May 2001Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /May01/

Gian Francesco MALIPIERO
Il finto Arlecchino; Vivaldiana; Sette invenzioni; Quattro invenzione.
Veneto Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Peter Maag
NAXOS 8.555515 [63:03]
Crotchet  AmazonUK   AmazonUS

The most significant work on this album is the 28-minute Sette invenzione which is really film music created originally created for a film called Acciacio (Steel). Indeed the opening dissonant bars of the first and last inventions might suggest heavy rollers and hammers but little else evokes heavy machinery. Instead we have a delightful, timeless kaleidoscope of evocative imagery very colourfully scored for a large modern orchestra that weds cheerful wit to classical elegance, warm pastoral nostalgic dreaming with liturgical majesty. Sometimes the music is heroic and dramatic. Ancient church modes rub shoulder with a style akin to Vaughan Williams's 'Thomas Tallis' music. Yet this music is unmistakably Italian. Music to set the imagination aflame, crisply and articulately performed by Maag's forces.

The Quattro invenzioni were part of the same film score and have characteristics in common with the 7 inventions except that they are scored for a smaller ensemble and therefore the atmosphere is more intimate, more archaic and rustic. In fact they were conceived to underscore scenes of village life, a country fair (this brilliant evocation is especially colourfully orchestrated), and the inside of an inn. These are attractive simple melodies resembling Musettes in a late Baroque suite.

Even more overtly 18th century in style is Malipiero's enchanting light-weight music for his opera Il finto Arlechino. The album includes four symphonic fragments - delicate and enchanting music with a gorgeous romantic minuet in the middle of the opening Allegro balanced by robust buffoonery elsewhere.

Malipiero became president of the Istituto Italiano Antonio Vivaldi and edited several volumes of the 'Red Priest's' music. Ultimately, he felt the urge to be more creative and freer with some of the material and thus composed his Vivaldiana. It is an imaginatively colourful transcription for classical orchestra (consisting of double woodwind, two horns and strings) of excerpts from six different Vivaldi concertos gathered together into three double movements each of them subdivided by a change of mood and tempo.

Colourful atmospheric music for the larger ensemble to set the imagination soaring contrasted with the elegance and delicacy of smaller forms and older styles. Music to savour played with wit and style.

Ian Lace

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