Nicolas FLAGELLO (1928-1994) Symphonic
Aria(1951) [5:54] Mirra (1955): Interlude and Dance[7:30; 3:17] The
Sisters (1958): Interludio [6:37]
Violin Concerto (1956)
The Rainy Day (1958) [4:59]*
Brook (1978) [3:21]* Beyond
the Horizon (1973): Ruth's Aria [3:05]*
I (1979) [2:29]*
Polo II (1980) [2:13]*
(violin) Susan Gonzalez (soprano)
National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/John McLaughlin Williams
rec. Ukraine, 2006/7. DDD
* orchestrated by Anthony Sbordoni ARTEK AR00362 [73:16]
composer Flagello was the model late-romantic composer. His
own ideals are instantly evident from his music which in
this selection includes a mix of operatic interludes, arias,
songs and the Violin Concerto.
pretty loosely group Flagello with Barber, Giannini and Menotti.
Take the Symphonic Aria. This has a magnificently
claustrophobic intensity close to the psychologically complex
moments of torment in Barber's opera Vanessa. This
is music that broods magnificently with searing strings and
gloomy ostinati. The Interlude and Dance from the
opera Mirra recall the contrast between Barber's Meditation
and Dance of Vengeance from Medea. The Dance is
barbaric and full of propulsive and irritable grit. The Interlude from
his opera The Sisters is gloomy and intensely romantic,
with a ticking figure heavy with threat. The music rises
to one of those decaying Hollywood climaxes one associates
with nervy heroines and desperate hours.
movement Violin Concerto is a capricious and troubled work
with a virtuoso solo line. The music is emotionally tempestuous
and should appeal to anyone who enjoys the Barber or Menotti
concertos. The andante con moto attains peace with
Oliveira's violin whistlingly high in the register and confidingly
quiet. The finale pounds away with plenty of rhythmic interest
for orchestra and soloist amid reminiscences of the early
movements. Some genuinely exciting Tchaikovskian writing
distinguishes the final spiccato-spattered alla polacca pages.
of the disc is taken up with songs for soprano and orchestra.
Typically gloomy texts abound: “… and the day is dark and
dreary” – not a million miles from Poe. The mood is uncannily
close to Bernard Herrmann's more subdued scores. The Brook is
a true concentrated scena with a magnificently operatic pulse
and trajectory. The brooding Ruth's Aria is from Act
III of the Eugene O'Neill opera Beyond the Horizon.
Its Puccinian tension and release is truly potent. Canto sets
another of the composer's own poems – clearly a tortured
soul. Polo I and II are in much the same vein except
here shot through with flamenco conflagration; think of the
flamenco echoes in Falla’s El Amor Brujo and add an
explosive tattoo of Stravinskian fire.
like Martinů and Moeran, Flagello has a distinctive
voice and once you are tuned in you will want everything
there is. This disc is not perhaps the place to start. For
an introduction go to the First Piano Concerto on Naxos
8.559296, the First Symphony on Naxos 8.559148 or
the Piano Concertos 2 and 3 on Artek AR-0002-2.
If you are already hooked then the present disc is indispensable … but
when will we get to hear one of Flagello’s operas complete?
Founding Editor Rob Barnett Editor in Chief
John Quinn Seen & Heard Editor Emeritus Bill Kenny MusicWeb Webmaster
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Jonathan Woolf MusicWeb Founder Len Mullenger
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