Goffredo Petrassi

Biography

Born: July 16, 1904; Zagarolo, Italy   Died: March 3, 2003; Rome, Italy  
Although a late bloomer, Goffredo Petrassi developed into one of Italy's most significant composers of the mid- to late twentieth century. Launching his career in the 1930s with music on par with contemporary works by Hindemith and Stravinsky, Petrassi eventually became interested in certain twelve-tone techniques without casting his lot with the serialists. His music is dynamic and colorful, although emotionally reserved by the standards of his Read more countrymen.

Petrassi enrolled in choir school once his family moved to Rome in 1911. There, his studies revolved almost entirely around Renaissance polyphony. He quit school at 15, though, to take a job in a music shop, where he was heard practicing piano by an important teacher named Alessandro Bustini, who took the young Petrassi under his wing and tutored him until he was able to enter the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in 1928. Petrassi obtained diplomas there in composition (1932) and organ (1933). He first gained notice as a composer in 1932 with his prize-winning Partita for orchestra. He focused on orchestral music through most of the 1930s, in 1934 completing the first of his signature works, the eight Concertos for Orchestra. This first essay in the form drew on Petrassi's early study of polyphony while borrowing the rhythmic vigor and polytonal tensions of Stravinsky and Casella. Concerto for Orchestra No. 1 also displayed Petrassi's brilliant mastery of orchestration, something equaled then only by Respighi.

Around this time, Petrassi also turned his attention to choral music, melding polyphony with modern harmony in such works as Salmo IX (1936) and his 1940 Magnificat. He slid from sacred subjects to philosophy in 1941 with his "dramatic madrigal" Coro dei morti, a setting of part of Leopardi's Operette morali. Here, Petrassi began to contrast tonal passages with less-tonal contrapuntal sections, generating a fairly austere sort of drama rather than indulging in the lavish, emotional effects of Respighi.

Unlike most Italian composers up to that time, Petrassi had little interest in theater music. Aside from four minor incidental scores and nine film scores, he produced only four significant dramatic works, heavy with irony: the ballets La follia di Orlando (1943) and Ritratto di Don Chisciotte (1945), and the operas Il cordovano (1948/1958) and Morte dell'aria (1950). From the 1950s on Petrassi flirted with twelve-tone techniques, but used dodecaphonic patterns only to organize and vary either small motifs or longer thematic rows that broke the twelve-tone rules by repeating notes. This can be heard as early as his Concerto for Orchestra No. 3 "Récréation concertante" (1953), and in his No. 4 through No. 6 concertos (1954 - 19957), which strongly evoke the hedonistic dodecaphony of Alban Berg. After that point, perhaps beginning with his Serenata and String Quartet (both from 1958), Petrassi's music became increasingly athematic, concentrating on timbral effects using short patterns of intervals, particularly in a series of solo and chamber works from 1969 through 1981. Petrassi also spent much of his time teaching composition, first at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia 1934 - 1936, which he left to serve as director general of Venice's Teatro La Fenice (1937 - 1940). This gave way to long stints at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory (1939 - 1959), then back at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (1959 - 1974). Read less
Browse 1-18 of 18 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Italia / Creed, SWR Vocal Ensemble Stuttgart
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93329 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacinto Scelsi,  Luigi Nono,  Ildebrando Pizzetti  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcus Creed
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
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  • 2.
    Goffredo Petrassi: Coro Di Morti; Noche Oscura; Quattro Inni Sacri; Partita
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10840 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Giorgio Berrugi,  Vasily Ladyuk
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Coro del Teatro Regio di Torino,  Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino
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  • 3.
    Europaische Chormusik / Eric Ericson, Stockholm Choir
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1158855 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Luigi Dallapiccola,  Ildebrando Pizzetti,  Lars Johan Werle  ... 
    Performer:  Marianne Mellnäs,  Björn Haugen,  Sven-Erik Alexandersson,  Carl-Eric Hellström  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Ericson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Chamber Choir,  Stockholm Radio Chorus,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra members
    CD: $26.99
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  • 4.
    Petrassi,   Cilea,   Fuga: Cello Sonatas / Massimo Macri, Giacomo, Fuga
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 573141 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi,  Francesco Cilča,  Sandro Fuga
    Performer:  Massimo Macri,  Giacomo Fuga
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  • 5.
    Goffredo Petrassi: Piano Concerto, Partita for Orchestra / Massa, Mueller, Gottinger Symphonie Orchester
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5155 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Pietro Massa
    Conductor:  Christoph-Mathias Mueller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gottinger Symphonie Orchester
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  • 6.
    Petrassi: Piano Concerto, Flute Concerto, La Follia di Orlando / La Vecchia, Rome
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573073 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Bruno Canino,  Mario Ancillotti
    Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Petrassi: Partita, Divertimento, Quattro Inni Sacri / La Vecchia
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572411 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Carlo Putelli,  Davide Malvestio
    Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Symphony Orchestra,  Coro Lirico Sinfonico Romano
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  • 8.
    Petrassi: Magnificat; Salmo IX
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10750 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Sabina Cvilak
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Turin Teatro Regio Chorus,  Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Petrassi: Concerto Per Pianoforte & Orchestra / Alberti, Tamayo, Sinfonica Nazionale Della RAI
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33824 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Alfonso Alberti
    Conductor:  Arturo Tamayo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Petrassi: Suoni Notturni, Nunc, Works For Guitar / Colone
    Label: Tactus   Catalog: 901601 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Angelo Colone
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  • 11.
    Petrassi: Poema, Kyrie, Etc / Tamayo, Pretto, Et Al
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33552 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Giampaolo Pretto,  Marco Nesi,  Pierluigi Puzzolo,  Andrea Dell'Ira  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Tamayo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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  • 12.
    Harp Xx, Twentieth Century Compositons For Solo Harp
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3308 Release Date: 11/07/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith,  Ernst Krenek,  Germaine Tailleferre,  Luciano Berio  ... 
    Performer:  Claudia Antonelli
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  • 13.
    Dallapiccola, Petrassi: Musica da Camera
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 166 Release Date: 08/22/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi,  Luigi Dallapiccola
    Performer:  Tommaso Rossi,  Arturo Viola,  Cristina Zavalloni,  Ciro Longobardi  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Lugo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Dissonanzen,  Dissonance
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    La Voce Contemporanea In Italia Vol 1 / Alterno Duo
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33708 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Azio Corghi,  Luigi Dallapiccola,  Domenico Guaccero,  Goffredo Petrassi  ... 
    Performer:  Tiziana Scandaletti,  Riccardo Piacentini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alterno Duo
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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    Canzoni / Franz Halász
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 823 Release Date: 03/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alessandro Solbiati,  Nuccio D'Angelo,  Luciano Berio,  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Franz Halász
    CD: $21.49
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  • 17.
    Petrassi: Invenzioni, Serenata, Etc / Musica D'oggi
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 5534 Release Date: 01/01/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Goffredo Petrassi
    Performer:  Velia De Vita,  Monica Berni,  Michele Vinci,  Augusto Vismara  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabio Maestri,  Luigi Lanzillotta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica D'Oggi Instrumental Group
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    20th Century Settings For Trumpet / Plog, Sanders
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 663 Release Date: 12/29/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Erickson,  Fisher Tull,  Halsey Stevens,  Anthony Plog  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Plog,  Sharon Davis,  Hal Smith,  Robert Karon  ... 
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    CD: $14.99
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