Ottorino RESPIGHI; Ildebrando PIZZETTI
Elmar Oliveira (violin);
Robert Koenig (piano);
(recorded 10 April 1998)
These are two Italian romantic sonatas of post-Great
war vintage. They bear not a trace of desiccation or jazz influence.
They will appeal to those who love their John Ireland sonatas or indeed
the Franck though that is of course from a much earlier era.
Respighi's sonata is floridly decorative and Oliveira
shoots the passionate rapids with consummate style. You may well know
the Concerto Gregoriano. The sonata does not have the sweet
simplicity of that work. It is a romantic cauldron the turmoil of
whose first movement is offset by a very strong introspective andante
followed by a strenuous passacaglia which is given to dreamy rhapsodising
(4.49 track 3). The Pizzetti is another work of high romance seemingly
touched with Hungarian accents but easily accessible. Oliveira, the
singer, clearly knows how to pitch and toss the line in this amalgam
of Waltonian ferment and stuttering dance. The Preghiera is a heartfelt
invocation speaking of those fallen in the Great War. It is contemporaneous
with Herbert Howells' chamber works to which it is a distant but obvious
cousin. It avoids the asperities of the Frank Bridge piano sonata
(another Great War generated work). The final vivo e fresco hums and
bounces with dance rhythms.
There is a high calorific value to Oliveira and Koenig's
advocacy and this is accentuated by a warmly veiled piano sound. There
are decent (English only) liner notes. Shortish playing time is offset
by engaged performances and good repertoire choice.