Austria and Italy - A Musical Journey of the Lienz Dolomites
With music by Franz Schubert: Piano trio No 2 in E flat major, D 929, Op. 100/Stuttgart Piano Trio from Naxos CD 8.550132
No recording dates or venues given
Director: Adriano
Cameraman: H.T. Aschwander
Dts Digital Surround Sound. Dolby Digital. Aspect ratio 4:3
NAXOS DVD 2.110540 [58.50]

As I noted in a previous review of another Naxos tour around the Austro-Italian border, this part of Italy was previously part of the Hapsburg Empire of which Schubert was a citizen. At that period Italy was not even a nation, rather a collection of states, some with rulers with a connection with the Hapsburgs whilst others were influenced by, or later under, French control. The southern Tyrol, was ceded to Italy in the treaties of 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War, Italy having joined in on the allies’ side, albeit a little late in the day. It was the same treaty that returned Alsace and Lorraine to the French, those regions having been lost to Germany following the war in 1870. It was during this war that the scenery for the premiere of Aida in Cairo was held up by the siege of Paris where it was being made!

The Austrian section of this interesting selection starts and finishes in the Lienz Dolomites. These interesting rock formations and shapes take their name from the French geologist Dieudonné Dolomieu who made the first scientific study of the region. They exhibit strange pinnacles of rock and uniquely shaped rounded hills found in a few other places notably in southern China. The rock is a form of limestone dominated by the mineral dolomite, calcium magnesium carbonate.

The opening allegro sets an appropriate fair pace to the first views of the dolomite waterfalls. It then moves to the spectacular setting of St. Ulrich’s 1697 church near the archaeological excavations that reveal late Roman period occupation. The more pastoral pace of the music is highly evocative with some of the associated photography quite stunning.

It is the photography catching the formation of clouds and sunsets and rises that takes the eye in the return to the Lienz dolomites and the watermills. Schubert’s scherzo makes an ideal accompaniment to ancient, but working, water races and mill wheels.

Chapter 5 concentrates on what is now the now Italian Tyrol. This is accompanied by the adagio as vines change to the geologically captivating earth pyramids formed by erosion of glacial moraine that deposited the clay and stones eons ago. With their embedded stones these pyramids and cones are a wonder to behold, especially with some of the rocks perched atop.

This is one of the very best of this Naxos Musical Journey series conceived by director Adriano. Enthusiasts of scenic beauty, geology and photography should enjoy this journey.

Robert J Farr

One of the very best of the Naxos Musical Journey. Enthusiasts of scenic beauty, geology and photography should enjoy this journey.