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Casella: Concerto For Orchestra (Pagine Di Guerra/ Suite - Fb) (Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma; Francesco La Vecchia) (Naxos: 8573004)

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  • Casella: Concerto For Orchestra (Pagine Di Guerra/ Suite - Fb) (Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma; Francesco La Vecchia) (Naxos: 8573004)
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  • Casella: Notte Di Maggio/ Cello Concerto/ Scarlattiana
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  • Casella: Symphony No.3 (Elegia Eroica)
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Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma - Francesco La Vecchia, direction


'Naxos and Francesco La Vecchia continue their amazing Casella series:… the unpromising title 'Suite in C major'… does nothing to prepare one for the first magic bars of this spine-tingling work… Throughout, the performances by the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma under La Vecchia seem to be ideal interpretations of all three works… The surprises afforded by the Suite and the Pagine di Guerra not only justify the 9modest0 price of the disc but give one a fascinating sense of the composer's development and historical context.' --Ivan Moody, International Record Review - Oct.'12

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9aed4528) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99fa272c) out of 5 stars More of a Good Thing 15 Oct. 2012
By AndrewCF - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It seems that Casella, the finest 20th Century Italian composer (and I acknowledge the greatness of Puccini and Respighi), is finally beginning to come into his own. Just a few years ago, the only work by Casella to be heard or recorded with any frequency was "Paganininiana," a rather lightweight counterpart to the Rachmaninov favorite Paganini Variations. To further explore this composer, one had to go to European labels such as CPO, ASV, Capriccio or the Italian labels. My own interest was sparked by the chamber music recording on ASV, and was stoked by the exciting performances of the "Elegia eroica" and "Concerto Romano" from the "Expressionismus" discs on the German Signum label and the incredible recording of the Sinfonia (Symphony No. 3) conducted by Alun Francis on CPO. Soon enough, the distinguished series of recordings conducted by Francesco La Vecchia with the Rome Symphony commenced, followed shortly by the Chandos series conducted by Noseda.

Although it is probably apt to call Alfredo Casella a chameleon (as he has been called by others), I believe that it is more appropriate to call him an investigator or researcher. His musical styles seem to come in phases, first influenced by Respighi, but then oddly by Mahler, given his training under Faure. When the Symphony No. 2 was released on CD, the echoes of Mahler were apparent (much to the chagrin of some critics). Indeed when the Suite Op. 13 was first performed, the snobbish French were not familiar with the German master. Today when we hear this work, the opening bars all but mirror the opening bars of Mahler's first symphony. While the movement titles come from the Baroque, the music is late Romantic in style. Whether you attribute the reflections of Mahler in this fine work as "cribbing" or as affectionate tribute (as I do) is a matter of taste. The lovely, melancholy Sarabande should convince you of the quality of Casella's composition.

But there is another Casella to be found in the brief orchestral pictures (Pagine di Guerra) of war-torn sites: the one influenced by Stravinsky. Yes, Casella shamelessly parallels passages of "Le Sacre" in these vignettes, but only to effect of the horrors of destruction. The "War Pages" from France and Alsace are particularly devastating.

Finally, there is the world premier recording of a masterpiece, the 1937 Concerto for Orchestra (it seems that Chandos did beat out the release date of this disc). Again, we see another face of influence to Casella, that of Hindemith, but in this case there is no recognizable quote. This work sounds modern, no heart on sleeve, but tonal and direct.

None of the performances of this series by La Vecchia are also-rans. While the Rome Symphony is not as concise and taut as in the Chandos recording of the Concerto, it is a good one, and the piano obligato seems to be more forward. Naxos has improved the recordings as the series has progressed (perhaps aware of their competition from Chandos). But those looking for an introduction to this worthy composer at a lower price will not at all be disappointed.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a704528) out of 5 stars Five Stars 8 Aug. 2014
By Steve Kur - Published on Amazon.com
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Good shipping and really interesting music here
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