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Modern Classicists Vol. 3 - Stravinsky, Malipiero, Casella / Hogwood


Release Date: 06/14/2005 
Label:  Arte Nova   Catalog #: 927650   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor StravinskyGian-Francesco MalipieroAlfredo Casella
Performer:  Anthony Spiri
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Basel Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This disc is the third of a series called Klassizistische Moderne; Volume 1, which I have not heard, contains music by Martin, Stravinsky (Concerto in D), and Honegger; Volume 2 has been reviewed separately. The all-around excellence continues with three more works from the 1920s having a distinctly Italian flavor. The Basel Chamber Orchestra shines in the Pulcinella Suite; one can visualize its commedia dell'arte clowns (danced on one occasion by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins) scampering nimbly about. Solo wind-players are superb, the bassoonist unbelievable. This Read more performance is even cleaner than my decades-long favorite, by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, and the digital sound is far superior.

Italy had been the breeding ground for neo-Classicism in the 20th century: Tommasini/Scarlatti and Resphigi/Rossini scores had impressed Diaghilev, who suggested the method to Stravinsky. Gian Francesco Malipiero wrote several pieces in that manner: La Cimarosiana , Gabrielliana , and Stradivario . Alfredo Casella had much success with his Paganiniana , and even the ascetic Luigi Dallapiccola wrote a Tartiniana. The two works here were in turn influenced by Stravinsky, especially by Pétrouchka. Malipiero's Ricercari is a suite of five brief movements that use classical forms but have something of the mystical coloration of Respighi's Pines and Fountains , without the bombast. The piece has much charm, striking a perfect balance between the serious and the comic.

Casella's Scarlattiana is lighter if longer, its many pleasures lying close to the surface. It too has five movements, but there is much variety within each; the notes tell us that Casella drew from 80 of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas. A solo piano joins an ensemble of 32 instruments in many of the sections. I have mixed reactions, enjoying the music immensely at some hearings but finding it pretty silly at others. At Arte Nova's rock-bottom price, this series is well worth investigating, for both the crisp Stravinsky performances and the lesser-known music.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

1. Pulcinella Suite by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Basel Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922/1947; France 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Culture and Convention Center, Lucerne, 
Length: 21 Minutes 18 Secs. 
2. Ricercari by Gian-Francesco Malipiero
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Basel Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Culture and Convention Center, Lucerne, 
Length: 11 Minutes 29 Secs. 
3. Scarlattiana for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 44 by Alfredo Casella
Performer:  Anthony Spiri (Piano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Basel Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Culture and Convention Center, Lucerne, 
Length: 26 Minutes 6 Secs. 

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