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Charles CAMILLERI (b. 1931)
Piano Concerto No. 1 Mediterranean (1948 rev. 1978) [27:13]
Piano Concerto No. 2 Maqam (1967-68) [19:33]
Piano Concerto No. 3 Leningrad (1987) [20:05]
André de Groote (piano)
Bournemouth SO/Michael Laus
Winter Gardens, Bournemouth, UK, 1993. DDD
TALENT DOM 2910 56 [67:20]

These tapes were first issued circa 1994 on a Unicorn CD which was then deleted. It's satisfying to welcome these stirring and provocative recordings back to the catalogue.

The Maltese composer Charles Camilleri was at first drawn to improvisation and nationalism. There was for example a Malta Suite in 1946. It was a visit to London in 1951 that began a pilgrimage through music which has taken him around the world.

The folksy tonal joyous first movement of the First Concerto includes a recurring tarantella which is to return in the flighty tambourine-punctuated finale. There is a brooding nobility about the crystalline second movement with its mildly oriental flavour. The whole effect can perhaps be compared with the Malcolm Williamson Piano Concertos 2 and 3. Fifteen years later and the single movement Second Concerto has taken on an angular serious Bartókian edge mixed with voices from North Africa. The accents now are forthright, uncompromising and modernistic whether in pugnacious mode or querulous and thoughtful. The single movement Third Piano Concerto was written at the request of Tikhon Krennikhov. The result is provocative, again angular and sometimes truculently dissonant. The engaging accessible manner of the first concerto has been left far behind. It is perhaps a good match for Camilleri's concern to portray the terror of man's downfall in the face of his own misdeeds and an awareness of the need for redemptive meditative concentration. In this work the composer shows a clear influence from Olivier Messiaen (5:43, 17:38) in both flight and repose.

Three stimulating piano concertos the last two of which are as dissonant as the first is melodic-tonal.

Rob Barnett


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Editorial Board
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Seen & Heard
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