MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

  2022
 58,771 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews


Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World


all Nimbus reviews



all tudor reviews


Follow us on Twitter


Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews


All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

 

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Roffredo CAETANI (1871-1961)
Ballata in F sharp minor Op.9 - Andante sostenuto e mesto (1899) [6:20]
Four Impromptus Op.9 (1899) (No.1 in A flat: Un poco agitato [5:43]; No.2 in B flat: Moderato [3:40]; No.3 in A minor: Andantino [3:49]; No.4 in E flat: Molto allegro [5:52])
Toccata in D - Allegro vivace (1899) [6 :31]
Sonata in A flat Op.3(1893) (Allegro moderato [14:17]; Un poco lento [14:31]; Allegro moderato [17:44])
Alessandra Ammara (piano)
rec. 20-22 September 2013, Tau Recording Studio, Palazzo Pennisi di Floristella, Acireale, Italy
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94909 [78:56]

The music on this disc is a considerable find. Extravagant claims for the work of little-known composers may often be regarded with suspicion, if not downright hilarity. There is none here; those that are made are entirely justified. For example; ‘eclecticism and originality’, ‘music of quality and expressive power’; ‘one of the most important representatives of Italian instrumental music at the end of the 19th century’.
 
I would not argue with any of that. The keyword is originality; even though the influences of Schumann, Wagner, Brahms and Liszt may be heard - a musical heritage passed down through teachers like Martucci and Sgambati - the voice is individual. One might describe it as a fusion of Brahmsian and Wagnerian lines with fin-de-siècle tendencies.
 
A few words of background are in order. Scion of a Tuscan noble family and a godson of Liszt, Roffredo Caetani studied in Italy with Giuseppe Martucci and in Vienna and Berlin where he met Brahms. Most of his slender output was complete by 1907, though there are two operas - Hypathia and L'Isola del Sole from 1924 and 1943 respectively – and a very small number of other works from later. Caetani continued to give public concerts until the death in action of his son Camillo in 1940 in whose memory he founded La Fondazione Camillo Caetani in 1956. In 1972, his daughter Lelia founded La Fondazione Roffredo Caetani. Although Caetani, who was 17th Duke of Sermoneta and 8th Prince of Teano, was the last male survivor of his line, the name lives on with the conductor Oleg, son of Igor Markevitch and Roffredo’s niece Topiaza.
 
Both Foundations were involved in the production of this CD which appears to be only the second devoted to Caetani’s piano music, the first having been recorded by Roberto Prosseda, the husband of Alessandra Ammara and insightful writer of the notes on this CD. He draws attention to ‘a preference for gloomy atmospheres and veiled sonorities’, and that is evident from the very first few bars of the Ballata whose elaborate chromaticism produces a melancholy air. Even a rather stiffly gestural passage near the end fails to mar the overall effect.
 
The Four Impromptus are perhaps the most successful items on the disc; the dark effect of the chromatic language is alleviated by the lighter weight of the impromptu form. Here, as in the Toccata, which also has a touch of Beethoven about it, the influence of Schumann is most felt though Caetani’s singular voice is not eclipsed.
 
The Sonata may derive from the classical form but the latter two movements at least come across as extended rhapsodies with the character of ballades. Their expressive diversity is well articulated by Ammara’s variety of touch.
 
As to the playing, the pianism of Alessandra Ammara has been greatly admired in these webpages, for example: Ravel and Schumann.
 
I fully agree with the sentiments expressed in those reviews. Her work is subtle and delicate, her rubato relaxed and natural. Even though much of the music on this record is essentially low-key, she is able to maintain the interest with intelligent characterization and total commitment.
 
This CD serves as an introduction to some very worthwhile music and an excellent addition to a fine pianist’s discography.
 
Roger Blackburn