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CARLO ZECCHI (1903-1984)
Italian pianist and conductor



Carlo Zecchi was a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni and Artur Schnabel (who was, incidentally, the best man at Zecchi's wedding in 1936).  As an exact contemporary of Vladimir Horowitz, it is interesting to draw parallels and contrasts.  To my ear, Horowitz erupted from the Russian school while Zecchi is squarely in the Italo-Germanic school of his two teachers.

Many believe Carlo Zecchi to have been Italy's greatest pianist after Busoni.  I count myself among them.  Apologies to the followers of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Sergio Fiorentino, both magnificent pianists.

His Chopin is extraordinary.  When he plays, the mazurkas, the waltzes, and even the etudes, dance in a way I have never heard them do so before.  His recording of the first Ballade, now my favorite of all, speaks volumes as would the recital by the best Shakespearean actor of a glorious epic poem.  And the Barcarolle and the Berceuse are perfection.

Perhaps the most extraordinary recording here is of Stravinsky's Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka.  This is the first time I have ever heard a pianist sound relaxed in navigating what I am told - I would not dare to try to play it myself - is one of the most difficult works for piano ever written, the Danse Russe.

I have included some private recordings by Carlo Zecchi from 1980 which, while not reflecting the genius of his playing in the recordings from the '30s, '40s and '50s, are nonetheless beautiful and of interest.

Carlo Zecchi was also a fine chamber musician and a conductor, much admired by Arturo Toscanini which admiration ceased to be reciprocated when Toscanini revealed himself to Zecchi as the worst sort of tyrant.

At the end, for those of you who understand Italian, are marvelous recordings of Zecchi speaking about his life as a pianist and conductor.



Siciliana (arr by Respighi)




Bach  Prelude and Fugue 13 in F♯ major, BWV 858

recorded in 1942




Bach  Concerto in G major after Vivaldi
i Allegro - ii Adagio - iii Presto

recorded in 1937




Bach-Reger  Choral "Ich ruf dir, herr Jesu Christ", BWV 639

recorded in 1942




Scarlatti  Three Sonatas
K 96 - 2:56  K 113 - 6:11 ➢ K 259

recorded in 1935




Scarlatti  Four Sonatas
K 259 (L 103) - 4:07  K 159 (L 104) - 9:03  K 96 (L 465) - 2:56  K 523 (L 490)

recorded in 1937




Mozart  Piano Sonata in D major. K 311
i Allegro con spirito - ii Andante con espressione - iii Rondeau: Allegro

recorded in 1954




Schubert  Moment Musical in A major, D 780~6

recorded in 1938




Chopin  Mazurka in A minor, Op 17~4

recorded in 1942




Chopin  Mazurka in B minor, Op 33~4

recorded in 1954




Chopin  Préludes, Op 28
4 in E minor - 6 in B minor - 7 in A major - 13 in F major

recorded in 1980




Chopin Various pieces
Mazurka in C minor, Op 30~4
Waltz in A major, Op 42
Etude in F major, Op 10~8

recordings from 1935 and 1941




Chopin  Grande Polonaise in E major, Op 22

recorded in 1935




Chopin  Ballade 1 in G minor, Op 23

recorded in Moscow in 1930




Chopin  Berceuse in D major, Op 57

recorded in 1942




Chopin  Barcarolle in F♯ major, Op 60

recorded in 1937




Schumann  Kinderszenen, Op 15


1 Vonfremden Ländern und Menschen - 2 Kuriose Geschichte - 3 Haschemann
4 Bittendes Kind - 5 Glückes genug - 6 Wichtige Begebeheit - 7 Träumerei



8 Am Kamin - 9 Ritter vom Steckenpferd - 10 Fast zu ernst
11
Fürchtenmachen - 12 Kind im Einschlummern - 13 Der Dichter spicht




Schumann  Album für Jugend, Op 68
Melodie - Soldatenmarsch - Ein Choralie - Armes Waisenkind - Jägerliedchen - Volksliedchen
Fröhlicher Landmann, von der Arbeit zurückkehrend - Sizilianisch - Kleine Studie - Kleiner Morgenwanderer
Frühlingsgesang - Erster Verlust - Mai, lieber Mai -- Bald bist du wieder da! - Ländliches Lied - Kleine Romanze
Schnitterliedchen - Figurierter Choral - Langsam - Sylversterlied - Ernteliedchen - Fremder Mann
Sehr Langsam - Sheherazade - Rundgesang - Nicht schnell - Erinnerung - Winterzeit I - Mignon

recorded in 1967




Liszt  Paganini Etudes


4 "Arpège"
recorded in 1937



5 "La caccia"
recorded in 1928




Liszt  Étude de Concert 2 "La Leggierezza"

recorded in 1937




Debussy  Poissons d'or from Images Livre II

recorded in 1942




Debussy  Arabesque 1

recorded in 1980




Francesco Bajardi (1867-1934)  Ballade in C minor

1926 piano roll




Ravel  Alborada del Gracioso

recorded in 1935




Domenico Alaleona (1881-1928)  Biancospino from "La città fiorita"

1926 Welte piano roll




Stravinsky  Trois mouvements de Petrouchka

1926 Welte Mignon piano roll




Niso Ticciati (1924 - 1972)  Toccata




Carlo Zecchi racconta la sua straordinaria vita di pianista
in colloquio con Antonio Latanza










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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