisfactions.

Critica Classica, June 7, 2020

“L’Enchantement Retrouvé” sophisticated rendezvous of Ingrid Carbone with Franz Schubert – Marco del Vaglio

Opera Teatro, May 12, 2020

In disco: Ingrid Carbone interprets Schubert, Davide Cornacchione



Interview: Radio Classica - "In Cuffia" by Luca Zaramella, March 5, 2020

Interview: Rete Toscana Classica, "Cronache Musicali" by Luca Berni, April 8, 2020