Bruno MADERNA  (1920-1973)
Piano Concerto (1942) [11:40]
Piano Concerto - version for two pianos (1942) [11:46]
Concerto for Two Pianos and Instruments (1948) [11:25]
Quadrivium (1969) [31:41]
Aldo Orvieto (piano); Fausto Bongelli (piano II); Gruppo 40.6; Orchestra della Fondazione Arena di Verona/Carlo Miotto
rec. Teatro Filarmonico, Verona (Piano Concerto Quadrivium), Auditorium Fazioli, Sacile, Italy 19 April 2010.
world premiere recordings of 1942 piano concerto
NAXOS 8.572642 [66:32]
I connect Maderna with the high priestly activities of the 1960s and 1970s avant-garde - his Quadrivium is very much in that region. The latter was recorded by Sinopoli together with Aura and Biogramma and can now be obtained on Brilliant Classics. There’s also a rather well spoken of Col Legno collection. When I take a second think I remember that Maderna conducted a concert Mahler 9 recorded on BBC Legends.

The 22 year old's Piano Concerto can be heard on this disc in two versions. It turns out to be a work of tensely concentrated and mildly Bartókian romantic rhetoric. It’s easy to follow. Maderna had Michelangeli in mind but things did not work out. Of the two recensions I prefer the one with orchestra but you can also experience the more Spartan two piano version. Two years after the Concerto comes the Concerto for Two Pianos and Instruments. Its language is more abstruse and thorny. The music seems to proceed deep into the psychological wasteland of the piano. Fervour is there but in a framework of obsidian clashing and tolling. Each of the three concertos is between 11 and 12 minutes duration - novellas in sound. If the latter is on the way towards the familiar Maderna then Quadivium is home and dry. A full 30-plus continuous minutes of stark incident: gongs, drums, rattles, clatters, discontinuity, plinks and plunks, tom-tom noises, spitting metallic tizzing, ear-tickling variety and drama unfolding by the second. The atmosphere's rapidly established, then instantly discontinued and new vistas open, close and are lost. The percussion’s prominence figures in the work’s extended title: Quadrivium for four percussionists and four orchestral groups.

Those Roundhouse concerts come to unruly life again. Good contextual notes are provided by Fabio Zannoni.
Rob Barnett
Those Roundhouse concerts come to unruly life again.