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Fusella: Works For Violin & Piano / Mauro Tortorelli, Angela Meruso

Fusella / Tortorelli / Meluso
Release Date: 02/08/2011 
Label:  Tactus   Catalog #: 870601   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro TortorelliAngela Meluso
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



FUSELLA Novella. Scherzo Serenata. Idilio. Festa al villaggio. Canto d’autunno. Danze Polonesi. Meditazione. Minuetto. Allegro Energico. Aria Svedese. Scherzo Campestre. Sondag. Pifferari. Maggiolata. Canto Elegiaco. Trentaremi. Canto a mare. Capri (marina piccola). Faraglioni. Scherzo Napoletano Mauro Tortorelli (vn); Angela Meruso (pn) TACTUS 870601 (70:08)


According to Renato Ricco’s notes, Gaetano Fusella (1876–1972) may be Italy’s answer to composer-violinists Fritz Kreisler, Henri Wieniawski, and Read more Pablo Sarasate. His salon miniatures, of which Mauro Tortorelli and Angela Meruso have presented 20 they discovered in manuscript, provide a view of his work spanning roughly the first half of the 20th century.


According to the booklet notes, the first four pieces constitute a Suite Campestre that the composer performed in Naples in 1895. The Novella with which the suite opens reveals at once not only the music’s nuanced charm and direct appeal but Tortorelli’s and Meruso’s sympathy with its style. The playful Scherzo Serenata sounds like dozens of other character pieces written at the time, but also like itself, and that could be a result of the performers’ dedication. Still, its composer seems to have somehow developed a voice, perhaps more pleasant than highly identifiable, though a confident one that speaks in the instrument’s idiomatic language. The third of the suite’s movements, Idilio , sounds serene—and almost pentatonic—at the opening but expands to embrace a wider variety of musical moods. The suite ends with a heady Festa al villaggio , replete with the sounds of ringing bells; Tortorelli plays crisply in off-the-string articulation and resonantly in drones. The engineers come very close to the two performers, picking up breathing here and there.


The Canto d’autunno , according to the notes, bears the date October 23, 1952, and provides Tortorelli with an opportunity to demonstrate both warmth in the lower registers and the ability to soar affectingly into the upper ones. The duo opens the ensuing Danze polonesi tantalizingly; but when the dance proper begins, fireworks abound, and Tortorelli’s own pyrotechnical abilities showcase what’s written. This movement might provide a sort of answer to those tempted to scoff at Ricco’s claims for the composer, but less effective advocacy would weaken the argument. The Meditazione , from December 29, 1950, according to the notes, soars into Tortorelli’s pure and silvery higher registers; the duo plays the Minuetto with zestful tang (notably perhaps in some acidulous passages sul ponticello in the middle). The Aria Svedese (from 1897, according to the notes, based in part on a tune also set for violinist August Wilhelmj) showcases the violin in striking passagework that Tortorelli realizes with great energy. He throbs in the G-string passage and plays the variation in self-accompanying counterpoint cleanly and, what’s more, convincingly; finally, he dances in harmonics near the end. The brief Scherzo campestre , in off-the-string double-stops, could serve as an occasional alternative to Antonio Bazzini’s Ronde des lutins ; it sounds at least as difficult, though in a different way.


The melody of Sondag , though the notes don’t mention it, served Norwegian virtuoso Ole Bull almost as a calling card; it appeared in a number of his works, in which it went under the title Sæterjentens Sondag (The Herdgirl’s Sunday). Fusella’s version, which adds a few touches like harmonics and pizzicatos accompanying the melody, sounds about as effective as its prototype in its manner of nostalgic reminiscence. Pifferari provides a jaunty imitation of pipers, and the performers capture its spirit, as they do the ardor of the Maggiolata that follows, including the splashy technical fireworks of its middle section. They make the Canto elegiaco , marked, according to the notes, April 26, 1948, sound rich in the throaty lower-register opening of its song. Again according to the notes, Trentaremi represents the Mediterranean village by the same name; it’s one of the most attractive pieces in the anthology melodically, and the duo plays it for all it’s worth. The ingratiating Canto a mare that follows, from 1894, rocks comfortingly in the duo’s performance (and swings elegantly in the middle section’s suave double-stops), while Capri (supposedly from the next year) shares its general atmosphere—as does Faraglioni , though the middle section employs the ricochet-like effects familiar from a number of the other pieces. The duo brings the program to an effective close with the brief, sparkling Scherzo Napoletano , reminiscent of the popular tarantella often performed at weddings.


Could Fusella be the Italian Fritz Kreisler or Albert Sammons—or even Ole Bull? This selection of his pieces might not reach the bar set by Kreisler, but they’re attractive nonetheless—at times winningly virtuosic, and at others irresistibly melodious. Violinists and lovers of the instrument’s literature should find this collection lyrical and the performances by both instrumentalists sympathetic.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1. Novella, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
2. Scherzo Serenata, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
3. Idillio, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 11 Secs. 
4. Festa al villaggio, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
5. Canto d'autunno, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
6. Danze Polonesi, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 5 Secs. 
7. Meditazione, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
8. Minuetto, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
9. Allegro Energico, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
10. Aria Svedese, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
11. Scherzo Campestre, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Angela Meluso (Piano), Mauro Tortorelli (Violin)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
12. Sondag, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Angela Meluso (Piano), Mauro Tortorelli (Violin)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
13. Pifferari, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Angela Meluso (Piano), Mauro Tortorelli (Violin)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 45 Secs. 
14. Maggiolata, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
15. Canto Elegiaco, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Angela Meluso (Piano), Mauro Tortorelli (Violin)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
16. Trentaremi, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Angela Meluso (Piano), Mauro Tortorelli (Violin)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
17. Canto a mare, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 54 Secs. 
18. Capri (marina piccola), for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Mauro Tortorelli (Violin), Angela Meluso (Piano)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
19. Faraglioni, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Angela Meluso (Piano), Mauro Tortorelli (Violin)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
20. Scherzo Napoletano, for violin & piano by Gaetano Fusella
Performer:  Angela Meluso (Piano), Mauro Tortorelli (Violin)
Date of Recording: 10/2009 
Venue:  Studio Phonotype, Napoli, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 

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