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Casella: Orchestral Works [Gianandrea Noseda, BBC Philharmonic] [Chandos: CHAN 10768]

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Casella: Orchestral Music, Vol. 3
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Frequently bought together

  • Casella: Orchestral Works [Gianandrea Noseda, BBC Philharmonic] [Chandos: CHAN 10768]
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  • Casella: Symphony No.2 (Symphony No.2/ Scarlattiana)
  • +
  • Casella:Symphony No. 1 [Gianandrea Noseda, Gillian Keith; BBC Philharmonic ] [CHANDOS : CHAN 10880]
Total price: £45.15
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Product details

  • Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
  • Composer: Alfredo Casella
  • Audio CD (3 Jun. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,164 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Italia, Op 11 - BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  2. Introduzione, Corale e Marcia, Op 57 Sinfonia, Op 63 (Symphony No 3) - BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Product description

Product Description

This is the third volume in our survey of orchestral works by Alfredo Casella, which forms part of the ongoing Italian Music series with the BBC Philharmonic and Gianandrea Noseda. Both the two previous volumes have been very well received by reviewers and the buying public alike, with David A. McConnell of MusicWeb International commenting: I am once again dumbstruck by how engaging and wonderful this music is. The orchestra plays its collective heart out, and the Chandos recording is stunning in its realism and impact.

Casella was a fervent Italian patriot, as his Symphonic Rhapsody Italia so aptly demonstrates. In this one-movement work, the composer focuses on just two contrasting destinations in Italy: Sicily impoverished, sun scorched, and superstitious; and Naples bustling and carefree. Like Richard Strauss before him, in Aus Italien of 1886, Casella makes clever use of folk tunes, which he found in Favaras Canti della terra e del mare di Sicilia. Unlike Strauss, though, Casella knew that Funiculì funiculà was not in fact a true folksong, but rather the work of the composer Luigi Denza, and in acknowledging this managed to avoid the copyright troubles that Strauss got into over its usage.

It was through his admiration for Stravinsky that Casella later found neoclassicism, a style which is strongly evident in the driving rhythms, tunefulness, and colourful orchestration of the third Symphony. The work was commissioned to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and it premiered to great acclaim in March 1941. Later it took Dresden and Vienna by storm, where it was conducted by the composer himself and Wilhelm Furtwängler, respectively.

Stravinskys influence is present also in the final work on this disc: Introduzione, Corale e Marcia for large orchestral forces. Structurally it may derive from César Francks Prélude, choral et fugue and Prélude, aria et final, but Stravinsky is there too, in the stylistic inspiration for the main theme of the Introduzione in particular, and also within the melodic material and tempo changes in the concluding Marcia.


Gianandrea Noseda's recording of Casella's Third Symphony was made following an unforgettable live performance in Manchester last November. Written in 1940, it reflects Casella's disillusionment with fascism, of which he was initially supportive. Stylistically, it maintains a precarious balance between Stravinskyan neoclassicism and Mahlerian complexity, though there are immense ambiguities of tone, reminiscent of Shostakovich, in the spectral development of the first movement, the thudding scherzo and the garish triumphalism of the finale. The other two works, though less successful, are still striking. Italia (1910), wonderful if bizarre, prefaces an exuberant tarantella with a brooding depiction of the appalling conditions faced by Italy's proletariat. Introduzione, Corale e Marcia (1931/1935) exudes a disquieting military chill. The performances are exceptional: even by their own standards, Noseda and theBBC Philharmonic have done nothing finer. ***** --Guardian, 13/06/13

Those who have been following Noseda's Casella series will be keen to add this disc to the collection; for anybody who has not so far been tempted, this is a good place to start. --Telegraph, 20/06/13

Good news: Vol 3 in Chandos Casella series effortlessly maintains the exhalted artistic and technical standards of both its predecessors. Gianandrea Noseada encourages the BBC Phiharmonic to give of their considerable best throughout(the exuberant yet marvellously controlled orchestral playing towards the close of Italia really does raise the roof). The Chandos sound, too, is demonstration-worthy in its sumptuous realism and intrepidly wide dynamic range. A very strong recommendation. GRAMOPHONE CHOICE. --Gramophone, August'13

Any Casellian should rush to acquire this excellently performed, beautifully recorded disc. --IRR, Sept'13

This is attractive music and The BBC Philharmonic under Noseada are strong advocates. Performance **** Recordings **** --BBC Music, Oct'13

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These are bountiful times for the recording of Alfredo Casella's music: about time too; largely neglected since his death, in part due to his sympathy for Mussolini's regime. Arguably he was the greatest Italian composer of his time with a far more impressive body of work, waiting to be discovered, than Respighi.

Now his music is being rediscovered and we even have the luxury of choice between recordings of his finest works. Chandos have been releasing recordings of his Symphonies and other orchestral work at the same time as Naxos. You might want to choose one or the other but both bring different facets worth getting to know. To put it very crudely and make a sweeping generalisation; La Vecchia on Naxos produces weighty interpretations that bring out the disparate stylistic influences whilst Noseda on Chandos tends to be more spritely and coherent, benefitting too from the excellent Chandos sound engineering.

The main work here is arguably Casella's greatest symphony, the Third and my sweeping generalisation is relevant here. The symphony is a summation of his development and its reference points and influences are many. By this stage of his career, Casella, who had passed through several musical styles, had settled on a generally neo-classical/baroque style that in part reflected his research into early Italian music and his wish to keep up with musical fashion. It reflected too the strong influences of Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Hindemith and, perhaps most surprisingly, Mahler. Indeed for all his stylistic changes Mahler was musical love of his life. The marching theme of the finale here is quoted directly from his Resurrection Symphony. It also appears as a meltingly yearning lyrical theme in the slow movement and the finale.
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We do not see many CDs issued of Italian Orchestral music, but here is one that is certainly worth the price of the CD. Interesting works and very well recorded by the BBC Philarmonic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Interesting Music by Alfredo Casella 9 April 2014
By David A. Wend - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Premiered in 1910, Italia is a passionate tone poem. Alfredo Casella was a fervent patriot and this work is his equivalent to Sibelius’ Finlandia and Albeniz’s Iberia. The music has a dramatic beginning, reflecting the grim conditions that existed in Sicily at the time, making use of a collection of folk tunes. The drama soon gives way to a lovely bucolic melody and the piece concludes with a rousing version of the Neapolitan tune Funiculi funicular.

The short Introduzione, Corale e Marcia was composed in 1935 in the neoclassical style that Casella developed from his admiration for Igor Stravinsky. The Introduction begins with a dramatic funeral march that quickly moves to a consoling choral and finally to a triumphant military march.

The Third Symphony was composed to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The first movement begins with a brief introduction moving to an energetic melody and a song-like second theme. The Andante movement has a peaceful calm, played by strings and woodwinds, which has some more ominous harmonies as the music progresses. The calm is briefly broken by a savage march that brings the movement to a climax, returning to the calm of the beginning. The Scherzo is in three sections marked “Minor”, “Major,” and “Variation.” The Minor section has a shrill, angular melody, while the Major is lyrical and lighthearted; the Variation blends the two themes together. The Finale is an energetic Rondo that gradually builds to a climax, turning briefly to the calm of the Andante before picking up the energy of the beginning, going to a triumphant conclusion.

This is the third disc from Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic in their Casella series, and like the first two is a rewarding look at the Italian composer. The performances are excellent and beautifully recorded with excellent balance. The booklet is well written and has some interesting photographs of Casella.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Funiculi, Funicula" scores again 3 Aug. 2014
By Steven Cresap - Published on
Format: Audio CD
"Italia" is a tremendous, inspiring tone-poem. Casella uses that same faux-folksong "Funiculi, Funicula" as Richard Strauss did in "Aus Italien". Strauss's treatment is a bit lighter-hearted and happier (especially in Clemens Kraus' classic recording), while this version of the song, in the context of a piece that was intended to be patriotic, is more intricate and monumental. --S.C.
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