Italian Clarinet Gems
Giulio BONNARD (1885-1972)
Valzer da Concerto (1937) [5:26]
Notturno (1937) [7:00]
Ronḍ (1937) [2:58]
Guglielmo CAPPETTI (1875-1918)
Piccola Suite [9:24]
Notturno [5:47]
Agostino GABUCCI (1896-1976)
Aria and Scherzo [4:22]
Ciro STADIO (1882-after 1938)
Serenata [3:35]
Burlesca [1:38]
Leonardo DE LORENZO (1875-1962)
Saltarello, op.27 [3:41]
Vincenzo DI DONATO (1887-1967)
Pastorale (1920) [3:00]
Gilfredo CATTOLICA (1882-1962)
Duo (1959) [6:38]
Giovanni BELLONE (fl. 1930-1960s)
Serenata (1939) [4:07]
Anthony Louis (Luigi) SCARMOLIN (1890-1969)
Nocturne [3:25]
Introduction and Tarantella [3:28]
Sergio Bosi (clarinet)
Riccardo Bartoli (piano)
rec. Teatro Apollo, Mogliano, Macerata, Italy, 19-21 April 2010. DDD
NAXOS 8.572690 [64:32]

On the face of it, this is another of those compilation CDs with slightly naff titles like '101 Great Orchestral Classics' Naxos used to release a lot of before they became sure of their markets. Few if any of these composers will be familiar to casual browsers - perhaps only Scarmolin on account of the Marco Polo CD devoted to his orchestral works, later re-released by Naxos in their 'American Classics' series (review). Yet there is every chance that Naxos will, at a later date, fill a disc with the music of any one or more of these as yet obscure Italians, and on the evidence of these short works, it will be an accolade well deserved: these genuinely are gems.

The overall tone of this delightful recital is one of serenity: this is music certain to have very wide appeal. All the items are very listener-friendly - concise, stylish and lyrical, the melodies flow thick and fast, by turn wistful, witty, dreamy, lush; always harking back to Weber, but generally with a dash of Italian seasoning for extra flavour. The music is not demanding, but nor is it inconsequential - these are elegantly crafted, sophisticated pieces by composers who had an intimate knowledge of the clarinet that enabled them to bring out its beauty of tone, be creative and please audiences all at the same time.

Sergio Bosi and Riccardo Bartoli are very impressive, both separately considered and in combination. Their last recording for Naxos - duos by Italian composers also - was well received (review). Though hardly a household name, Bosi has a fine discography to his credit. His tone is mellow, his phrasing considered and tasteful. He is solicitously accompanied by Bartoli, who handily teaches at the same institution in Italy, self-evidently allowing the pair plenty of time to rehearse together.

Sound quality is very good. The clarinet is admittedly more prominent, but such a setting merely reflects the facts of the music. The booklet is glossy and adequate of detail - though not all the works have been dated - with notes by the baronially named Adriano Amore. All the pieces except Gabucci's Aria and Scherzo are premiere recordings, which only adds to the desirability of this disc.

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The overall tone of this delightful recital is one of serenity.