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  • Casella: Symphony No. 1; Concerto for Strings, Timpani and Percussion
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Casella: Symphony No. 1; Concerto for Strings, Timpani and Percussion


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Audio CD, June 29, 2010
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Casella: Symphony No. 1; Concerto for Strings, Timpani and Percussion + Casella: Symphony No. 2 - A notte alta for Piano and Orchestra + Symphony 3 / Elegia Eroica
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Editorial Reviews

This first of four recordings of Alfredo Casella's orchestral music couples his first and last purely orchestral works. Completed the day before his 23rd birthday, the Symphony No. 1, which here receives it world première recording, exudes a self-confidence few composers could match at such an age. Although it abounds in echoes of other music, at its best above all in the beautiful central slow movement the Symphony has a truly distinctive identity: Casella's fondness for dark, even crepuscular sonorities can be heard in the sometimes stunningly imaginative orchestration. After that,
the driving motoric rhythms and astringent harmonies and timbres of the Concerto, Op. 69 erupt like
the work of a different man entirely.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 1 in B minor, Op. 5: I. Lento grave - Piu mosso - Tempo I: Un poco mosso - Allegro vivo - Lento - Tempo lento maestoso - Tempo I: Allegro vivoRome Symphony Orchestra12:12Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 1 in B minor, Op. 5: II. Adagio, quasi andanteRome Symphony Orchestra12:24Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 1 in B minor, Op. 5: III. Lento molto - Poco piu mosso - Allegro vivo, energicoRome Symphony Orchestra20:17Album Only
listen  4. Concerto for Piano, Timpani, Percussion and Strings, Op. 69: I. Allegro alquanto pesanteDesiree Scuccuglia 5:45$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Concerto for Piano, Timpani, Percussion and Strings, Op. 69: II. Sarabanda: Grave, ampioDesiree Scuccuglia 8:45Album Only
listen  6. Concerto for Piano, Timpani, Percussion and Strings, Op. 69: III. Allegro molto vivaceDesiree Scuccuglia 6:54$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma
  • Conductor: Francesco La Vecchia
  • Composer: Alfredo Casella
  • Audio CD (June 29, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B003EVPNJA
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,162 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dace Gisclard on October 9, 2010
Format: Audio CD
From acquaintance with Casella's piano music, I had already known that the composer was a stylistic polyglot (the instigator of the "a la maniere" series to which Ravel also contributed). However, this first recording of his rather lengthy Symphony No.1 (slightly over 44 minutes, dating from 1904-05) was a surprise. The alternately brooding and nervously sputtering first movement sounds like it was written by a Russian futurist of the period between Myaskovsky and Shostakovich. The Slavic angst and long-arching melodies of the slow movement could have fooled me that it was by Gliere or Enescu.

For the finale, Casella allows the Germans take over. In the introduction, the fanfares of Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony are not far away. In the body of the movement proper, Brucknerian sequences, unisons and brass chorales alternate with passages reminiscent of Brahms and Strauss, leading to a serene ending.

The Concerto is startling different. Although the manner is "neo-baroque," the overstuffed textures are late romantic--it sounds a great deal like the machine-age music of Honneger. Here, the quartal harmony of Hindemith and the rhythmic violence of Stravinsky amalgamate in a blast furnace, whilst effigies of the Brandenburg Concerti menacingly lumber past on conveyor belts. Somehow, I was reminded of the vague unease of Giorgio di Chirico's metaphysical paintings.

This CD is part of a four-disc series devoted to Casella's orchestral works, which includes his three symphonies. (The very Mahlerian No.2 is on Casella: Symphony No. 2 - A notte alta for Piano and Orchestra.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Trtek on November 18, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Without a doubt, the big take-away from Naxos' series of Alfredo Casella discs is the one containing the Symphony No. 2. This one, with the composers First Symphony and the Concerto for Strings, Piano, Timpani and Percussion, is nowhere in the same league but still has its moments, pretty much all in the symphony. As others have suggested, there's a strong Russian flavor to the work, at least in the beginning, and if it becomes a bit of a stylistic mishmash, with some Gallic touches and then a Germanic finale, it's still reasonably interesting mash, though at times I wish it would settle down and take out citizenship somewhere definitive. The Concerto, on the other hand, sounded to me a bit like many other 20th Century works that can become rather interchangeable. It's not bad, just not outstanding. So what is my recommendation. Given Naxos' bargain price, I'd say it's worth it to spring for the symphony: Despite its split personality, at least it's got personality and can bear the demands of repeated listening.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By hh on December 24, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure what to expect of this disk given the reviews (here and elsewhere) and the liner notes I perused before listening ("dogging Stravinsky's footsteps" of writing in a wide range (too-wide?) of music). The jewel case evens warns of "crepuscular sonorities", whatever that might be, that sent a shiver up my spine and prompted me to keep a small tube of hydrocortisone handy. I am happy to report that I listened all the way through without harm. In fact, I found the disk pleasing and a good bit of fun. What others found to be troublesome (jumping about stylistically from movement to movement), I found novel and engaging. This first symphony was composed when Casella was just 23, so there is a certain amount of finding oneself that is to be expected, but I thought the presentation was an enjoyable buffet. As noted by others, the first movement owes a big debt to the Ruskies, but it comes off with a softer, Italianate patina. The chest pounding, vodka swilling drive is definitely up front, but somehow dreamier as if washed gently by the spirit of Onegin dancing in the wings. The second movement is very much what I would call romantic Italian, think Cavalleria Rusticana. You could get lost up in the clouds and need a ladder to climb back down when it's done. The final movement is unmistakably German, but again, with Italian flourishes and bridges. The liner notes claim that at least the composer avoided any French influence in the piece, but midway through that third movement, I'd swear the French impressionists pop on stage for a quick cameo. And it's all good. The last movement is alas, a bit too ambitious and the drama, more than once, goes over the top (think Nora Desmond's eyes in close up). Still, the disk is a pleasant surprise and a worthy addition to my collection.Read more ›
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Casellas Second and Third are interesting but not so remarkable as First. Strings concerto makes a good extra.
La Vecchia is an important conductor from Italy, a country acquainted much more with opera than with symphony, despite strong exceptions as Respighi.
This Casella First has Wagnerian harmonies, Brucknerian contrasts and Mahlerian tunes, a multicolored precious stone.
We have to recall Sibelius and R. Strauss , whose romanticism lasted until 1950. There is nothing wrong with neo-romantic composers mantaining ecletic influences.
Casella s First, without vulgarity, displays 3 movements.The second one opens with a very tuneful "anthem" which is also used on Symphony 2 less movingly. At the finale, te "First" brings a new Wagnerian hymn melody, followed by return of former "anthem" in solemn mood.
I know many single symphonies and I own complete cycles by Haydn, Mozart, Ries, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Dvorak, Brahms, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Mahler, V-Williams, Shostakovitch, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Simpson, Bax,Nielsen, Toch, Rautavaara, Wellesz, Schnittke.
When we review here Beethoven or Mozart, we judge interpretation. When there is a rare work, we have to herald both the conductor and the piece itself.
I must confess the discovery of an unknown symphony has never risen my feelings like this one did.

PORTUGUES: A Segunda e Terceira de Casella são interessantes, mas nao notáveis como a Primeira. O Concerto para Cordas faz um bom extra. La Vecchia mostra-se um importante regente da Itália, país relacionado mais á ópera que à sinfonia, apesar de fortes exceções como Respighi.
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Casella: Symphony No. 1; Concerto for Strings, Timpani and Percussion
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