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Casella: Concerto for Orchestra / La Vecchia, Rome

Casella / Orch Sinfonica Di Roma / La Vecchia
Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573004   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alfredo Casella
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Alfredo Casella identified three different periods in his composing career, and this disc features one work from each. The Suite in C major is early Casella, a fascinating combination of influences from the French Baroque through Domenico Scarlatti to Mahler. War Pages are images of the horrific mechanised warfare of 1914–18, as seen on silent cinema newsreels: among the music’s admirers was Puccini. Casella himself felt that the Concerto, Op 61—a commission for the 50th birthday of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra—was his ‘most complete achievement in the field of orchestral music’. Alfredo Casella identified three different periods in his composing career, and this disc features one work from each. The Suite in C major is early Casella, a fascinating combination of influences from the French Baroque through Domenico Scarlatti to Mahler. War Pages are images of the horrific mechanised warfare of 1914–18, as seen on silent cinema newsreels: among the music’s admirers was Puccini. Casella himself felt that the Concerto, Op 61—a commission for the 50th birthday of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra—was his ‘most complete achievement in the field of orchestral music’. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Suite in C major, Op. 13 by Alfredo Casella
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910 
2.
Pagine di guerra, Op. 25 by Alfredo Casella
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1918; Italy 
3.
Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 61 by Alfredo Casella
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Italy 

Sound Samples

Suite in C major, Op. 13: I. Ouverture
Suite in C major, Op. 13: II. Sarabande
Suite in C major, Op. 13: III. Bourree
Pagine di guerra, Op. 25bis: I. Nel Belgio: sfilata di artiglieria pesante tedesca
Pagine di guerra, Op. 25bis: II. In Francia: Davanti alle rovine della cattedrale di Reims
Pagine di guerra, Op. 25bis: III. In Russia: Carica di cavalleria cosacca
Pagine di guerra, Op. 25bis: IV. In Alsazia: Croci di legno
Pagine di guerra, Op. 25bis: V. Nell'Adriatico: Corazzate italiane in crociera
Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 61: I. Sinfonia
Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 61: II. Passacaglia
Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 61: III. Inno

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Luxurious Performance March 3, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "The opening work on this new Naxos CD is a real revelation. Suite in C Major contains a powerful, exuberant first movement, followed by two gorgeous follow-up sections, structured and designated somewhat like Baroque compositions, albeit with a huge orchestra. World War 1's impact on Casella's psyche is then expressed dramatically in Pagine di Guerra (War Pages), a short work inspired by silent newsreel videos of World War 1 scenes and providing starkly emotional expressiveness. Finally, as if these two compositions weren't enough to create interest and curiosity, Naxos saved the best for last, Casella's magnificent Concerto for Orchestra. I cannot speak too highly of the majestic sound of the Rome Symphony Orchestra as it powers its way through Casella's exquisite score. Conductor Francesco LaVecchia has his ensemble at the top of their game on this one, and the result is a performance that truly impresses. Overall- a top tier recording, and I give it a strong recommendation." Report Abuse
 Great selections January 16, 2013 By paul m. (east northport, NY) See All My Reviews "Casella has did it again and Naxos has brought us his wonderful music. Casella loved Mahler and it shows in his music." Report Abuse
 More of a Good Thing October 16, 2012 By Andrew F. (Brockton, MA) See All My Reviews "It seems that Casella, the finest 20th Century Italian composer (and I acknowledge the greatness of Puccini and Respighi), is finally beginning to come into his own. Just a few years ago, the only work by Casella to be heard or recorded with any frequency was ”Paganininiana,” a rather lightweight counterpart to the Rachmaninov favorite Paganini Variations. To further explore this composer, one had to go to European labels such as CPO, ASV, Capriccio or the Italian labels. My own interest was sparked by the chamber music recording on ASV, and was stoked by the exciting performances of the “Elegia eroica” and “Concerto Romano” from the “Expressionismus” discs on the German Signum label and the incredible recording of the Sinfonia (Symphony No. 3) conducted by Alun Francis on CPO. Soon enough, the distinguished series of recordings conducted by Francesco La Vecchia with the Rome Symphony commenced, followed shortly by the Chandos series conducted by Noseda. Although it is probably apt to call Alfredo Casella a chameleon (as he has been called by others), I believe that it is more appropriate to call him an investigator or researcher. His musical styles seem to come in phases, first influenced by Respighi, but then oddly by Mahler, given his training under Faure. When the Symphony No. 2 was released on CD, the echoes of Mahler were apparent (much to the chagrin of some critics). Indeed when the Suite Op. 13 was first performed, the snobbish French were not familiar with the German master. Today when we hear this work, the opening bars all but mirror the opening bars of Mahler’s first symphony. While the movement titles come from the Baroque, the music is late Romantic in style. Whether you attribute the reflections of Mahler in this fine work as “cribbing” or as affectionate tribute (as I do) is a matter of taste. The lovely, melancholy Sarabande should convince you of the quality of Casella’s composition. But there is another Casella to be found in the brief orchestral pictures (Pagine di Guerra) of war-torn sites: the one influenced by Stravinsky. Yes, Casella shamelessly parallels passages of “Le Sacre” in these vignettes, but only to effect of the horrors of destruction. The “War Pages” from France and Alsace are particularly devastating. Finally, there is the world premier recording of a masterpiece, the 1937 Concerto for Orchestra (it seems that Chandos did beat out the release date of this disc). Again, we see another face of influence to Casella, that of Hindemith, but in this case there is no recognizable quote. This work sounds modern, no heart on sleeve, but tonal and direct. None of the performances of this series by La Vecchia are also-rans. While the Rome Symphony is not as concise and taut as in the Chandos recording of the Concerto, it is a good one, and the piano obligato seems to be more forward. Naxos has improved the recordings as the series has progressed (perhaps aware of their competition from Chandos). But those looking for an introduction to this worthy composer at a lower price will not at all be disappointed." Report Abuse
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