Riccardo Muti takes time out here to present some of the lesser known, rarely heard orchestral scores of his fellow countrymen, and a superbly played, enjoyable concert it is too. Proceedings commence with a fine and spirited performance of Alfredo Casella's divertimento Paganiniana—not a great piece by any means but a work possessing plenty of charm and humour nevertheless; the outer movements are a bit of a romp (very opera buffa) and must have been as much fun to write as they clearly are for the La Scala Philharmonic to play. The tone and temperature rise a few degrees in Martucci's gorgeously lyrical Nocturne, Op. 70 No. 1—a sort of Mahler-meets-Puccini-meets-Respighi love song—and this is nicely contrasted with the affable if somewhatRead more lightweight musings of his Novelletta and Giga. The high point of the disc, though, must surely be Muti's account of Busoni's Turandot Suite, Op. 41, the work that, after several tinkerings, finally ended up forming the basis of his 1917 opera. Muti opts for the first version of the suite dating from 1905—that is, the omission of the movements Verzweiflung und Ergebund and Altoums Warnung which Busoni added as appendices to the suite in 1911 and 1917 respectively. A pity, since what we have here is a fine and sensitively conducted performance that would have been greatly enhanced by their inclusion. The recording, made in the Teatro Abanella, Milan, is exceptionally clear and well focused, if at times a little dry.'
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