This disk complements the recent Helios re–issue of Pizzetti’s
orchestral music with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under
Osmo Vänskä. There is only one duplication and both disks contain
very well thought out performances of very exciting, satisfying,
and mystifyingly neglected, music.
Concerto dell’estate (Summer Concerto) is a bright
and sunny work – a kind of Concerto for orchestra – full of vivid
colours, virtuoso instrumentation and packed with good tunes.
But this is a very languid summer experience. The tempo of the
music is never really very fast – I suppose that it must be too
hot for rushing round. The slow movement seems to have more than
a tinge of Beethoven about it(!) and the finale contains moments
of darkness in the midst of the jollity. Certainly this is most
unexpected. It is a beautiful piece, expertly crafted, with clear,
clean textures and none of the orchestral excess which can make
Respighi sometimes tiresome. Compared to Lamberto Gardelli’s recording
of the piece, issued in the 1960s (Decca, and coupled with music
from La pisanella) this performance is slightly too heavy-handed
and doesn’t quite have the easy-going flow about it which a lazy
summer picture should convey. But it’s still a fine achievement
as a performance.
Preludes to L’edipo Re di Sofocle is duplicated
from the Helios disk. These three Preludes are highly dramatic
pieces, full of heavy emotion and spectacular orchestration. Unfortunately,
Michailidis fails to get anywhere near the raw passion that Vänskä
achieves. This is too lightweight a reading for this tumultuous
music. In both the Concerto dell’estate and L’edipo
Re di Sofocle the recording is somewhat confined and not up
to the usual bright and crisp Naxos sound style.
something quite unexpected happens. The first note of Preludio:
Clitennestra (Pizzetti’s final opera) shows a different, bright
and clear recording, and this continues until the end of the disk.
These last two pieces were recorded at a later date than the other
works and although the same venue, performers, engineer and producer
are at work this is much better – better sound, better concert
hall feel. The Preludio: Clitennestra is a dramatic and
nervy affair. Lots of tension and drive. I wonder if the opera
lives up to the promise of this overture?
La Festa delle Panatenee (The Feast of the Panathenaea),
is a suite made from incidental music to a theatrical production.
These are much lighter than the rest of the programme, and, oddly,
there’s more than a whiff of both Carl Nielsen and Vaughan Williams
in folksong mode! It’s a delightful work and makes a suitably
entertaining finish to an interesting disk.
my, very slight, complaint about the sound, this is a real must-have.
The performances might not be the most inspired and the Thessaloniki
State Symphony cannot be regarded as a major orchestra, but ultimately
it’s the music which matters and this is a really good introduction
to this neglected composer.
Briggs' review of a Naxos collection of Pizzetti orchestral works
mentions Lamberto Gardelli's recording of the Concerto dell'estate.
I thought it worth mentioning that this version was re-released
on Australian Eloquence 476 9766 in 2006. The other works are
Pizzetti's La Pisanella Suite, Respighi's Botticelli Triptych,
and Rota's Concerto for Strings. The CD remains available.
The review can be found at: