Reviews | RH-017 | 4CD | PIETRO SCARPINI - Bach

16 January 2021 | Mark Ainley | The Piano Files | Favourite Releases of 2020   «Rhine Classics delivers two more releases in their Fiorentino and Scarpini series, one new set of each artist. [...] Pietro Scarpini is featured in a 6-CD set of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and Die Kunst de Fuge, salvaged from tapes of both radio broadcasts and home sessions recorded for the pianist’s own documentation. The playing is less consistent than we hear in previous releases of Scarpini’s broadcast performances on this label (some ear- and eye-opening performances that I adore), and he can go from rather mundane phrasing to utterly sublime nuancing from one second to the next. He tends to eschew the pedal and employs some expansive ritardandi that are definitely arresting and insightful, and his overall approach reminds me of Alexander Borowsky’s account: earthy, almost rustic in its directness (he doesn’t emphasize burnished tonal colours), with a less-than-ideal instrument that almost sounds historical – a fascinating take that will be of particular interest to Scarpini fans and those exploring unconventional takes of these magnum opera. »
04 December 2020 | Stephen Greenbank | Music Web International | Pietro Scarpini plays Bach «In The Well-Tempered Clavier, we find a piece to suit "every mood and every occasion". Scarpini’s are deeply thought out interpretations, and he digs deep into the fathomless riches on offer. He’s never self-conscious or contrived. Shunning waywardness and extremes, personal mannerisms have no place in these clean cut readings. The intellectual and technical challenges are firmly within his grasp. [...] The recording of The Art of Fugue has a warm, intimate aura about it. [...] Scarpini’s gifts lie in his ability to make every line speak. It’s not all seriousness either. There is serious formality, but he’s able to infuse humour and high spirits where warranted. The more complex contrapuntal thickets are rescued from congestion by his teasing away the inner contrapuntal lines to reveal the jewels that lie therein, at the same time attaining potent cumulative power. I love the balance he strikes between the voices, never allowing one to dominate. His exquisite touch and sensitive use of pedal, where appropriate, facilitates the achievement of some luminous sonorities. This is certainly a performance that plumbs the depths of this elusive masterpiece. [...] Restorations and remasterings are in 24bit 96kHz sound, and Emilio Pessina has done a sterling job. In the ’from Baroque to Contemporary’ box I reviewed, I recall being beguiled by the Scarpini’s Bach, in transcriptions by the pianist himself and Ferruccio Busoni, and commented on the freshness and vitality of the playing, remarking that they sounded ‘fresh off the press’. I’m now firmly convinced that Pietro Scarpini a Bach player to be reckoned with.»
 NMZ BEST OF 2020 | nmz "Neue Musikzeitung" | December 2020 - January 2021 | nmz 12/20 - 1/21 (page 14) | Christoph Schlüren | COURAGEOUS ENTERPRISES «[...] Also worth mentioning is the daring venture of Italian sound engineer and "Violin Pope" Emilio Pessina, who publishes anthologies under the Rhine Classics label in Taiwan. There are quite new and complete treasures played by Gabriella Lengyel, Hubay's last pupil, mostly with her brother, the excellent pianist Atty Lengyel, in wonderful Schubert and Mendelssohn, and especially Hungarian masters like Harsanyi, Veress or Arma; almost exclusively live recordings by Jean Ter-Merguerian, who was, in the eyes of colleagues like Rostropovich, Szeryng, Francescatti and Ferras, one of the greatest violinists of all time (there is no finer, nobler sound !), superb in Beethoven, Brahms and Katchaturian; late American concerts recordings (1996-1998) by the Italian master pianist Sergio Fiorentino including lovely chamber music such as Franck's Quintet or Beethoven's Quintet for Piano and Winds; and recordings of the complete Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" and "The Art of Fugue" in crystal clear clarity made by the legendary Pietro Scarpini, made in his home studio (all available from Rhine Classics, and surprisingly inexpensive, directly from their website).»