Reviews

International Piano Magazin

In a world overflowing with Debussy piano discs, Alessandra Amara proves there is room for more. This is an impeccably produced recording, with expert booklet notes by Ammara’s husband and duo partner Roberto Prosseda. The first book of Images is beautifully drawn. Ammara’s variety of touch is limitless, and her excellently prepared Fazioli supports her journeys of the imagination. It’s clear that great thought has gone into the vexed subject of pedalling: Prosseda’s description of Debussy’s counterpoint as ‘polytimbric’ seems particularly apposite here. Ammara has all the technique required for the Préludes; her greatest strength, though, is in the individual characterisation of each. Very few fall short of the mark, though perhaps ‘Cathédrale’ loses its sense of grandeur and expanse. Finally, and best of all, is the Fauré-influenced Nocturne. Like the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, this is late-Romantic but still identifiably Debussy. Ammara lavishes great affection on a piece in which she evidently fully believes. Recommended.

Repubblica

I " Preludi" di Debussy diventano un organismo vivente sotto le dita di Alessandra Ammara che li ha registrati per l'etichetta Piano Classics. Il cd non racchiude soltanto il primo dei due libri di "Preludi" (ci stanno anche il primo trittico di

"Images" e il " Nocturne"), però è in queste dodici pagine che la pianista fiorentina pare più ispirata. Appartengano a un'estetica impressionista oppure simbolista, ciò su cui si sono interrogati gli studiosi, poco interessa. Quel che qui davvero conta è la vibratilità atmosferica, il respiro intenzionalmente variabile dell'esecuzione, la docilità della materia sonora, a seconda dei casi lieve, liquescente, flessibile, vitrea, scivolosa, che sguscia via, s'avvita su se stessa, sfuma nel nulla da cui è sorta. E contano i tagli di luce, le striature incantatorie di timbri stratificati e fruscianti: trasparenze di mussola, nylon, tulle.

Perciò vanno ascoltati con attenzione quei "Preludi" dove risuonano velari, vento, profumi e paesaggi.

Gramophone

Is there another single-disc recording of all five of the complete original pieces composed by Mendelssohn for piano duet and two pianos? If so, I doubt if it’s as good as this with Roberto Prosseda, tireless champion of the composer, joined here by his wife Alessandra Ammara.

Gramophone

In Alessandra Ammara’s single-disc selection (the rest is to follow) her superfine pianism is complemented by an uncanny insight into Ravel’s outwardly teasing and enigmatic surface. She is scintillating and witty in the early Sérénade grotesque, where the composer declares his love of Spain in music of a distinctive rawness and edge. Few more magically evocative performances of the incomparable marinescape ‘Une barque sur l’océan’ (Miroirs) exist on record and, in the same suite, ‘Alborada’ is as bright and sparky as you could wish. Ammara’s ‘Ondine’ is a true ‘shimmer of harmony’ and in ‘Scarbo’ her tempo never obscures the waltz rhythm hovering beneath every whirlwind gesture. Hear her in the macabre chiming effect she achieves at 7'34", the start of an eerie sequence of ascents made hauntingly graphic, and you are clearly in the presence of a Ravelian as acute and individual as she is faithful to the score. I would not want to be without either but, of the two, Ammara is the more fascinating and personally engaging.