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Martinu: Promenade

Martinu / Trio Albatros / Capuano
Release Date: 01/10/2011 
Label:  Stradivarius   Catalog #: 33886   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Alessandro MarangoniFrancesco ParrinoStefano ParrinoGianluca Capuano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Albatros
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MARTIn? Sonata for Flute, Violin, and Piano. Madrigal Sonata. Promenades. 1 Flute Sonata. Violin Sonata No. 1 Albatros Trio; 1 Gianluca Capuano (hpd) STRADIVARIUS STR 33886 (78:53)

This is, quite simply, one of the best Martin? discs I have come across. The Albatros Trio, which consists of the brothers Stephano and Francesco Parrino and pianist Alessandro Read more Maragoni, is a group I had never heard of before now, but it has been concertizing together for 20 years. That degree of experience and camaraderie shows in their playing. A further asset is the variety of the program; while centering on the composer’s neoclassical compositions of the late 1930s and the 1940s, it also includes an early work from his brief jazz-influenced period, the First Violin Sonata (1922). In the latter, both musicians understand the improvisatory approach required, particularly in the unaccompanied cadenza passages for the violin. The violinist’s bent notes in some of the bluesy phrases are reminiscent of Joe Venuti, and are sensitively, unselfconsciously achieved.

Indeed, throughout the whole disc, the three main musicians are at great pains to bring out the music’s specific character at every given moment. Martin? is a composer who can all too readily slip into autopilot, but that impression never gets a toehold here. Rhythmic patterns are precisely etched, lyrical moments allowed to flower, syncopations sound natural and unforced, and the trio has a welcome tendency to lighten the texture (notably in staccato passages). There is another, intangible element to the music-making as well, which I can only describe as joy. (Harpsichordist Gianluca Capuano’s contribution to the suite Promenades is equally fine.)

An interesting comparison may be made with a 1993 Analekta disc whose program is virtually identical: It replaces the violin sonata with a short scherzo for flute and piano. The earlier disc features a distinguished lineup: the late French flutist and renowned teacher Alain Marion, violinist Angèle Dubeau, and as pianist none other than a young Marc-André Hamelin. Both Marion and Dubeau produce a fuller sound than the Parrinos, and Marion in particular plays with exquisite tone, yet these players fail to match the Albatros Trio in musical characterization. The first movement of the flute sonata is a good example: Marion and Hamelin settle for an all-purpose brightness, but Parrino and Maragoni also find little moments of tenderness and play up the pastoral associations with livelier imagination. They are also more detailed than James Galway and Philip Moll (RCA), whose perfectly enjoyable performance in a mixed recital sounds beefy by comparison.

The disc is well recorded and well filled, and it is certainly well played. The rarely heard violin sonata should be in the collection of every Martin? fan. I think a strong recommendation is in order.

FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

Madrigal-Sonata for Flute, Violin and Piano, H 291 by Bohuslav Martinu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Albatros
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942 
Venue:  Chiesa Ss. Urbano e Martino, Pedenosso, 
Length: 11 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Alessandro Marangoni (Piano), Francesco Parrino (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; France 
Venue:  Chiesa Ss. Urbano e Martino, Pedenosso, 
Length: 20 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Promenades for Violin, Flute and Harpsichord by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Stefano Parrino (Flute), Gianluca Capuano (Harpsichord), Francesco Parrino (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; France 
Venue:  Chiesa Ss. Urbano e Martino, Pedenosso, 
Length: 7 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Sonata for Flute and Piano by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Stefano Parrino (Flute), Alessandro Marangoni (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Venue:  Chiesa Ss. Urbano e Martino, Pedenosso, 
Length: 20 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Sonata for Flute, Violin and Piano, H 254 by Bohuslav Martinu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Albatros
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Venue:  Chiesa Ss. Urbano e Martino, Pedenosso, 
Length: 17 Minutes 44 Secs. 

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