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Gianandrea Noseda: Ten Years of Musica Italiana
Full tracklist below.
James Ehnes (violin) (Dallapiccola Tartiniana)
Sabina Cvilak (soprano) (Petrassi Magnificat)
+Coro Teatro Regio Torino
BBC Philharmonic, *Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino/Gianandrea Noseda
rec. details not supplied – see original releases for places and dates.
CHANDOS CHAN 241-47 [76:51 + 78:52]

The title is self-explanatory: this two-for-one ('241') compilation marks ten years of Chandos's generally excellent, green-tabbed 'Musica Italiana' series of releases. These are mostly performed by the BBC Philharmonic, but all fittingly conducted by one of Italy's finest conductors, Gianandrea Noseda.

Noseda has emerged as a Järvi-like champion of under-exposed composers from his homeland: a number of the ten or so Chandos discs from which these tracks are drawn are classics in their own right. Engaging music is delivered with poise and power from the BBC Philharmonic and indeed the Toscanini-founded Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino under Noseda's attentive eye/ear.

Disc one covers purely orchestral music, recognising in Casella, Dallapiccola and Respighi a holy trinity of Italian composers for whom opera was not everything. The second disc concentrates on that immense operatic repertoire, mixing in – somewhat incongruously, it must be said – the odd sacred choral work by Petrassi alongside preludes, intermezzos and the like from names big and less big.

All in all, there is nothing here not to like, except perhaps the compilation itself, which seems, especially as far as the second disc is concerned, rather random. This is not a reflection on composers or performers - selections and running order were likely determined in an office somewhere, possibly with the lights off.

Sound quality is very good throughout, and the booklet informative, surprisingly focused on the music rather than its conductor, who is restricted to a short biography and several full-page photos in casual-maestro mode. Unfortunately, Chandos give no hints as to their plans for future instalments of this enlightening series. There is much more musica italiana from this era deserving of similarly high-profile exposure.

Meanwhile however, Noseda's enthusiasm and intelligence should persuade listeners that acquisition of any or all of the original albums would constitute a sound musical investment. For immediate hard evidence, see this review of the three Casella volumes available to date.

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Full track-list
Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947)
Allegro molto vivace (from: Symphony no.2, op.12) [8:41]
Sinfonia and Preludio (from: Symphonic Fragments from 'La Donna Serpente', op.50) [12:11]
Sinfonia (from: Concerto for Orchestra, op.61) [8:22]
Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975)
Larghetto and Allegro misurato (from: Tartiniana – Divertimento for violin & orchestra) [5:00]
Danza di Apollo & Ultima Danza di Marsia (from: Frammenti Sinfonici dal Balletto 'Marsia') [6:30] Recitativo e Fanfara (from: Partita for Orchestra) [5:18]
Largamente (from: Three Questions with Two Answers) [3:48]
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Nocturne and Galop (from: La Boutique Fantasque) [9:10]
Burlesca [7:30]
Marche Funèbre and Le Chaperon Rouge et le Loup (from: Five Etudes-Tableaux) [10:21]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
*Sinfonia (from: I Vespri Siciliani) [5:15] (from DG)
*+Te Deum (from: Quattro Pezzi Sacri) [16:01]
Goffredo PETRASSI (1904-2003)
*+'Et misericordia ejus' and 'Gloria Patri, et Filio' (from: Magnificat) [14:20]
*'Exultabo in salutari tuo' and 'Constitue, Domine, legislatorem super eos' (from: Psalm IX) [9:06]
*Gagliardia (from: Partita for orchestra) [5:59]
Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948)
Overture to 'La Dama Boba' [8:10]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Intermezzo (from: Suor Angelica) [3:36]
Umberto GIORDANO (1867-1948)
Prelude to Act II of 'Siberia' [3:59]
Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886)
Dance of the Hours (from: La Gioconda) [8:54]
Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945)
Intermezzo (from: L'Amico Fritz) [4:53]