Reviews | RH-010 | 12CD | PIETRO SCARPINI - from Baroque to Contemporary

Favourite Releases of 2019 | 31 December 2019 | Mark Ainley | THE PIANO FILES   « The Rhine Classics label has set a  high standard for their releases of various historical performers, with productions featuring two pianists in particular capturing my attention this past year (originally planned for 2018, these sets in fact came out this past Spring). [...]

The label continues its tribute to the obscure and rather mysterious pianist Pietro Scarpini with a stellar release of 12 CDs of ‘Discovered Tapes’ featuring works ‘from Baroque to Contemporary,’ both solo and with orchestra. Their previous releases of this unique pianist were exemplary as well – the Busoni Concerto is a real favourite – and this set includes a stupendous Prokofiev Second Concerto with the great Mitropoulos in better sound than any previous release, as well as dozens of never-before-released recordings. His solo Prokofiev is equally captivating, as is his Bartok Third Concerto and so much else. His fusion of intellectual and robustness makes for captivating listening. That legendary New York Prokofiev Second Concerto – on Youtube, from a different source tape (not as good as what is available in this set) – gives a taste of the magical pianism in the Scarpini release.»

31 October 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini Edition - from Baroque to Contemporary   «The disconcerting paucity of a commercial discography makes the enterprising Rhine Classics Scarpini Edition, collections of tapes and home recordings of his concerts and radio broadcasts, all the more precious. Two previous volumes focussed on Mozart works (2 CDs) and Busoni & Liszt (6 CDs). [...] This more substantial box titled 'from Baroque to Contemporary' offers a comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work, embracing music that's familiar in addition to generous helpings of mouth-watering rarities. For me, the whole series has been a voyage of discovery [...] In terms of production quality and presentation, Rhine Classics is once again true to form with this superb collection. The audio restorations are remarkable and the whole Scarpini project has been a labour of love. The beautifully produced booklet photographs add further to the appeal of the package. The Pietro Scarpini Edition is a sterling achievement, which gets my wholehearted recommendation for resuscitating the memory of a long-forgotten artist.» 
October 2019 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (pg. 111) | REPLAY More from Scarpini   «Rhine Classics’ second collection devoted to the potently intellectual piano virtuoso Pietro Scarpini (‘the Rubinstein of contemporary music’) crosses with Documents’ Rosbaud set on the repertoire front with compelling performances of Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon (in English this time, with Alvar Lidell) and Pierrot lunaire (with a bittersweet Magda László). Also included is an expressive and alert account of the Piano Concerto under Antonio Pedrotti. Scarpini’s reading of Rachmaninov’s Corelli Variations is the nearest thing I can imagine to a recording by the composer himself (which, as it happens, we don’t have), his style similarly taut and impassioned, the level of concentration awesome. Brahms’s and Prokofiev’s second piano concertos (under Vittorio Gui and Dimitri Mitropoulos respectively) pay particular attention to intelligence, rhetoric and scale, both performances facing the music’s fearsome technical challenges head-on. Six Scriabin Sonatas as well as some Op.11 Preludes and Prometheus (under Piero Bellugi) demonstrate Scarpini’s ability to balance form and content, while his mastery of major Romantic works sheds light on Schubert’s D959 Sonata (more adventurous than austere) and Schumann’s Humoreske. Works by Bach as transcribed by Scarpini and others are also included. The recordings (1950–68) range from acceptable to excellent.» 
18 July 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini Edition - from Baroque to Contemporary   «Previous volumes of live material in the Pietro Scarpini edition were reviewed very favourably here. This volume of 12 CDs also includes his only commercial solo piano recordings. They last little more than half an hour in total, an almost incredibly meagre representation given Scarpini’s outstanding gifts. A look at the programme, which runs alphabetically from Albéniz to Villa-Lobos, might suggest standard fare. But Scarpini (1911-97) excelled in major contemporary works too, so alongside staples such as the Brahms B flat major Concerto and Schubert’s Sonata D959 we find names that resonate and excite, such as Casella, Malipiero, Peragallo, Petrassi, and Sessions. [...] The commercial recordings finish 12th disc and the set. They were of Stravinsky and Bartók and were made in Milan in 1950 for Durium and issued first on 78s and then reissued on both 10” and 12” LPs. The 10” missed off one of the pieces. He plays the Sonata and Piano-Rag-music of Stravinsky with crisp drive, and the Bartók Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm and Sonata with the embryonic command he was soon to show in the Concertos. It’s good to have these examples restored in this way. [...] Whether radio broadcasts, transcriptions, original masters or LPs, the 24bit 96 kHz restorations by Emilio Pessina are as fine as one could wish. This box and its predecessors build up an increasingly irrefutable case for Scarpini’s greatness as an interpreter of a wide swathe of the repertoire.
17 May 2019 | The Piano Files with Mark Ainley (facebook page) | Pietro Scarpini Edition - from Baroque to Contemporary  «What a glorious set you have produced - to have so many hours of incredible pianism so readily available is a dream come true! Bravo for your amazing work!» 
15 May 2019 | Luca Ciammarughi | Radio Classica, podcast TOP-TEN | Pietro Scarpini Edition - from Baroque to Contemporary   «In onda ora con questa pubblicazione rivelatoria [...] una produzione che meriterebbe tutti i premi possibili. / Now on air with this revelatory release [...] a production that deserves all the possible prizes.»