I have to admit that Carlo Alberto Pizzini (1905-1981) was new to me. He studied with Respighi and was apparently heavily indebted to his teacher in terms of style, orchestration and use of color. The music is superficial and easy on the ear, although that might not be unforgivable if the listener's interest and enjoyment is sustained (apart from Respighi, Nino Rota's concert music is what is most often brought to mind). Overall, however, the conclusion has to be that it generally fails; there are many attempts at melody here, but nothing Pizzini comes up with is anywhere close to memorable, and too often the music turns into what sound mostly like background music for a Hollywood movie.
Al Piedmonte starts with a brazenly hollow and noisily brass-led movement; effective enough but hardly great music. It is followed by a busy nocturne - a relatively charming and worthwhile movement - and ends with a raucously noisy but lively final movement. The Scherzo in stile classico that follows is a Haydn pastiche and thoroughly uninspired and unmemorable. Things pick up in the four-movemented symphonic poem Il poema delle Dolomiti, which contains several fine things, even some inspired music - and Pizzini is pretty good at creating orchestral colors. I would certainly not mind hearing the first, sunrise movement again, and the pastoral scene of shepherds and meadows that follows is really fine - possibly worth buying the disc for, even. The third movement, a lively scherzo also contains many fine touches and some really excellent orchestral coloration, giving way to a rumbustious, mostly loud, finale.
The Sarabanda for strings, a homage to Corelli, is also a fine piece and would make a useful encore. The Grotte di Postumia, a theme and variations tries to sustain the listener's interest with orchestral colors to cover the apparently total absence of genuine inspiration. It goes only so far, and despite a few interesting toucher this is a rather dull work. The disc ends with the repugnant Strapaese - how come composers get themselves to rattle off drivel like this? To sum up, then, this is a worthwhile acquisition if you don't expect too much - Il poema delle Dolomiti is definitely worth hearing, and fans of Respighi will probably find things to savor here. But in general this is minor music, relying on cheap tricks more than genuine inspiration (the two `latest' works, Al Piedmonte and the Grotte di Postumia, from 1940 and 1941, respectively, also uses explicit references to Hollywood, musicals and nightclub music in a manner that suggests that the composer never even tried to avoid pastiche). The performances are good enough and the sound quality - these recordings date from 1955 and 1956 - is a little rough and hard-edged but perfectly acceptable. A worthwhile disc for the adventurous, but hardly an essential acquisition. Interestingly, these are all early works and I admit to being curious about what happened to Pizzini's style later on.