Although the two composers here are almost exact contemporaries, their approach and styles are quite different, but in reality, they are actually not so far apart, and show a great deal of reverence for composers of the past, particularly the Baroque era.
Giorgio Federico Ghedini (1892-1965) was a gentleman of great culture and learning, and was particularly interested in the composers of the early Baroque, but his music is wide ranging and he is not one of those composers who write in the recognisable style of these old masters. The influence is there, however, in this fresh but unmistakable twentieth century music.
Musica da Concerto (1953), scored for solo viola, viola d'amore and string orchestra, is in one movement and lasts just under twenty-five minutes. At times the soloist, Simonide Braconi, is called on to play the standard viola, but at other times, the viola d'amore, which has sympathetic vibrating strings as well as those which are bowed. The work that has moments which are tonal and quite beautiful, and others where the music is much more 'modern' sounding. At the beginning, you never quite know where this somewhat rhapsodic piece is going to take you. The second section is livelier and more energetic, but this does not last and returns quite quickly. Melody often emerges out of quite dense writing. The changes often happen without any transition, and there are solo parts which are more like cadenzas. I find this an interesting, fresh and engaging work, and I know my fondness for this will grow with each hearing. The performance is superb in all respects. I would have liked the programme notes to be a little more informative but that is a minor quibble and I am sure that much more about this work and composer can be found online.
Listen — Ghedini: Musica da Concerto
(96117 track 1, 12:06-13:03) ℗ 2022 Brilliant Classics :
This is followed by Fünf Stücke, Op 44 (1927), by Paul Hindemith (1890-1963), which shows a lot of stylistic similarities with the Ghedini work which opened this disc, but is nevertheless unmistakably Hindemith. This work was written for a school orchestra, but is not easy to play. The first piece is slow and broad and is quite sombre in mood.
The second movement begins slowly and somewhat dramatically, then a dance-like section follows. It is under two minutes in length and is fresh and interesting.
Listen — Hindemith: Langsam. Schnell (Fünf Stücke)
(96117 track 3, 1:11-1:51) ℗ 2022 Brilliant Classics :
The third movement, also short, starts off in a quite lighthearted fashion, then grows quickly in intensity before the lighthearted music returns. The texture is quite dense.
The fourth movement is longer, slow and quite sorrowful, in an elegiac fashion.
Listen — Hindemith: Sehr Langsam (Fünf Stücke)
(96117 track 5, 2:19-3:10) ℗ 2022 Brilliant Classics :
The last movement is full of drive and energy, and includes some solo writing for violin that would be quite challenging for a school orchestral player, but is very satisfying to hear.
Listen — Hindemith: Lebhaft (Fünf Stücke)
(96117 track 6, 1:28-2:19) ℗ 2022 Brilliant Classics :
The last work, Musica Concertante for cello and string orchestra (1962), is written for Ghedini's own instrument, played here by Enrico Bronzi. Whilst there are contrasting sections, the writing is generally serene, and showcases the instrument's vocal qualities. I am very surprised that more cellists do not perform and record this work. Like the other Ghedini work here, there are no gimmicks or showy sections for their own sake. In truth, this is some of the most honest music I have heard. It has certainly piqued my interest to hear more of his music.
Listen — Ghedini: Musica Concertante
(96117 track 7, 12:36-13:34) ℗ 2022 Brilliant Classics :
This Brilliant Classics disc will be released to the public on 17 June 2022 and I wholeheartedly recommend it. The performances, by the strings of the Nuova Orchestra da Camera 'Ferruccio Busoni' conducted by Massimo Belli, are marvellous, the sound sumptuous and the music fresh and interesting.
Copyright © 16 June 2022