> Gian Francesco Malipiero [IL]: Classical CD Reviews- Sept 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Gian Francesco MALIPIERO (1882-1973)
Quaranta e più anni nella turris eburnea

La notte dei morti (da poemi Asolani, 1916)
Barlumi (1917)
Tre preludi a una fuga (1926)
Risonanze (1918)
Hortus conclusis (1946)
Cinque studi per domani (1959)
Gina Gorini (piano)
Rec 2001?
RIVO ALTO CRR 9810 [50:02]



First of all I must I must grouse once again (as in the case of so many of these small independent labels) about the disconcerting lack of information. This important release has only a scant four-page booklet in Italian and English. There are no biographical details and no translations of the names of the works (although in most cases a little intelligent guesswork suffices). The recording (hardly historical as the album would suggest) was made in 1968, five years after the death of Malipiero, by Gorini who one supposes is/was (?) an authoritative interpreter of the composer’s works. Certainly these readings are impressively poetic and refined.

The works span the years 1916 to 1959 and the music often juxtaposes impressionism and expressionism. Much is lyrical, colours muted and pastel, melodies subtle, understated. The opening La notte dei morti is rooted in 19th century melancholic Late Romanticism but with a Debussy-like veneer. Barlumi begins with the fluidity and sparkle of fountain waters and an occidental twist that takes the music meandering into reflection and introspection before more extrovert, playful Debussy-like material leads the music into darker, rueful territories – an intriguing work of contrasting moods to send listeners’ imagination flying. The substantial Three Preludes and Fugue of 1926 (12 minutes) follows very similar moods and patterns; the fugue adroitly mixing classical formality with an impressionistic delicacy.

Risonanze (1918) has the self explanatory markings: calmo – fluido – non troppo mosso - agitato non troppo. Again this is beautifully wrought, rippling, impressionistic music with darker end pages as the ripples rise to ‘rock the boat’. Hortus conclusus, from 1946, rocks the boat even more; this is sterner stuff, more elaborate more searching, more dissonant. The concluding Five Studies composed in 1959 carry this astringency forward but the music always holds the ear.

An excellent album of imaginative piano music marred by inadequate documentation.

Ian Lace

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