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Maderna: Piano Concertos; Quadrivium

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Audio CD, November 15, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Long considered lost, the two entirely distinctive versions of Bruno Maderna' strikingly expressive 1942 Piano Concerto here receive their premiere recording. Maderna was still immersed in the world of Bartók as a brilliant young graduate, and this
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Orchestra della Fondazioone 'Arena di Verona'
  • Conductor: Miotto
  • Composer: Maderna
  • Audio CD (November 15, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,022 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Michael Schell on July 14, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Bruno Maderna might be the most underrated Italian composer of the 20th century. In his own day he was better known as a conductor, and like Boulez he exploited this role to become an important emissary of new music, though he also performed works from the standard orchestral and operatic repertory. Additionally, Maderna taught composition, and co-founded the first electronic music studio in Italy (only the third in all of Europe). Amid all this leadership activity, Maderna was an eclectic composer, noted for three important oboe concertos (written in an uncompromising pointillist or post-serial style), the humorous opera Satyricon (itself stylistically eclectic), various film scores, and some fine early tape pieces like Le Rire. Maderna's stylistic versatility probably contributes to his obscurity, but I find his music more interesting than, say, Luigi Nono, and feel that it deserves to come out of the long shadow cast across Italian postmodernism by Luciano Berio. This recording combines two early, practically unknown neoclassical pieces with a longer and more important mature work.

The Piano Concerto from 1942 is presented in both its original version and in a two-piano reduction that Maderna made a few years later. It's basically a student work, and has little in it that anticipates the reach of Maderna's later compositions. Next up is the 1948 Concerto for two pianos and instruments. In its instrumentation and its thematic and harmonic material it unashamedly displays its indebtedness to Bartók's Sonata for two pianos and percussion. A prominent theme featured in the fast section that picks up about halfway through even emphasizes repeated notes like the main theme of the Bartók sonata.
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