Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948) Canzoniere on Tuscan Folk Poetry: Forty-Four rispetti,
stornelli ed altri canti Op.17 (1936) [56:12]
Sandro Naglia (tenor)
Fulvio Bettini (baritone)
Antonio Ballista (piano)
rec. SMC di Campajola, Ivrea, December 1997 LA BOTTEGA DISCANTICA
not often that the complete Canzoniere are presented.
You might know the classic recording by Schwarzkopf of songs
from Part II but the whole cycle of forty-four, some entrusted
to soprano and others to tenor and baritone, is a much rarer
commodity. That makes this particular disc, recorded back
in 1997, of value.
way to circumvent the problems of a trio of vocalists is
to extract, say, the soprano songs alone. That was a course
taken by Maria de Francesca-Cavazza and Horst Göbel on Koch
Schwann CD 314004.
There the duo included songs from the Italian Song Book and
thus ensured a balanced Wolf-Ferrari collection. The other
approach, to record the complete Rispetti, necessarily
courts the problem of the songs’ relative simplicity of utterance
and their extreme compression. Forty-four songs taking fifty-six
minutes tells its own story, however artfully sung they may
Since the vast majority of songs
are lyrical but light it’s difficult for performers to present
them in any way other than of folkloric intimacy. Outbursts
are rare; the tone remains equable and malleably intimate.
Gemma Bertagnolli brings lyric generosity to bear in her
selection though one finds that she’s taxed by some of the
more pressing demands of Wolf-Ferrari’s writing. A song such
as Giovanottino il bello andar che hai brings its
own brand of thorns when the soprano forces and Bertagnolli’s
tone tends to bleach white under pressure. Sandro Naglia
has a nice, bright and youthful tenor. He brings out the
Monteverdian cadences of a song such as La luna s’e ventura
a lamentare with style – and note too the adept pianism
of ever-present Antonio Ballista. It’s true that Wolf-Ferrari
can stray close to Hahn in somewhat loosely decadent mood – but
he’s better in more robustly neo-baroque fashion in something
like Vedo la casa e non vedo il bel viso which, to
one’s untutored ear, sounds perilously close to the kind
of thing Tito Schipa might have sung.
simple and unaffected nature of the se settings is as pronounced
in Part II. . There are some jaunty quasi-hymnal moments
in Giovanottino che passi per via. One should not
overlook the contribution of baritone Fulvio Bettini who
brings a robust and manly appeal to La casa del mio amor or
indeed to Ballista’s control of rolled chords or the more
crepuscular moments in ‘N del mezzo al mare. It’s
fitting that the envoi is provided by Gemma Bertagnolli in
the final Canti per soprano. Here she finds the requisite
wit and in the final song, a gorgeous Preghiera, the
artless beauty of a timeless aria.
The gatefold format allows
for an attractive booklet. The texts are in Italian only.
The performances may sometimes be rather small in scale but
there’s an attractive uniformity to them and they do present
the “44” in usefully consolidated form. Play one set at a
from previous months Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the
discs reviewed. details We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to
which you refer.