Sergio Tiempo: Legacy
The latest release of Sergio Tiempo, the Caracas-born pianist of impeccable credentials, is titled ‘Legacy’. His personal programme, inspired by members of his family, was recorded live in Belgium in October 2016.
Tiempo is at his most irrepressibly original in the Piazzolla and Ginastera works, where his alternately impetuous and relaxed pianism is given full rein. Both showcase his remarkably adroit repetitions of both single notes and chords. Subtle touch and brightly coloured textures characterise the piquantly atmospheric selections from the first book of Villa-Lobos’s A prole do bebê.
Of the European repertory, Debussy’s ‘Reflets dans l’eau’ is most appealing. Tiempo’s enormous resources of touch create textures that seem truly liquid. His take on four pieces from Romeo and Juliet is nothing if not imaginative. Yet a tendency to stretch the underlying rhythm in the interests of expressive lyricism can lapse into a sentimentality that seems antithetical both to Prokofiev and to the pieces’ origin in ballet.
Tiempo’s penchant for putting a personal stamp on everything he plays occasionally crosses the border into self-indulgence. Despite their technical brilliance, the six Chopin Preludes are undermined by focus on detail at the expense of cohesive individual entities. Something similar, though on a larger scale, is at work in the Appassionata. Preoccupation with immediate textures, abetted by the lack of an inerrant rhythmic path, enervates and fragments the opening Allegro assai. Curiously incongruous variations in the slow movement followed by a freewheeling finale, replete with clipped note values and inconsistent articulation, do not add up to convincing Beethoven.