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Pizzetti: Canti Della Stagione Alta, Tre Canzoni / Ballista, Canino, Caiello, Windsor

Release Date: 09/11/2012 
Label:  Bottega Discantica   Catalog #: 204   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Bruno CaninoAlda CaielloAntonio BallistaLorna Windsor
Conductor:  Antonio Ballista
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PIZZETTI Piano Concerto, “Canti della stagione alta.” 1 Tre canzoni. 2 Due canti d’amore. 3 Prelude. 4 Foglio d’album 5 1 Bruno Canino (pn); Antonio Ballista, 1 cond, 3,4,5 Read more class="ARIAL12">(pn); 1 Pomeriggi Musicali O; 2 Alda Cajello (sop); 3 Lorna Windsor (sop); 2 Le Architetture in Quartetto LA BOTTEGA DISCANTICA BDI204 (65:08 & Italian only)

The Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968) had something of a hit late in life with his 1958 opera based on Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral , but he had written much vocal music prior to that. A contemporary of Respighi, whose music his resembles in several respects, Pizzetti was similarly interested in old music and equally capable of whipping an orchestra into a lush, romantic lather.

Regular readers will know I am a particular fan of this composer, especially his lovely orchestral triptych the Concerto dell’estate , but the Piano Concerto subtitled Songs of the High Season had failed to impress until now. I am aware of three previous recordings of this 35-minute work and have heard two of them: a messily recorded Marco Polo disc from 1998 (reviewed by Paul A. Snook in Fanfare 23:3) and a live recording from 2006 with Aldo Ciccolini as soloist and Friedemann Layer conducting the Montpellier National Orchestra (Accord 480 0790). The language of the concerto is tonal, less antiquated than that of Respighi’s near-contemporary Concerto in modo misolidio but with similarly rich scoring and more memorable melodic figures. It unfolds rather like a “Golden Age” Hollywood film score, requiring from the performers the same kind of instant atmosphere, spontaneity and tension. This it gets from Bruno Canino and a Milanese ensemble under Antonio Ballista; they characterize every moment, be it lyrical or dramatic. By comparison, Ciccolini is too subdued and opaque (likewise his orchestra’s contribution), though no allowance need be made for the fact that Ciccolini was 81 when he recorded the work. Canino, an interesting pianist who for many years was accompanist to the avant-garde soprano Cathy Berberian, was a mere 73 at the time of this performance. I do need to add, though, that the recording—taped in the Teatro dal Verme in Milan—is one-dimensional and even contains what sounds like tape hiss at the beginning (though I cannot imagine how, as it is classified as DDD). If I had read that this was a well-preserved radio broadcast of 30 years ago I would not have been surprised. Nevertheless, the felicities of the performance override such considerations; Canino’s is certainly the best available version of a generous work well worth hearing.

The song cycles and short piano works make for an enjoyable addition. The two sopranos have warm voices, but Cajello tends to become tremulous in midrange; she is happier up high. Both singers give the impression that a more detailed range of expression would result from greater familiarity with the music. The song texts are included in the CD booklet but only in Italian.

Canti della stagione alta is the main game, and because of the concerto’s vivid performance this disc is strongly recommended.

FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

Canti della stagione alta, concerto for piano & orchestra by Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Bruno Canino (Piano)
Conductor:  Antonio Ballista
Period: Modern 
Written: 1930; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2008 
Venue:  Teatro Dal Verme, Milano 
Length: 35 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Songs (3) for voice & string quartet by Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Alda Caiello ()
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 01/2009 
Venue:  Parr. S. Camillo de Lellis, Roma 
Length: 17 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Canti d'amore (2), for voice & piano by Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Antonio Ballista (Piano), Lorna Windsor ()
Period: Modern 
Written: 1933 
Date of Recording: 12/2008 
Venue:  Baroque Hall of the SMC, Ivrea, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
L'ombra, prelude for piano by Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1942 
Date of Recording: 12/2008 
Venue:  Baroque Hall of the SMC, Ivrea, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Foglio d'Album, for piano by Ildebrando Pizzetti
Performer:  Antonio Ballista (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1906 
Date of Recording: 12/2008 
Venue:  Baroque Hall of the SMC, Ivrea, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 

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