Luca Buratto took first prize at the 2015 Honens piano competition in Calgary, Canada. He made his UK debut earlier this year at the Wigmore Hall, and this all-Schumann disc, his first for Hyperion, confirms the positive reports of that recital.
A first impression of Buratto’s playing, from the Humoreske with which the disc opens, is of a serious, highly refined pianist who seems incapable of producing an ugly sound, but who perhaps is sometimes just a little bit too well-mannered: the extremes of Schumann’s piano writing tend to be rounded off. It all seems a bit risk-averse to start with—the little Blumenstück Op 19, which separates the two major works here, is suave enough, but unmemorable. Then suddenly, during the wonderfully protean Davidsbündlertänze, Buratto seems to find another gear; everything snaps into sharper focus, and the sense of adventure and curiosity that is an essential ingredient of any Schumann interpretation comes to the fore. Having played that piece so well, you then want him to go back and have another go at the Humoreske.