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Solbiati: Sinfonia Seconda, Die Sterne Des Leidlands

Release Date: 08/07/2007 
Label:  Stradivarius   Catalog #: 33760   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alessandro Solbiati
Conductor:  Daniel Kawka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SOLBIATI Sinfonia seconda. Sinfonia. Die Sterne des Leidlands Daniel Kawka, cond; RAI Natl SO STRADIVARIUS 33760 (64:27)

Alessandro Solbiati (b.1956) is a pupil of Franco Donatoni. Recordings of his music are quite hard to find, as apart from Stradivarius his music has appeared on ADDA, Ermitage, and Phoenix, so anything new is to be welcomed. Stradivarius is in fact a company that is providing a consistent, reliable and sterling service to new music and remains an invaluable Read more resource for those of us who wish to explore contemporary Italian music.

Solbiati writes his own booklet notes. He begins with a philosophical consideratin of the nature of form and what it means, including a discussion of the biological/organic workings of form and the architecture of sound events. His aim, he says, is to “infuse new music with what has always been true, alive and common throughout the history of composition.” High ideals, and if the music on this disc is anything to go by, Solbiati is a composer of the utmost integrity.

Strangely, it is the Second Sinfonia of 2005 that comes first in the playing order. The modernism is hard-hitting. Scrapings, clusters, squeals, and shrieks all are part of the expressive vocabulary, leading to a “trill fire” whose structural purpose is to obliterate the preceding gestures. The two movements are absolutely equidurational, according to the composer (although Stradivarius gives 12”30 and 12”29!). The two movements are separated by a twenty minute silence (not on the disc) to be marked by the poor old conductor holding his arms in the air. The second movement is, if anything, more primal but in a rarefied sense. Melodies struggle to emerge from the frozen sonic crysalis in a movement marked by its prevailing delicacy.

The Sinfonia was composed between 1998 and 2005. It is in four movements, with a Danza as second movement and the slow movement (marked “Intenso”) being placed third. Solbiati’s love of dark grumblings is once again in evidence at the opening (marked “Profundo”). This time it sounds almost ritualistic, with glacial sonorities as timbral contrast. The “Danze” uses snippets of Schubert (Ländler) and Dowland (a Galliard) in a collage before the sheer beauty of the slow movement intervenes. Personally I love the two-trumpet fanfare play that marks the onset of the finale, a last movement that includes a significant chorale theme.

Die Sterne des Leidlands comes as part of what seems to be Solbiati’s magnum opus . Again in his booklet notes, he sagely reflects on the fact that without deadlines we are lost and that the generating force of the piece from which these three movements are taken comes from inside the composer and not as a result of any commission!. The whole project involves setting to music the 10th of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duisener Elegien . The first movement is the very start of the piece and concerns the Pain as path to Profundity spiritual ideal (especially, although not uniquely, in Buddhism) contrasted with the mindset of today, which is predesigned to avoid pain at any cost. The writing is complex, but never overbearingly so. The second movement reflects the journey of two souls from the land of the living into what the composer calls a “desolate land.” The music is appropriately still. The finale reflects the soul’s journey to the light, the “Source of all Joy” (quotations are once more from the composer).

Stimulating fare. Bear in mind this is music that responds best to the utmost concentration from the listener. Efforts will be rewarded.

FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

Die Sterne des Leidlands by Alessandro Solbiati
Conductor:  Daniel Kawka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Sinfonia by Alessandro Solbiati
Conductor:  Daniel Kawka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998-2005 
Sinfonia no 2 by Alessandro Solbiati
Conductor:  Daniel Kawka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005 

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