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MGB Records (Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund)

Mario PAGLIARANI (b. 1963)
Domenico Scarlatti gioca ai videogames for bells and synthetic sounds (1990)
Pierrot Lunatique for voice, flute / piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano (1993) Annemieke Cantor (voice), Sergio Zampetti (flute), Angelo Bassi (clarinet), Fabio Arnaboldi (violin), Paola Arnaboldi (violoncello), Federica Falascondi (pianoforte), directed by Mario Pagliarani.
Berweg. Una passeggiata attraverso la serie del Violinkonzert di Alban Berg for violin and piano (1995) Marianne Aeschbacher, Violin, Risch Biert (pianoforte).
Inferno (…der Weg gehult in Schnee) for reciter, voice, flute, violoncello, harmonica, pianoforte and percussion (1996) Mario Cel (reciter), Roberto Balconi (voice), Hieronymous Schadler (flute), Claude Hauri (flute), Claudio Jacomucci (harmonica), Risch Biert (pianoforte), Michael Quinn, p (percussion), directed by Mario Pagliarani.
Canzone fantasma. Omaggio a Paul McCartney for flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello and raganella (1996) Ensemble Oggimusica – Marina Chiaese, (flute). Fabio Di Casola (clarinet), Roberto Valtancoli (violin), Guido Boselli (violoncello), directed by Denise Fedeli
Una pozzanghera. Omaggio a Ludwig e a Johannes for clarinet, violoncello, and pianoforte (1998) Luca Medici (clarinet), Claude Hauri (violoncello) and Simona Crociani (pianoforte)
Rarefatto cantabile for large orchestra (1999 – 2000) L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Andrew Litton
Johann Sebastien scrive ad Anna Magdalena for bells and synthetic sounds.

Co-production: RSI-Rete e RSR-Espace 2, rec. 1995 – 2000. DDD
Musiques Suisses MGB CTS-M75 [72.41]

I experienced great difficulty in giving this disc a fair review. I have now listened to it on a number of occasions and each time my feelings of frustration are renewed. I must declare myself to belong to a different musical epoch than Mario Pagliarani.

For a modern composer to have such a disc issued is very lucky. It at least gives music-lovers a chance to experience the style of the composer, and make no mistake, the production and presentation is first class. Did I enjoy the experience – very emphatically – NO!

The record company have even allowed the composer to prepare his own notes. He is at great pains to tell us that this disc contains all of his output over the last few years. Then at the end of the sleeve notes, he lists a further 10 works with similar composition dates to the current disc, which have been composed but are outside this disc; very strange.

The sleeve pictures the composer with one ear firmly held against a large shell – perhaps this is where he gets his inspiration. All I can say is that the shellfish inside is obviously in the terminal stages of decay.

The first and last items on the disc are mildly interesting, being synthesised modifications of a Scarlatti Sonata and the Anna Magdalene fugue of J. S. Bach. Whilst both are interesting, I can’t see the point of carrying out the exercise of working on these. The sleeve notes are pretentious twaddle and although it is not practicable to present these here, a short excerpt will give you some impression of the source of my frustration:-

"I enjoy train rides. Watching the landscape drift past the window, like passing time. That little church in the far distance – in the future – that gradually draws nearer – into the present – and then glides away – and it is past. It is a theatre of time: for me, music is precisely that. Thus I sat in a train on a sunny autumn day, working on the text for this portrait CD. Difficult."

The composer also cites the fact that the performance of the orchestral item, Rarefatto cantabile - included on this CD was sabotaged by the conductor – perhaps the sabotage had something to do with good taste!

I cannot in all honesty recommend this disc as the contents, I find, are trite, devoid of any inspiration, and a complete waste of listening time. If however, this modern idiom appeals to you, I wish you luck in trying to uncover something from the contents of this disc. I failed completely.
John Phillips


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