Buratto’s energetic momentum creates the right kind of dramatic build in the Hastig section’s central climaxes, yet one misses the poetic disquiet that András Schiff divines from the inner voices (ECM, 7/02). In addition, the Intermezzo’s two-handed semiquaver patterns grow increasingly heavy and emphatic, lacking the youthful élan and textural interplay distinguishing youthfully spirited live recordings by the 76-year-old Horowitz. Buratto plays Schumann’s lovely and somewhat underrated Blumenstücke simply and directly. It’s a pleasing performance in and of itself, but a tad anonymous next to Eric Le Sage’s more potent left-hand work (Alpha) or Horowitz’s ability to ignite a phrase with the tiniest accent.
Holding together all 18 pieces in Davidsbündlertänze can be a challenge, yet Buratto’s well-considered tempo relationships and full-bodied textures convey a symphonic orientation characterised by less rubato and melodic inflection than usual. As a consequence, one loses the elfin lightness of No 6’s darting left-hand triplets or No 8’s ‘stride piano’ bass/chord leaps, while No 12’s Mit Humor directive is tempered in a reading that eschews the ‘standard’ hesitations and punched-up italicisations. Notice, too, how No 7’s headlong, expressively discreet rolled chords contrast to interpretations where the melody line subjectively assumes centre stage. In short, while more playful, spontaneous and nimble Davidsbündlertänze recordings exist (with Schiff, Hewitt, Perahia and Anda among my favourites), Buratto’s cohesive solidity deserves admiration and respect, as do Misha Donat’s annotations and Hyperion’s usual high sonic standard. (Jed Distler / Gramophone)