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Ildebrando Pizzetti: Sonatas For Piano & Violin

Pizzetti / Trio Di Parma
Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Musicmedia   Catalog #: 2057   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Alberto MiodiniIvan RabagliaEnrico Bronzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio di Parma
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PIZZETTI Violin Sonata in A. Cello Sonata in F Ivan Rabaglia (vn); Enrico Bronzi (vc); Alberto Miodini (pn) CONCERTO 2057 (62:44)

At the Violin Sonata’s opening, the keening, Bloch-like gestures of the violin’s rhapsodic first statements contrast with the piano’s urgent, modally based configuration. With the flexibility of a skilled opera composer, Pizzetti gives the two instruments—in both sonatas—the autonomy of two protagonists in a drama. The first movement has an epic, storytelling quality. Busy Read more textures often dissipate into the simplest of single-line melodies with harmony that is more often diatonic than modal or chromatic. The second movement, titled “Preghiera per gli innocenti,” is a prayer for the victims of World War I, which had just ended as Pizzetti began the sonata in 1918. This accessible, touching music could stand on its own as a separate piece. Simple folk-like material makes an appearance in the somewhat optimistic finale. Each movement in this long work is elaborate and sectional, but my first impression of stylistic eclecticism gave way to admiration for Pizzetti’s ability to tie his expansive forms together coherently. Unlike Respighi, Pizzetti doesn’t allow his music’s warmly romantic sections to become cloying or kitschy.

Aside from its lean, motoric middle movement, Pizzetti’s 1921 Cello Sonata is an elegaic work composed not long after the death of his young wife. Its slower music is often so intimate that, unlike the Violin Sonata, it’s hard to imagine the piece holding an audience’s attention in concert. The final movement, marked Stanco e triste , begins with a remarkable solo passage for the cello, a graceful, archaic rumination. With the piano’s entrance, Pizzetti makes us aware of the difference between the two instruments, like characters from separate worlds, with different agendas unexpectedly coinciding. The effect is magical, maybe something like what it would be to hear the Franck Violin Sonata’s “Recitativo Fantasia” for the first time.

Pizzetti, who lived from 1880 to 1968, composed a great deal of music, much of it orchestral, that is only sparsely represented on recordings. Yehudi and Hephzibah Menuhin recorded the Violin Sonata in 1938. The impressive violinist Elmar Olivera has recorded it, together with Respighi’s sonata, on Artek. Otherwise, ArkivMusic lists only two recordings of the piece, and none with the convenient pairing of the Cello Sonata. It would be good to have a recording of Pizzetti’s Piano Trio, by all accounts a major work, by the Trio di Parma, whose members perform on this disc, perhaps together with his 1909 String Quartet. Then there are his operas. Debora e Jaele , said to be a powerful work, was composed at the same time as the Violin Sonata. There is an Arkiv CD of his 1958 Assassinio nella Cattedrale , after T. S. Eliot, a live performance in German with Karajan conducting a stellar cast including Hans Hotter. A video of an Italian performance with Ruggiero Raimondi exists. Pizzetti’s Requiem is regarded as a masterpiece. I confess that I am as unfamiliar with these works as I am with the music of Malipiero, Pizzetti’s “progressive” counterpart in the movement to revitalize Italian music in the 20th century by incorporating elements of its distant past, not to mention Casella, but based on the quality of Pizzetti’s two sonatas, I am certain that his other music deserves revival and more recordings.

The members of the Trio di Parma are assured, masterly players, technically at the highest level, sensitive to the music’s drama and frequent changes of mood, and suitably soft-spoken in the most lyrical passages. The sound of the Bartók Studio in Milan is the disc’s only drawback. The piano’s microphones sound placed as close as possible to the instrument’s insides and provide an amplified, airless sound whose quick decay is most bothersome in solo passages. Luckily, the balance between piano and strings is fine, and dynamics do register, but the performances sound in no way like two musicians playing in a hall. Nonetheless, I strongly recommend that you hear Pizzetti’s very original, compelling sonatas in these fine performances.

FANFARE: Paul Orgel
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major by Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Alberto Miodini (), Alberto Miodini (Piano), Ivan Rabaglia (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio di Parma
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1919; Italy 
Venue:  Bartok Studio, Bernareggio, MI 
Length: 30 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Sonata for Cello and Piano in F major by Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Alberto Miodini (), Enrico Bronzi (Cello), Alberto Miodini (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio di Parma
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; Italy 
Venue:  Bartok Studio, Bernareggio, MI 
Length: 32 Minutes 8 Secs. 

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