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Casella: Symphony No. 2; Scarlattiana

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Casella: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1
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Audio CD, June 29, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

As part of the Musica Italiana series, the BBC Philharmonic and Gianandrea Noseda are delighted to present two important works from Alfredo Casella's oeuvre. This largely forgotten Italian composer was one of the most important of his generation.

Italian composers in the early years of the 20th century were not much interested in the symphony. Alfredo Casella, however, was a major exception. On the advice of Giuseppe Martucci the 13-year-old Casella had been sent to the Paris Conservatoire. There, alongside outstanding fellow students as Maurice Ravel and George Enescu, he received the all-round professional training that would not have been available to him in Italy.

This did not translate Casella into a French composer. Certainly, he was much influenced in his early piano pieces not only by his composition teacher Gabriel Fauré but also by Debussy and Ravel. His next stylistic allegiance, with the Russian Nationalists was also a product of his Parisian environment, not least by way of a formative friendship with Ravel. But in his passion for the music of Gustav Mahler he was, in French circles at least, more or less on his own. As Mahler was moved to learn when he first met Casella, in Paris in 1909, the young composer knew his symphonies 'by heart.'

Symphony No.2 in C minor is dedicated to George Enescu, and here receives its premiere recording. There are many examples of themes, harmonic colours and orchestral sounds deriving directly from the music of his hero figure, Mahler but no one who knows the two composers could ever mistake one for the other. Casella has his own distinctive personality and his own agenda, and his passion turns into exhilarating frenzy.

Scarlattiana, a neo-classical work is drawn from perhaps as many as 90 of the hundreds of Scarlatti sonatas available to him, Casella presents an abundance of melody, its general light-heartedness effectively offset by such thoughtful episodes as the matching slow introductions to the opening Sinfonia and the Finale.

These two orchestral works marvellously demonstrate the fascinating tonal language of Casella and beautifully conducted by Gianandrea Noseda who has long championed his works.

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Product details

  • Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda, Yuri Torchinsky
  • Composer: Alfredo Casella
  • Audio CD (June 29, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,818 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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