Mario PILATI (1903-1938)
Piano Quintet in D major (1927-28) [33:16]
Achille LONGO (1900-1954)
Piano Quintet in D major (1934) [23:14]
Circo Artistico (Dario Candela (piano); Giuseppe Carotenuto (violin I): Niicola
Marino (violin II): Giuseppe Navelli (viola): Manuela Albano (cello)); Aldo
Ciccolini (piano) (Longo)
rec. Megaride Blu, Naples, 9-14 Sept 2009
world premiere recordings
NAXOS 8.572628 [56:30]
We are getting a benign jolt of discoveries of Italian classical music these
days. Much of the material is worthy of our ear-time. It wasn’t so long
ago that I was waxing euphoric about the Alfano Violin Sonata and Piano Quintet
and the reissued Pizzetti String Quartets (8.570876).
Now we hear from Pilati and Longo.
You may know Pilati from the Naxos orchestral CD (8.570873)
or its earlier Marco Polo avatar (8.225156).
Then again there’s the Adriano Inedita disc (PI2757).
Longo was quite unknown to me and to MWI - not even as one of the teachers of
Aldo Ciccolini. Both composers were born in Naples. Both these inter-war three-movement
piano quintets are tonal and tuneful.
Pilati shows his true sweet colours in the first movement at 5.38 with
a sunny sentimental melody of ecstatic pulse and contour. This is projected
over a discreetly pecked piano and lower strings note-cell. One can feel the
morning sun on the nape of the neck. This develops into urgently struggling
vitality before ecstatically slipping into lyric enchantment. An elfin quiet
violin ostinato points up a long and sultry melody of euphonious contentment.
The middle Vivacissimo has the expected rushing and persistent episodes
but surrenders to an almost bluesy relaxation (3:55). The final Animato
is fast and furious. It has an Iberian twist which sometimes coasts close to
Nights in the Gardens of Spain. In passing I noticed a bumpy edit at
1.37 in the finale. The work ends in a fruitily passionate and triumphant emotional
cauldron. Very satisfying.
Longo's piano quintet is shorter than the Pilati. It too is a work of
riptide passions and wild sunrises and sunsets. Its lyrical address places Longo
in the vicinity of the chamber music of Vierne, Ropartz, d'Ollonne, Cras and
early Koechlin. The slow contentment of the Largo contrasts with the
triumphantly pummelling vaudeville happiness of the finale. It is poignant that
the pianist in the Longo is Ciccolini, the composer’s pupil.
Good to see notes by Adriano for Pilati alongside those by Sandro Cappelletto.
Longo's scene-setter is shared between Stefano Valanzuolo and the yeoman work
of Keith Anderson.
Another pair of discoveries. Again thanks to Naxos for resisting the temptation
to present each quintet with something more familiar. There we have it: no compromise
at a price that is affordable.
Another pair of provocative discoveries.