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CD Feature/ Cristiana Pegoraro: "ITHAKA"

img  Tobias

We wouldn’t want to take anything away from Cristiana Pegoraro’s past achievements: She’s recorded an astounding number of solo piano albums which she organises and distributes herself, led the way in programming well-balanced evenings of classical and contemporary repertoire, brought back the tango to concert halls, enjoyed jubilant media coverage from the USA to Poland and even set up her own record company, Diva. And yet, we strongly feel that this album marks what could possibly the decisive step forward for her.

For “Ithaka” is not only a conceptual work of great imaginative power, but also a statement of emancipation. Pegoraro has written all of the eleven tracks assembled here and presents herself as a veritable composer in her own right with a style somewhere in between modern movie scores and romantic piano based salon. Her love for Chopin and Scarlatti has already been thoroughly documented on previous releases and in these concise songs without words of between three and almost seven minutes’ length, she is close to this classic duo in both form and melodic inventiveness. Pegoraro treats the epos of Ulysses with respect, but approaches it neither with the eye of a geograph, nor the brain of a historian – Greek cliches are nowhere to be found and in her harmonic language, she is definitely more of a 21st century musician than a mediaevil-obsessed librarian. Her touch is tender and her interest lies in the emotional connotations of the story: The hope and feelings of honour and glory by those sailing away into the unknown, the fears faced in the first adventures, the desperation due to the endless solitude on the eternal ocean, the fascination for other cultures and the wisdom which comes with going through personal purgatory. The result is never superficial, yet easily accesible and full of universal emotions, a music which need not be dissected to be fully understood.

This is a remarkably coherent and conclusive album and it impresses on many different fronts. There is one more thought lingering in my mind, though. While individual pieces have already been played in front of audiences worldwide, the complete cycle still awaits its live premiere. To do so might well lift Pegoraro yet another notch up the ladder. Which, just to be clear, should not take away anything from the extraordinary journey of “Ithaka”.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Cristiana Pegoraro

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