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
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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