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Italian Vintages / Nicolas Del Grazia, Chris Lysack


Release Date: 04/24/2007 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 2843   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giacomo SetaccioliMario Castelnuovo-TedescoNino RotaMario Pilati,   ... 
Performer:  Christopher LysackChris LysackNicolas Del Grazia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ITALIAN VINTAGES Nicolas del Grazia (cl); Chris Lysack (pn) CENTAUR 2843 (57:14)


SETACCIOLI Clarinet Sonata in E?. CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO Clarinet Sonata. ROTA Clarinet Sonata in D. PILATI Inquétude. DEL GRAZIA Tarantella Read more />

Here is another repertoire-based clarinet recital disc, this one comprising early-20th-century Italian works for clarinet and piano. Even several decades in, of course, instrumental and orchestral music generally took a back seat to vocal music in Italy (the “Roman” trilogy of Respighi being among the most prominent early exceptions), so clarinetist del Grazia, who holds a master’s degree in music theory in addition to the D.M. (presumably in performance) from Indiana University, and who wrote his own refreshingly cogent and informative program notes, must be given credit for his ingenuity in constructing the program. Much of the factual information given below is taken from his notes.


All of this music is distinctly conservative in musical language; then again, with the exception of del Grazia’s own piece, all were composed by 1945, before the Darmstadt influence took hold and composers such as Nono, Berio, and Dallapiccola began working in much more experimental languages. The earliest piece is Giacomo Setaccioli’s c. 1921 Sonata, a fairly appealing, late-Romantic-sounding work, if not an especially distinctive one; it is vaguely programmatic, its movements being labeled “Afternoon,” “Nocturne,” and “Dawn.” The rapid middle section of the second movement and the finale offer their share of technical challenges.


Mario Pilati’s Étude was a 1930 adaptation of a piece originally written as a vocalise at the request of a Paris Conservatoire professor. It is accordingly modest in its demands on performer and listener alike, and at 3:20 would make an attractive program-filler or encore.


Nino Rota’s Sonata, written in 1945 after the composer had fled to the U.S., is generally run-of-the-mill stuff, pleasant enough if not nearly as memorable as his scores for the Godfather movies.


The most substantial piece here is the Sonata of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, also written in America in 1945. It, too, is unabashedly tonal, but particularly in its first movement has a dark, mysterious quality that causes it to stick in the mind’s ear in a way the rest of the program does not. The second movement is a technically demanding Scherzo; the last two movements are titled “Lullaby” and “Rondò alla Napolitana.” This piece deserves to be better known; yet the present recording appears to be the only one currently available in the U.S., as is true of all the music on this disc.


Del Grazia’s own little Tarantella , the actual encore to this program, was composed specifically for this purpose. The composer/performer writes that it “exploits the clarinet’s agility, calling for extremes of register, staccato technique, and circular breathing.” He certainly knew for whom he was writing, but at under two minutes the work’s technical difficulty-to-duration ratio is so small that I don’t envision other clarinetists picking it up in great numbers.


Del Grazia plays with a secure, pleasantly reedy—if not always perfectly focused—tone, somewhat more attractive on the darker A clarinet called for in the Rota Sonata. He manages all the music’s technical challenges handily. All in all, this is a pleasant disc that could find a niche in quite a few collections, including your reviewer’s.


FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 128 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Christopher Lysack (Piano), Chris Lysack (Piano), Nicolas Del Grazia (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Length: 19 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: Burke Recital Hall, Denison U., Granville, Ohio (07/03/2005 - 09/25/2005) 
2.
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in D major by Nino Rota
Performer:  Christopher Lysack (Piano), Nicolas Del Grazia (Clarinet), Chris Lysack (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Italy 
Length: 18 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Burke Recital Hall, Denison U., Granville, Ohio (07/03/2005 - 09/25/2005) 
3.
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in Bb major, Op. 31 by Giacomo Setaccioli
Performer:  Nicolas Del Grazia (Clarinet), Christopher Lysack (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Venue:  Burke Recital Hall, Denison U., Granvill 
Length: 19 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: Burke Recital Hall, Denison U., Granville, Ohio (07/03/2005 - 09/25/2005) 
4.
Inquétude "Etude Mélodique" by Mario Pilati
Performer:  Nicolas Del Grazia (Clarinet), Christopher Lysack (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Italy 
Venue:  Burke Recital Hall, Denison U., Granvill 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Burke Recital Hall, Denison U., Granville, Ohio (07/03/2005 - 09/25/2005) 
5.
Tarantella for Clarinet and Piano by Nicolas Del Grazia
Performer:  Nicolas Del Grazia (Clarinet), Christopher Lysack (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Burke Recital Hall, Denison U., Granvill 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: Burke Recital Hall, Denison U., Granville, Ohio (07/03/2005 - 09/25/2005) 

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