Bruno Maderna was one of a group of post second world war two composers to emerge from Italy and seek new forms in musical orchestration and a new way of organizing harmony that owed something to the Vienna school. Along with Luigi Nono and Luciano Berio, Maderna became well known for doing thusly, but in a way that was unique and even a bit impressionistic. This new recording of his piano concertos and the orchestral work, "Quadrivium", illustrate the point well and are well worth your time. In fact, the "Piano Concerto" from 1942 sounds quite a bit reminiscent of Berg but with tinges of Rachmaninov or even Hindemith. The opening is clean, and a bit whispy as the piano line rambles through a variety of moods and tonal centers. The work is consistently engaging and not at all difficult to listen to. What is interesting is the composer's own version for two pianos, done just a few months later. The same piece takes on a different sound when some of Maderna's denser orchestration is pared down and given to the second piano. I like both renditions but I do have to admit that the two piano version has an almost recital-like character that actually highlights some of the piece's finer points, such as the small scherzo with its own modal flavor and interesting counterpoint. The "Concerto for Two Pianos" dates from 1947 and shares some of the composer's trademark use of the twelve tone pallet but in a non-serial way. This, like the first 'Concerto' is a relatively concise work with much to say. It has a rhythmic propulsion in spots that points to Bartok but the combination of the mystic with the abstract is very like many of Maderna's earlier pieces. It provides ample technical fluourish for the soloists and a spare, supportive orchestration. Aldo Orvieto and Fausto Bongelli are to be commended for an attention getting performance and some genuine empathy for the sound of these works. "Quadrivium" is a large scale work, thirty minutes plus, from the later Maderna catalogue. Written in 1969, this is a much more timbre focused and abstract work filled with many small scale microscope explorations of orchestral combinations, heavy - yet delicate - on percussion and little exposed soli for winds and strings. In some ways, it is a concerto for orchestra but in one long, slowly evolving panorama that hardly ever gets above mezzo forte and - unlike the piano concertos - does not have any niche or pulse that can be defined other than what defines later Maderna. I find these compliments. This recording, by Carlo Miotto and the Orchestre della Arena di Verona does a very credible job and reminds me, in spots, of my LP recording - a landmark one - from 1988 by Giuseppe Sinopoli on DGG. This is a very well played, interesting disc for fans of modern orchestral repertoire or for anyone who wants to learn a little bit more about the post war European avant-garde; of which Maderna was a master.