A Concert Review: Piano Expression Ltd.
Thursday Evening, December 2, 2004
Goethe-Institut, 1014 Fifth Avenue, NYC
The audience was packed into the beautiful little hall at the Goethe-Institut with the stage graced by a lovely Boesendorfer grand piano. A wonderful setting with an enthusiastic audience-a delight to be present.

I don't think there are any really great pianist/artists left. That golden age is gone with the deaths of so many legends in the past ten to twenty years. By great pianist/artists I mean those few who were able to overcome their personal idiosyncrasies at the door and meld themselves into the music of the genius composers they put on their programs. Artists who accepted no compromises based on their inadequacies or peculiarities that intruded on their performances. But there is still one left and we were privileged to hear her tonight in this splendid concert. Her name is Ana Maria Trenchi Bottazzi.

A sound so golden that even in the most delicate moments the thread of gold was still there. A technique so encompassing that it ceased to be a technique and becomes only a means to realize the music.

The opening Galuppi Sonata in C major was bursting with fluid rhythms and timing so perfect that it ceased to have a name. The Beethoven Sonata in C# minor, Op. 27, No. 2 was no ethereal moonlight scene. It was not a bitter Beethoven, disillusioned with God's gifts to him but a Beethoven full of joy and youthful serenity (if there is such a thing) that left you with your own spirit lifted rather than being merely amazed at a flawless performance.

Te Choin G minor Ballade was not a sentimental outpouring of a withered and dying composer but a mix of tragedy and joy that was life itself. Dr. Bottazzi's B minor Scherzo is second to none and better than nearly any other performance of it I have ever heard. It had élan and bravura and the kind of effortless ease that makes you want to laugh in happiness rather than just applaud in awe.

The solo version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue was a shining testament to the artist's love of America and the good it represents for all who come here to live and work and play. The enormous difficulties were forgotten and thoughts of smoke-filled nightclubs and beautiful women with escorts a little too dapper. It was a testament to a new nation finding its wings at the hands of the performer.
The encores of the E minor posthumous Waltz of Chopin sparkled with a glow we no longer experience. The Malambo of Ginastera was brimming with dash and bravura and the Liadov Music Box was a delight, as were the anecdotes supplied by the artist.

I am told that every review should stress the weaknesses of the performance as well as its strengths. The only flaw I see in Ana Maria Bottazzi is that she isn't playing fifty concerts a year. This is the kind of artistry we so sorely need to heal the wounds of the Philistines who pose as artists but only for their own glory.
Phillip Dieckow, review for Recitals Reviews, founder and director of the Dieckow School of Music, Artist in Residence in Piano at the Steven Institute of Technology and concert pianist.