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Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909)
Symphony No.1 in D minor (1895) [40:10]
Giga  No.3 (arr for orchestra) (1883) [4:09]
Canzonetta No.2 (arr. for orchestra ) (1884) [3:30]
Andante No.2 (arr. for cello and orchestra) (1888) [12:22]
Notturno No.1 (arr. for orchestra) (1891) [9:29]
Andrea Noferini (cello)
Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma/Francesco La Vecchia
rec. Auditorium, Conciliazione-Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma Studios, 16 October 2007, 16-17 March and 22 April 2008. DDD
NAXOS 8.570929 [69:38]
Experience Classicsonline


Admirers of Respighi’s music may well be interested in music from other less well known Italian non-operatic composers. The now defunct recording company, ASV, built up something of a reputation for their recordings of music in this field. I was particularly impressed with their recordings of works by Martucci. In fact I remember writing in 1997: "I was overwhelmed by the intensely dramatic and highly colourful music of Martucci. After listening to D’Avalos and the Philharmonia’s dazzling reading of Martucci’s Symphony No.1 (the last movement sounding uncannily like an Italian Elgar in full P&C flow) I hastened to acquire all the ASV Martucci CDs. Symphonies 1 and 2, with shorter orchestral items including Notturno, Andante and Colore orientale were issued on ASV CDDCA675 and 689 respectively, while Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
- the former with the glorious La canzone del ricordi were released on ASV CDDCA 690 and 691 respectively.

 

Martucci, the foremost Italian orchestral composer of the late 19th century was also an accomplished pianist and conductor. His repertoire was wide extending from Bach through to Debussy and Stanford. He championed Wagner, Berlioz, Schumann and Brahms, the latter two composers having a strong influence on Martucci’s own music, and notably this Symphony with something of Bruckner and Elgar in the heroic final Mosso-Allegro risoluto. He worked six years on this Symphony which was premiered in 1895. This new recording has its moments – a perky characterful Allegretto and an appealing reading of the lovely wistful Andante second movement – but, overall, it does not eclipse the D’Avalos recording with the Philharmonia. That reading has so much more vitality and polish especially in the outer movements. The ASV sound is superior too.

 

La Vecchia scores in the lighter fill-ups. The Giga trips along merrily while the wistful, beguiling Canzonetta looks back to the elegance of the 18th century. The twelve-minute or so Andante No. 2 for Cello and Orchestra meanders but has autumnal warmth - a little like the Elgar Cello Concerto in places - with some felicitous writing for woodwinds and harp. The First Notturno is more pleasing and again reminds one of Elgar in wistful vein.

 

As a bargain introduction to Martucci this is acceptable but it is worth seeking out the D’Avalos recordings.
 
Ian Lace

Editor's note: Martucci ASV recordings reissued on Brilliant Classics
Ian and his readers can rejoice. All four ASV Martucci/D'Avalos discs have been reissued in a single superbudget Brilliant Classics box. That means you can get both symphonies, both piano concertos and much else on Brilliant Classics 93439. RB.

 


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