Franco Donatoni

Biography

Born: June 9, 1927; Verona, Italy   Died: August 22, 2000  
Franco Donatoni is among the most prominent Italian composers of his generation, along with his contemporaries Berio and Nono. He studied with Ettore Desderi, Lno Liviabella, and in Rome with Pizzetti. A noted pedagogue, he has taught at the Bologna Conservatory, the Verdi conservatories of Turin and Milan, and from 1960 at Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. Donatoni's most prominent early influence was Bartók, along with his countryman Read more Petrassi. To them one might trace the roots of Donatoni's distinctively vibrant rhythmic style and concern for instrumental color.

In the 1950s, Donatoni entered the sphere of influence of Bruno Maderna, who was in Verona at that time, and became a member of the Darmstadt circle including Boulez and Stockhausen. Boulez's music was a strong influence, and Donatoni began working with strict serial techniques in the late 1950s. By 1960 Donatoni had come under the spell of John Cage and the use of chance procedures in music. This elicited a crisis of faith that led to a complete cessation of compositional productivity by 1965. In 1966 he wrote what stands virtually as his first extant, characteristic piece, Etwas ruhiger im Ausdruck (Somewhat Peaceful in Outlook); the composer has destroyed much of his prior music, considering that early oeuvre derivative. (Some of the music that was in circulation by that time remains available and published.) Etwas ruhiger im Ausdruck is based on a fragment of a Schoenberg piano piece that includes the title phrase as a performance instruction. Donatoni found a new way to compose via the proliferation of Schoenberg's seed material.

Another crisis arose in 1974, precipitating a break in productivity that lasted more than two years. The first piece after that hiatus was Ash, written on commission from the Chiagi academy. Donatoni's wife convinced him to accept the commission and complete the work. Although the composer is convinced that his crises reappear every seven years or so, there have been none so devastating as that of the mid-1970s.

Donatoni's late work is characterized by driven rhythms, quick-cut changes in texture, and compulsive development of constrained melodic material. Pieces from this period include the quasi-cello concerto Le Ruisseau sur l'escalier (The Brook on the Staircase, 1980), L'ultima sera (1980), Tema (1982), the woodwind quintet Blow (1989), and the solo piano Françoise Variations (1983 - 1996). He has written a great deal of vocal work, though his instrumental work is better known. In a macro-scale refraction of the development processes within his pieces, Donatoni continues to reuse and re-contextualize material from one piece to the next. For example, his instrumental work Tema uses material from the vocal-and-ensemble work L'ultima sera. Titles, too, are subject to anagrammatic and other transformations, leading to chains of relationships: for example, Tema deriving from the middle part of L'ultima, and the piece names Ala and Rima combining for the later title Alamari. To some degree the composer considers each piece a part of a single, larger work comprising his output as a whole, an ongoing transformation of a limited amount of expression, material, and processes. The technique and invention of this output relies on, but is not limited by, Franco Donatoni's assimilation of the major tenets of avant-garde musical thought since the 1950s. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 32 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Chest of Toys / The Riot Ensemble
    Label: Coviello Classics   Catalog: 91804 Release Date: 05/18/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Kotcheff,  Lee Westwood,  Yukiko Watanabe,  Monica Pearce  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Riot Ensemble
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  • 2.
    Songs of Solitude / Sallinen
    Label: Alba Records   Catalog: 413 Release Date: 04/06/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Outi Tarkiainen,  Olivier Messiaen,  Steve Reich,  Luciano Berio  ... 
    Performer:  Lauri Sallinen
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  • 3.
    Donatoni: Chamber Works / Ensemble Adapter
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 15021 Release Date: 01/19/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Donatoni
    Performer:  Gunnhildur Einarsdóttir,  Kristjana Helgadóttir,  Ingólfur Vilhjálmsson,  Elmar Schrammel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Adapter
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  • 4.
    Donatoni: Abyss / Angius, Caroli, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 37075 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Donatoni
    Performer:  Katarzyna Orczyk,  Mario Caroli
    Conductor:  Marco Angius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto
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  • 5.
    Argot / Mathieu, Arakawa
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 6105 Release Date: 07/14/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Donatoni,  Pierre Boulez,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Veronique Mathieu,  Jasmin Arakawa
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  • 6.
    Rasch / Arcis Saxophone Quartet
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 17466 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Gershwin,  Franco Donatoni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcis Saxophon Quartett
    CD: $18.99
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  • 7.
    Piccoloworks / Schwaabe, Schulze
    Label: Metier   Catalog: 28562 Release Date: 02/17/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Levente Gyongyosi,  Gert Wilden,  Franco Donatoni,  Mike Mower  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Schwaabe,  Jan Philip Schulze
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  • 8.
    Casella: Divertimento for Fulvia / Iorio, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573748 Release Date: 01/13/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfredo Casella,  Franco Donatoni,  Giorgio Federico Ghedini,  Gian-Francesco Malipiero
    Conductor:  Damian Iorio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
    CD: $12.99
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  • 9.
    Rico Gubler
    Label: Musiques Suisses   Catalog: 148 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rico Gubler,  Franco Donatoni,  Roger Redgate,  Edison Denisov
    Performer:  Rico Gubler,  Stefan Wirth,  Egidius Streiff
    Conductor:  Michael Wendeberg,  Jonathan Stockhammer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Novum Zurich
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  • 10.
    Pierre Boulez: The Complete Erato Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2564619048 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Igor Stravinsky,  Pierre Boulez,  Luciano Berio  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre Amoyal,  Peter Serkin,  Simon Estes,  Ann Murray  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ensemble InterContemporain,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $62.49
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  • 11.
    Donatoni: Orchestral Works / Sugiyama, Tokyo Philharmonic
    Label: Neos   Catalog: 1141 Release Date: 08/19/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Donatoni
    Conductor:  Yoichi Sugiyama
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
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    CD: $15.99
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  • 12.
    Bach - Donatoni
    Label: Amadeus Arte   Catalog: 14001 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Eugčne Ysa˙e,  Franco Donatoni,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Performer:  Jacopo Francini
    CD: $14.99
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  • 13.
    In Between
    Label: Col Legno   Catalog: 20424 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Aperghis,  Beat Furrer,  Younghi Pagh-Paan,  Franco Donatoni  ... 
    Performer:  Reiner Wehle,  Sabine Meyer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Catch
    CD: $19.99
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  • 14.
    Hot / Ryan Muncy
    Label: New Focus   Catalog: 130 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Aperghis,  Anthony Cheung,  Aaron Cassidy,  Marcos Balter  ... 
    Performer:  Nadia Sirota,  Ben Melsky,  Claire Chase
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Dal Niente
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  • 15.
    Terrestre / Claire Chase
    Label: New Focus   Catalog: 122 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kaija Saariaho,  Franco Donatoni,  Elliott Carter,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Performer:  Kivie Cahn-Lipman,  Claire Chase,  Nathan Davis,  Nuiko Wadden  ... 
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  • 16.
    Zingiber /  Sentieri Selvaggi
    Label: Cantaloupe   Catalog: 21067 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paolo Coggiola,  Carlo Boccadoro,  Luciano Berio,  Carlo Galante  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Boccadoro
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sentieri Selvaggi
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  • 17.
    Gyorgy Ligeti: Sonata For Viola
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1100 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger,  Franco Donatoni,  Helmut Lachenmann,  Giacinto Scelsi  ... 
    Performer:  Genevičve Strosser
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  • 18.
    Franco Donatoni - 10 Anni Dopo
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33838 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Donatoni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Divertimento Ensemble
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  • 19.
    Chalumeau - Kovacs, Donatoni, Bassett, Komives, Hartig
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2965 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Krzysztof Penderecki,  Ida Gotkovsky,  William Bolcom,  Edison Denisov  ... 
    Performer:  Caroline Hartig
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  • 20.
    La Voce Contemporanea In Italia, Vol. 4
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33833 Release Date: 06/09/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sylvano Bussotti,  Mauro Bortolotti,  Marcello Abbado,  Franco Donatoni  ... 
    Performer:  Tiziana Scandaletti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alterno Duo
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    Viva Concertante! - Gompper, Webern, Donatoni, Etc / Trevor, Dronov, Gompper, Crouch, Et Al
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1110/11 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jeremy Dale Roberts,  Ching-Chu Hu,  Ketty Nez,  Joseph Dangerfield  ... 
    Performer:  Christine Rutledge,  Scott Conklin,  Hannah Holman,  Anthony Arnone  ... 
    Conductor:  David Gompper,  Igor Dronov,  Kirk Trevor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Center for New Music Ensemble,  Studio for New Music,  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $35.99
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  • 22.
    20th Century Guitar Works / Timo Korhonen
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: ODE730 Release Date: 09/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leo Brouwer,  Franco Donatoni,  Olli Koskelin,  Alberto Ginastera
    Performer:  Timo Korhonen
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Donatoni Edition Vol 6 Donatoni: Poll, About, Etc
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33773 Release Date: 01/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Donatoni
    Performer:  Stefano Cardi
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    En Torno A Luis De Pablo / Grupo Sax-ensemble
    Label: Verso   Catalog: 2041 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Donatoni,  Sofia Gubaidulina
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grupo Sax-Ensemble
    CD: $14.99
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  • 25.
    Musiche Del Novecento Italiano - Berio, Dallapiccola, Etc
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33671 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfredo Casella,  Ottorino Respighi,  Goffredo Petrassi,  Luigi Dallapiccola  ... 
    Performer:  Alberto Carnevale Ricci,  Katya Genghini,  Monica Bozzo,  Alfonso Alberti  ... 
    Conductor:  Tito Ceccherini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Risognanze
    CD: $17.99
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