CASELLA Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello. GHEDINI Concerto dell’albatro (Concerto of the Albatross) for Violin, Cello, Piano, and Speaker1 • Damian Iorio, cond; Emanuela Piedmonti (pn); Paolo Ghidoni (vn); Pietro Bosna (vc); 1Carlo Dogliioni Majer (spkr); O I Pomeriggi Musicali • NAXOS 8.573180Read more (58:11 Text and Translation)
The music of Alfredo Casella and Giorgio Ghedini, modern and brilliant as it is, has been marginalized in part because both composers complied with the Fascist government—Casella willingly and eagerly, Ghedini passively. This disc combines major concertos by both of them. The former concerto grosso is almost Modernist in style, with the three soloists emerging from and returning to the ensemble, either individually or together; by contrast, the latter is a much more expansive and almost Impressionistic work, leaning on techniques pioneered by French composers, with its last movement including a spoken text (in Italian) from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick about the first time an albatross was spotted. Essentially, then, we have a contrast in influences, Casella’s Russian-Germanic style versus Ghedini’s more Francophile one.
This makes perfect sense in Casella’s case, as in 1930 he formed a piano trio, the Trio Italiano, with himself at the keyboard (violinist Alberto Poltronieri and cellist Arturo Bonucci were the other two members), and it was for his trio that he constructed this Concerto in 1933. David Gallagher’s liner notes claim a sameness in the construction and music of this Concerto and the Introduzione, aria e toccata, the Cello Concerto, and his purely instrumental Concerto of 1937, and he may indeed be right. I only have, or have heard, the first-named of these, and there is indeed a strong similarity to this Triple Concerto. Still, it is an excellent work; and, as Gallagher also points out, the composer thought the middle movement of this Concerto one of his finest pieces.
Ghedini’s music is almost uniformly original and inventive by comparison. The opening movement of his Concerto dell’albatro, marked Largo at a tempo of quarter note = 46, bears a striking resemblance to the music of Pïteris Vasks—but Vasks, born in the 1940s, only came to composition long after Ghedini’s death. Indeed, the only movement in this amazing work that struck me as somewhat artificially contrived was the fast movement (No. 4, Allegro vivace – Poco a poco animando – Lentamente), a mere succession of rapid note patterns in an ambiguous jumble of tonality and an annoying, almost aggressive 6/8 rhythm. Carlo Doglioni Majer’s narration of Melville’s story is cool and detached.
Without having any prior knowledge of these works. I nonetheless enjoyed them both tremendously. The three soloists, though not strong personalities, are all fine musicians and the orchestra plays sublimely under Iorio’s baton. And here, wonder of wonders, Naxos’s sonics are excellent. This is, simply, a remarkably fine disc.
Concerto dell'Albatroby Giorgio Federico Ghedini Performer:
Emanuela Piemonti (Piano),
Paolo Ghidoni (Violin),
Pietro Bosna (Cello)
I Pomeriggi Musicali
Period: 20th Century Written: 1943; Italy
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Uniquely Attractive RecordingJune 21, 2014By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"Two 20th century triple concertos by Italian composers Alfredo Casella and Giorgio Ghedini are featured on this excellent Naxos recording. Both works run for approximately a half hour and are restrained, well-constructed compositions. Perhaps the subtle beauty inherent in Casella's and Ghedini's markedly conservative approach may in part be attributed to the ominous environment in Italy when both works were composed (Casella's in 1933 and Ghedini's in the final stages of World War 2). I found the interaction between piano, violin, and cello to be well balanced, and the support provided by Milan's Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali to be excellent. Make no mitake about it- these are not massive Sturm and Drang Romantic triple concertos in the mode of Beethoven's great work. Rather, they are gentle, relaxed works of substantial appeal. Further,Ghedini's concerto adds two unique twists: its 5 movement format and the inclusion (in the final movement) of a narrator, who relates an excerpt from Melville's Moby Dick; hence the work's title 'Concerto of the Albatross. Overall, this is a very intriguing program which I immediately liked. I think you will as well. Recommended."Report Abuse