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Casella/Piano Music

Price: £12.75
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£12.75 In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Presto Classical.

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Toccata - Sandro Ivo Bartoli/Marcello Guerrini
  2. A Notte Alta - Sandro Ivo Bartoli/Marcello Guerrini
  3. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Prld - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  4. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Valse Diatonique (Sui Tasti Bianchi) - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  5. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Canone (Sui Tasti Neri) - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  6. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Bolero - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  7. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Omaggio A Clementi - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  8. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Siciliana - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  9. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Giga - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  10. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Minuetto - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  11. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Carillon - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  12. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Berceuse - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  13. Undici Pezzi Infantili: Galop Final - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  14. Due Ricercari Sul Nome 'B.A.C.H': Funebre - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  15. Due Ricercari Sul Nome 'B.A.C.H': Ostinato - Sandro Ivo Bartoli
  16. Pagine Di Guerra (Pno Duet, Op.25) Quattro 'Films' Musicali: Nel Belgio: Sfilata D'Artiglieria... - Sandro Ivo Bartoli/Marcello Guerrini
  17. Pagine Di Guerra (Pno Duet, Op.25) Quattro 'Films' Musicali: In Francia: Davanti Alle Rovine... - Sandro Ivo Bartoli/Marcello Guerrini
  18. Pagine Di Guerra (Pno Duet, Op.25) Quattro 'Films' Musicali: In Russia: Carica Di Cavalleria Cosacca - Sandro Ivo Bartoli/Marcello Guerrini
  19. Pagine Di Guerra (Pno Duet, Op.25) Quattro 'Films' Musicali: In Alsazia: Croci Di Legno - Sandro Ivo Bartoli/Marcello Guerrini

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x99faeccc) out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99fb0fa8) out of 5 stars For the Casella Completist - There Are Better Alternatives 15 April 2015
By Hexameron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you are new to Casella's piano music, I suggest three alternatives: 1) the 3-CD complete piano music set from Brilliant Classics, 2) the two volumes from Naxos, 3) or best of all, the out-of-print recording with Giocomo Franci. This recording falls flat because the program and Sandro Ivo Bartoli's interpretations are uneven.

I have no gripes with Bartoli's performance of the Toccata op. 6 (1904), which may be Casella's most famous piano piece. It is a virtuoso work of tremendous excitement and pianistic interest; the theme is fetching and Bartoli does a terrific job. Where Bartoli fails dreadfully is in his performance of "A notte alta" op. 30 (1917), which is Casella's masterpiece for solo piano. In the words of the composer, it is music "on a winter's night, clear and cold, glacially insensitive to human suffering." This is a dark impressionist nocturne; spacious, grave, and looking forward to Feldman. Debussy at his blackest didn't capture this kind of loneliness and desolation. Most pianists play this too fast, and Bartoli takes it at an obscenely hasty tempo. Compare this 21-minute performance to Giocomo Franci's expansive 29-minutes. Franci imbues the work with a new dimension of expressive weight because he takes it slow, concentrates on sustaining notes, and using the pedal to produce an ethereal stasis.

The Pezzi infantili (pieces for children) are one of the weakest specimens of Casella's entire piano output. These concise miniatures are steeped in modernism with their Debussyan harmonies and Bartokian rhythms, but the moods are too upbeat and frivolous for my taste. Casella is more interesting when he's austere. In the Ricercare on the name of B-A-C-H (1932), Casella hones in on a neo-Baroque idiom and a seriousness of expression. Here he unleashes some impressive dissonant counterpoint and a somber take on the B-A-C-H motif. I found Bartoli's performances decent enough, but the rhythm slacks and the dramatic bite is absent; compare again to Giocomo Franci's superior interpretation.

Where this recording shines is by showcasing Casella's piano duet suite, Pagine di Guerra (1915). This is not recorded very often, but it is a substantial suite of short pieces evoking scenes of the Great War. The dark impressionist colors, bleak soundworld, and emotionally intense melodies seem to presage Leo Ornstein's Poems of 1917.

Bottom line: This is not the disc to acquaint oneself with Casella's piano music. Seek instead the newer 3-CD complete set of Casella's piano music on Brilliant Classics, or if you can, Giocomo Franci's perfect recording of "A notte alta" and "Nove Pezzi" (not featured on this present release of course). However, this recording will satisfy collectors who want Casella's haunting Pages of War suite for piano duet.
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