Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Casella, Alfredo. (1883-1947) Orchestral works.

From my collection
Bought in 2010.
First listen: 12-2-2014.
Second listen: 16-4-2014.
Third listen: 4-4-2017.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: November 2009 and January 2010.
Recording venue: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England.
Recording engineer: Stephen Rinker.
Running time: 76:58.
Classical relevance to me: Essential.
Reference performance.
State of the Art sound.

Works.

1) Symphony No. 2, opus 12. (1908-10)
2) Scarlattiana, opus 44. (1926)* 

Performers.

Martin Roscoe, Piano.* 
BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda.

A fascinating composer. One of his teachers was Faure, and influences in his music can be heard from Debussy and Ravel, but also Mahler, and Martucci. But whatever may be the case he was a composer who very much stood on his own feet in the musical scene of his time. What I think is fascinating is,

that the first two movements of the symphony start with a ostinato, rhythmic ostinato first movement, and the second movement a driving ostinato. They so shaped the rest of the movement, but also propels them immediately  into the right mood. The finale is a cauldron of heat and steam, and combines darkness doom laden melodies with rhythmic brutality  Almost a dance of the bad witches, fascinating though. Macaber too.The epilogue movement, ( Adagio mystico) begins like a Mahlerian dance, with some deft writing for the strings, but throughout the whole movement Mahler is speaking, although not in his contemplative style, but in a ever changing cycle of constantly changing rhythms and a certain brutality, like you hear often from this composer, always restless, never lingering too long on a certain motive. Its a massive work, emotionally, and is an astonishing feat for a composer that young. And technically very well written! It certainly evokes many images in my head.
And again the characteristic ostinato rhythms are applied throughout Scarlattiana, a melodious work, with a few small dissonances but never disturbing the flow of this music. A lot of colour and fine melodies. Music very much of its time, Casella takes a important place on the stage, albeit in a sense he is a forgotten composer too. He is a piece of the musical puzzle, and I am surprised how many times I see Martucci walking by, as a constant shadow. Doesn't do him any harm:)
The Chandos recordings are state of the art, as are the performances, a class better as the Naxos recordings, good as they are. 



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