Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pizzetti, Ildebrando. (1880-1968) Symphony in A & Harp concerto.

New acquisition.
Bought in May 2017.
First listen: 8=6=2017.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: September 2015.
Recording venue: Auditorium Rai, Arturo Toscanini, Turin, Italy.
Recording engineer: Paolo Masiero.
Running time: 65:14.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
Symphony in A. (1940)
Harp Concerto in E flat major, (1958-1960)

Works performed by:
Margherita Bassani, Harp.
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai, Damian Iorio.

The provenance of this Symphony in A is interesting to say the least. The booklet written by David Gallagher is replete with details and is written in a coherent style. A must read before listening.
I merely give my opinion in regards to the music, and it is most favourably. I did not expect anything else knowing already quite some works of his hands, like the SQ, and some orchestral works. Despite the troubled times in which this Symphony was written, it does not give me a feel of drama nor fear of war, and its atrocities. His orchestral colours are painted in images of emotional intensity but not of desperation. Melodious brilliantly put together, the music rather hoovers on an serene altitude quite in the style I recognize being his particular penchant. No vivid contrast of texture, but almost nebulous and sometimes featherlight themes of natural beauty. The clarity of that texture is amazing and magical, and it all has a quiet sense of forward motion but never rushed in any way. There are many moments of introspection, caught exquisitely and imaginative, beautifully shaped into delicately veiled music. Almost hushed at all times, it has a secretive air of hidden premonitions. Beautiful late romantic music, essential to have and to replay many times.
*
At first I thought, O, well a Harp concerto, a work of pleasure but of no consequence. I was very much mistaken in this. It has vitality but no inward message. Instead there is orchestral excellence, and some unexpected turns and twists in the orchestral parts rather than in the contribution of the Harp, that has in my view not a role of much importance, or it is underplayed, that could be an option too. It has nothing of the mystic qualities of the symphony, but has more intensity, be it with less personality as I expected. The music is taken very briskly, and has agility and brilliance, and is on an interpretative high standard. Many a time there is a rhythmic snap that will tickle your ear, which sort of creates minor conflicts in the equilibrium of the musical flow, and that is a fine aspect of the scoring. This needs to be heard more as a few times, but I like it very much.
As to the interpretation I have a few things to add. Firstly I think that a bit more punch in the orchestral parts would have been welcome, there is a touch of sameness in volume and expression. Not all the characteristics of Pizzetti's music are portrayed in the best possible way. But there is a close watch on all the details and overall the music comes off quite nicely. Secondly the soloist in the Harp concerto is a bit anonymous and is too much integrated in the orchestral blend, sometimes you hardly notice her. Which is a pity for her part is interesting, and worthwhile to hear a bit more to the fore.
The recording is a bit soft, yet detailed enough, with a reasonable depth. Not a disc to be without.


I consider this my last integral set of Bach's complete Organ music, unless.......

My last integral set, unless Christopher Herrick's Hyperion set is re-released, which I think is doubtful, or finally Ewald Kooimans ...