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Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Divertimento for String Orchestra Sz113 [28:21]
Giorgio Federico GHEDINI (1892-1965)
Concerto for violin and strings ‘Il belprato’ [16:55]
Nino ROTA (1911-1979)
Concerto for Strings [17:05]
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Trauermusik for viola and string orchestra [10:12]
Daniele Orlando (violin)
Francesco Fiore (viola)
Il Solisti Aquilana/Flavio Emilio Scogna
rec. March 2015, no location provided
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95223 [74.55]

An interesting, well-played CD of twentieth century string works.

Perhaps the most profound of the of the four works is the Bartók Divertimento. While the composer himself described the work as ‘Another moment of happiness!’ there are darker moments than the lightness one expects from the title. There are many typical Bartók moments, with references to folk music and Hungarian rhythms, but the second movement has moments of real desperation and sadness, something not altogether dissipated by the lively conclusion.

Ghedini is a composer new to me. He was very influential as a teacher, with students including Guido Cantelli and Claudio Abbado, and, among composers, Berio. There is something slightly academic in the tight structures of his music. There are some, but not many, recordings, including a useful collection conducted by Francesco La Vecchia on Naxos 8.573006, but the new disc provides a good performance of one of his two violin concertos. It is worth hearing though it is probably not a major contribution to the repertoire. The present performance is very clear, making sense of the more angular, Stravinskian moments.

Nino Rota remains best known for his film music, but the Concerto for Strings is a reminder of his aspirations as a composer of wider ambition. This concerto is a good example, technically assured and melodic, sometimes very thoughtful. I first knew of it from Riccardo Muti’s performance, now available only as a download, but the new recording is perhaps a touch more sombre in tone than the earlier one, yet very fine.

Hindemith produced his Trauermusik to be heard with violin, viola or cello. The present performance wisely opts for the viola, which was the composer’s own instrument. The work has a British connection as a tribute to King George V, and was written quickly on the day after the king’s death, and performed shortly afterwards by the BBCSO under Sir Adrian Boult. There is much more to it than simply an occasional piece: it is splendid music.

Overall, then, this is a fine CD, with good playing of well-prepared performances. At Brilliant's price, a worthwhile investment.

Michael Wilkinson

 

 




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