The late Patric Standford may have written these short pieces deliberately to provoke our feedback. If so, his success is reflected in the rich range of readers' comments appearing at the foot of most of the pages.
I knew of Gian Francesco Malipiero (1882-1973), principally as a teacher, and had previously reviewed a disc of some of his early music. The best known of a number of composers from this very musical family, he produced a large number of works, including operas and symphonies. This disc presents a couple of world premiere recordings and is of considerable interest.
The disc starts with the four movement Symphony No 6 'Degli archi' (Of the strings) from 1947. In the opening movement, bright and vivacious, it is immediately apparent that the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana under Damian Iorio exhibits a strong string section. The music is tonal and easy to listen to.
Listen — Malipiero: Allegro (Symphony No 6)
(track 1, 0:01-0:45) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
The second movement, Piuttosto lento, is elegiac in nature, with a beguiling nostalgia.
Listen — Malipiero: Piuttosto lento (Symphony No 6)
(track 2, 2:49-3:36) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
The short, dancelike Allegro, vivo provides contrast to the calm of the previous movement. Again, the string forces perform admirably, and this is an interesting movement to listen to, with its contrasting musical elements and textures.
The last movement is the longest and most varied. After a slow introduction, there are a few changes in both mood and tempo before it ends on a slow, sad note.
Listen — Malipiero: Finale (Symphony No 6)
(track 4, 5:21-6:05) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
The next work, Ritrovari (Rediscoveries, 1926), in five short movements, is sunny, colourful and varied, and inspired by the writings of Gabriele D’Annuncio. It reveals Malipiero as a skilled orchestrator, and there are sections which remind one of the madrigals of Monteverdi and plainsong. The orchestral playing is of a high order indeed in this very beautiful and fascinating work.
Listen — Malipiero: Lento e triste (Ritrovari)
(track 7, 0:39-1:37) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
Listen — Malipiero: Andante (Ritrovari)
(track 8, 0:38-1:18) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
Serenata Mattutina (Morning Serenade) of 1959 is scored for ten instruments, and is very different in character and musical language from Ritrovari. The skill with which Malipiero writes for these instruments is admirable, and the work, although not as immediately engaging as the previous work, is nevertheless a fascinating listen and certainly does not alienate me. It is different from, yet reminds me in some way of some of the later works of Stravinsky in his neo-classical guise. Themes come and go in a fragmented nature, and the texture is constantly changing, but there is a clean and clear feeling to this refreshing and bracing work.
Listen — Malipiero: Serenata mattutina
(track 10, 4:39-5:27) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
The five short Cinque studi (Five Studies) from 1959-1960 contain a considerable range of emotions and textures for the small forces. In nature, this work sits alongside the previous work, but the melodic length and development look back to the more melodic earlier works. These pieces are seldom performed and this is their first recording - a pity, as they are enjoyable to listen to and contain an astonishing freshness and originality for a composer approaching his eighties.
Listen — Malipiero: Non troppo mosso, ma fluido (Cinque studi)
(track 13, 0:00-0:48) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :
This excellent Naxos disc is well worth exploring, and performances from all concerned are very fine indeed. The music is seldom performed, yet is finely crafted and inspired, and deserves much more frequent exposure. Thank you, Naxos, for releasing this disc.
Copyright © 12 March 2020