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Petrassi: Partita; Divertimento; Quattro inni sacri; Coro de morti

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Audio CD, March 26, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Goffredo Petrassi was one of the most important Italian composers of the twentieth century. Beginning with the previously unrecorded Divertimento in C, this release focuses on Petrassi's compositions of the 1930s and 40s. Employing an unusual mix of styles and idioms, as well as brief quotations from Ravel and Stravinsky, the Partita was the first work to win him renown. The eloquent Quattro inni sacri (Four Sacred Hymns), described by the composer as 'music of today for the faithful of today', were intended as an antidote 'to the unctuous and conformist style in use in our churches' but, in reality, are only ever heard in the concert hall. Soon after the start of the Second World War, Petrassi wrote his meditative madrigale drammatico, Coro di Morti (Chorus of the Dead), the composer's first setting of a non-sacred text and perhaps his finest achievement in the field of vocal music.

Review

'This is music that's full of sunshine and full of ideas, and Maestro La Vecchia his orchestra more than do it justice.' --KUHF Radio
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Orchestra Sinfonica Di Roma
  • Conductor: La Vecchia
  • Composer: Petrassi
  • Audio CD (March 26, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00B5UBGHA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,049 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
There may be a renaissance evolving when it comes to the forgotten but no less important Italian composers of the 20th Century. The most popular of these, Puccini and Respighi, have tended to obscure the diversity and impact of a significant body of work by composers only known and loved in Italy but who rightly belong to the world. The recent interest in Casella makes the case that far too many talented composers have been overlooked. Now, thanks to Naxos and Chandos, Goffredo Petrassi is coming to light. When I first heard this Naxos CD, I was astounded that a composer of this magnitude was virtually unknown here.

It is quite evident, despite his conventional education, that the influence of Stravinsky struck this composer like a lightning bolt. The world premiere recording of Petrassi's 1930 Divertimento is a case in point. The Allegro has the drive and excitement of Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements or the Symphony in C, until one realizes that the latter was written in 1938. But Stravinsky had already adopted a neo-Classical style at an earlier date (Pulcinella), and his influence was felt all over the musical world. In the Divertimento's lovely Andante, the gorgeous music flows not unlike the atmospheric music of the Shrove Tide Fair in Petrushka. The plaintive quality of the Pavana reminds one of Hindemith.

In the Partita, Petrassi comes into his own. His music is abstract but not atonal, both passionate and mournful, and there is a playfulness in the Giga. One can easily attribute an affinity with Hindemith, Honegger and Frank Martin. There is a haunting and mysterious quality in the Quattro inni sacri, and the listener can forgive the strained tenor for his undistinguished contribution (the basso, Davide Malvestio, however, is quite fine).
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