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Casella: Concerto For Orchestra; A Notte Alta; La Donna Serpente Symphonic Fragments / Noseda, BBC Philharmonic

Casella / Roscoe / Bbc Philharmonic Orch / Noseda
Release Date: 05/29/2012 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10712   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alfredo Casella
Performer:  Martin Roscoe
Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Alfredo Casella composed his Concerto for Orchestra in 1937 for the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam and Willem Mengelberg. At the time, there were very few works around bearing that title; the most famous was probably Hindemith’s brief essay in the form, and the neo-baroque energy of Casella’s work recalls Hindemith’s work, although this piece is typically sunnier, more lyrical, and considerably more traditionally melodic. The music is nevertheless extremely brilliant and wonderfully enjoyable; the sound clip below offers a tiny taste of the opening of the finale. Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic play the work with plenty of fire and drive in this premiere recording; why it’s not a repertory item is completely beyond Read more imagining.

A notte alta (“In Deepest Night”) is a tone poem for piano and orchestra whose closest analogue might be Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, or something similar. The music had personal significance for the composer, and supposedly reflects his emotional response to an abortive love affair in the early years of the 20th century. The music is certainly evocative, impressionistic, nocturnal, mysterious, sensual, and all of that. This is the work’s second recording, the first being part of Naxos’ excellent Casella orchestral music series; this version is a couple of minutes quicker, but both are beautifully done and equally compelling. The Naxos comes with that label’s slightly finer version of the Second Symphony, and I don’t mind having both.

The Symphonic Fragments from the opera La donna serpent are witty, exotic, and very colorfully scored. The story is a Goldoni comedy that also furnished the story for Wagner’s Die Feen, and the only problem with these fragments is that they are indeed a bit, well, fragmentary. No qualms at all, though, about the performance, which is brilliant, and like everything on the disc very well engineered. Casella remains one of the few unquestionably great 20th-century composers who has yet to earn the acclaim he deserves. You owe it to yourself to get to know him.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

A notte alta, Op. 30 by Alfredo Casella
Performer:  Martin Roscoe (Piano)
Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Italy 
Date of Recording: 2011 
Venue:  MediaCity UK, Salford  
Length: 19 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Poema musicale per Pianoforte ed Orchestra - À Yvonne. 
Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 61 by Alfredo Casella
Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 2011 
Venue:  MediaCity UK, Salford  
Length: 26 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Dedication: À Willem Mengelberg ed all'orchestra del Concertgebouw di Amsterdam

Movement I: Sinfonia. Allegro ma non troppo - Poco meno mosso - Calmo - Tempo, un poco animato - 8:22

Movement II: Passacaglia. Molto grave (Andante molto moderato) - 11:36
Variazione I
Variazione II
Variazione III Pochissimo meno mosso
Variazione IV L'istesso tempo
Variazione V Un poco più mosso
Variazione VI Ancora un poco più mosso
Variazione VII L'istesso tempo
Variazione VIII Molto larghetto - Divertimento Tempo del principle
Variazione IX (tema aumentato) Dolce e sereno
Variazione X (canone alla quinta) Sempre l'istesso tempo
Variazione XI Pochissimo più mosso
Variazione XII L'istesso tempo
Variazione XIII Molto tranquillo
Variazione XIV Molto calmo ed espressivo. Calmando e diminuendo

Movement III: Inno. Allegro impetuoso ed animato - Molto sonoro, ma nobile e non fragoroso - 6:47

La donna serpente: Symphonic Fragments, Op. 50 by Alfredo Casella
Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 2011 
Venue:  MediaCity UK, Salford  
Length: 26 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Part 1: À Fritz Reiner
1.Musica del sogno di re altidor. Andante (Tempo di Berceuse) 2:50
2. Interludio. Andante moderato 1:22
3. Marcia Guerriera. Tempo di marcia (piuttosto vivace ma non troppo). 5:15

Part 2: À Bernardino Molinari
1. Sinfonia Allegro vivacissimo. Pocchissimo meno mosso - Riprendeno - 5:25
2. Preludio Lento, ma non troppo. Sempre più fortissimo 6:46
3. Battaglia e Finale Allegro vivacissimo. Sempre fortissimo - 4:23


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