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Graziani: In Viaggio Verso Breslavia

Graziani / Nasillo / Guglielmi
Release Date: 05/10/2011 
Label:  Arcana   Catalog #: 362   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Carlo Graziani
Performer:  Sara BenniciGaetano Nasillo
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

GRAZIANI Cello Sonatas: opp. 3/1, 3/2, 3/5 2/3; in e; in D; in A. Capriccio in C Gaetano Nasillo (vc); Sara Bennici (vc); Luca Guglielmi (hpd) ARCANA 362 (77:17)

Chances are that few people have heard of Carlo Graziani (c.1735–87), given that he was certainly in the shadow of other cellists of the period, such as Jean Duport or Luigi Boccherini. We know he was born in Asti and probably trained in Turin, Milan, or some other place in Lombardy or Read more Piedmont. He first appears in Paris in the ensemble of Alexandre La Pouplinière in 1763, and slowly worked his way into making his debut at the Concerts Spirituels. London called and he moved to a position at the King’s Theatre, but when his salary wasn’t paid in 1764, he apparently went out on tour, eventually winding up in Berlin as one of several cellists on the payroll of Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia.

Although he was active as a performer and apparently as a composer, his reputation remains affixed to three sets of sonatas for his instrument published in Paris and London, as the excellent booklet notes by Mara Parker state. As a result, his fame as a composer was limited, and his music has received less attention by scholars. This disc takes its name from one of the unpublished sonatas, Il viaggio da Berlino a Breslavia , which purports to be a description of his journey to Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland), but which is devoid of actual programmatic content. These are all very fine works that exploit the range and sonority of the cello as only a professional performer-composer might envision. The op. 3 works seem to have been especially written for his patron, Friedrich Wilhelm, himself an amateur cellist, and while they display good contrasting themes and virtuosity, they hide the modest technical demands of which perhaps their royal performer was only capable. The Presto of the first sonata in G Major has a nice imitative opening and scurrying about. The King’s forte, however, was a singing tone, and it is no wonder that two movements, unpublished sonatas in D and A, require portamento and expression. Here the lines contain lovely mezza di voce allowing the cello’s sonorous tone to soar. In the former’s Allegro con brio, a nice set of double-stops, made all the easier by scordatura tuning of the solo to D Major, gives the movement depth. The real eye-opener, however, is the Capriccio, which sounds for all the world like it ought to really have some sort of orchestral accompaniment. It is a solo concerto movement without the ritornellos, with skirling leaps and technical display, lyrical moments that envelop the listener in expansive tunes, and exploitation of the wide range of the instrument. While other sonatas are in a sense well written but predictable in their form and structure, these moments create enough excitement to support the fact that Graziani knew his instrument intimately and could plumb its heights and depths.

The entire op. 3 sonatas have been recorded by Antonio Meneses on Sanctus in 1996 (rereleased in 2008) in a performance that is entirely competent and musical. Gaetano Nasillo certainly achieves the same standard of excellence, and the harpsichord continuo performance of Luca Guglielmi is more present in his renditions. The nice part, however, is in such things as the Sonata in D, where the basso part seems to be a cello duet between Nasillo and Sara Bennici, the two merging into a single texture that allows Graziani’s solo lines to develop. This is a first-rate recording, and although Graziani is not about to become a household name, save for among cellists, this should appeal to those interested in some of the more esoteric chamber music of the Classical period.

FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for cello & continuo in A major, Op. 3/2 by Carlo Graziani
Performer:  Sara Bennici (Cello), Gaetano Nasillo (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Length: 12 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Sonata for cello & continuo in E minor, Op. 2/3 by Carlo Graziani
Performer:  Sara Bennici (Cello), Gaetano Nasillo (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Length: 9 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Sonata for cello & continuo in G major, Op. 3/1 by Carlo Graziani
Performer:  Sara Bennici (Cello), Gaetano Nasillo (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Length: 10 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Capriccio for solo cello in C major by Carlo Graziani
Performer:  Gaetano Nasillo (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Length: 6 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Sonata for cello & continuo in D major by Carlo Graziani
Performer:  Sara Bennici (Cello), Gaetano Nasillo (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Length: 8 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Sonata for cello & continuo in A major ("Il viaggio da Berlino a Breslavia con l'affettuosa ricevuta by Carlo Graziani
Performer:  Sara Bennici (Cello), Gaetano Nasillo (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Length: 14 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Sonata for cello & continuo in D major, Op. 3/5 by Carlo Graziani
Performer:  Gaetano Nasillo (Cello), Sara Bennici (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Length: 13 Minutes 14 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Never ceases to amaze me June 14, 2012 By Anthony G. (SANTA FE, NM) See All My Reviews "It never ceases to amaze me how composers like Graziani and his compositions--so fetching and profound as these --are overlooked. I was hypnotized by their originality and beauty, and the composer's genius. " Report Abuse
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