Paul Bisaccia

Clair de Lune

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AllMusic Review by

Paul Bisaccia's 2007 album Clair de Lune is a generous recital of piano classics, with music generally of a soft, genteel character, stylistically ranging from Baroque to modern. Yet to appreciate Bisaccia's playing requires great tolerance for his many expressive liberties and a forgiving attitude toward his abundant use of rubato. Bisaccia is a gifted musician with a good sense for the character of any given piece, and he largely succeeds in communicating the spirit of the music with a high degree of personality and spontaneity. However, he toys around with dynamics and tempos too freely, and he delivers these pieces with enough showiness that his performances seem to be less about the music and more about his presentation. This is unfortunate, because he plainly has the capacity to play tastefully, as fairly demonstrated in his renditions of two of Scarlatti's sonatas, and in Mozart's Rondo alla Turca; and his touch can be quite light and graceful, as shown in the sensitive interpretations of Chopin's Ballade No. 3 in A flat major and Philip Glass' Morning Passages. But he distorts the phrasing too much in Debussy's Clair de Lune, and the flexible meters and exaggerated dynamics he uses in J.S. Bach's Prelude in C major and Pachelbel's Canon in D major are decidedly not idiomatic. Because Bisaccia's rather loose and self-indulgent interpretations will not please rigorous scholars of piano music, this middling CD is perhaps only recommendable to uncritical listeners.

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