Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909)
La Canzone Dei Ricordi¹ (1886-87)
Novelletta, Op. 82 (1905)
Colore Orientale, Op. 44 No. 3 (1880)
Andante, Op. 69 No. 2 (1888)
Notturno, Op. 70 No. 1 (1888)
Serenata, Op. 57 No.1² (1886)
Momento Musicale, Op. 57 No. 3² (1883)
Rachel Yakar, soprano¹
Philharmonia Orchestra/Francesco d'Avalos
Recorded in St. Barnabas Church, Mitcham, England, July 1989, December 1989² and July 1990¹.
ASV PLATINUM PLT 8512 [74.13]


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I have been listening to a lot of non-operatic Italian music recently (including the neo-classical approach of Malipiero and Casella). This disc has to rank fairly highly against other more fêted and familiar music of a similar temporal provenance (R. Strauss, Mahler … even Elgar, I suppose). This compilation of mainly shorter works is drawn from ASV's original, acclaimed series of symphonies and concertos etc. and portrays Martucci in a very favourable light, particularly in the extended song cycle La Canzone dei Ricordi.

The main vocal piece in the cycle sets the poems of Pagliara against some ravishing but still relatively restrained (spare?) music; the nostalgic atmosphere, thoroughly entered into by the excellent soprano (Rachel Yakar), unsurprisingly brings to mind Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs. I wouldn't care to suggest that their mastery, as written by the then thirty year old composer, reaches those peaks but, equally, I would happily admit that this music (in general) does rather more for me than many of the German's more bombastic utterances.

The other, purely orchestral pieces range from around four minutes in length to nearly twelve. They are all highly listenable, particularly for anyone broadly sympathetic to the late-romantic mindset but perhaps a little wary of some of the excesses of the era. I enjoyed the Colore Orientale and Notturno most but all the works display a sureness of touch and delicacy, amid admittedly opulent textures. They bring to mind, variously, both Fauré and Debussy, as well as the more obvious Wagner (Siegfried Idyll, Tristan prelude etc.), the aforementioned Strauss and even early Schoenberg.

This is music that is hard to pin down, difficult to pigeonhole (a good thing surely!) and while I cannot pretend that it is overburdened with memorable tunes (not to the extent that, say, Respighi's is) it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and, by turns, both stimulates and relaxes - a quality that not a great deal of music can claim the ability to do. An interesting and entertaining, if not massively enlightening, disc. Performance, recording and packaging (booklet notes included) are very good indeed.

Neil Horner

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