CASELLA, ALFREDO Symphony No. 2, Scarlattiana. Martin Roscoe, BBC Philharmonic / Gianandrea Noseda. Chandos

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Casella Alfredo Symphony No 2 Bbc Philharmonic Gianandrea Noseda Chandos

ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947)

Casella

Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 12

Scarlattiana, Op. 44

Martin Roscoe (piano)

BBC Philharmonic / Gianandrea Noseda

As part of the Musica Italiana series, the BBC Philharmonic and Gianandrea Noseda perform two important works by Alfredo Casella, a largely forgotten Italian composer who was actually one of the most important of his generation. Italian composers in the early years of the twentieth century were not much interested in the symphony. Casella, however, was a major exception. On the advice of Giuseppe Martucci, the thirteen-year-old Casella had been sent to the Paris Conservatoire where, alongside outstanding fellow students such as Maurice Ravel and George Enescu, he received the all-round professional training that would not have been available to him in Italy.

He was much influenced in his early piano pieces not only by his composition teacher, Gabriel Fauré, but also by Debussy and Ravel. His next stylistic allegiance, with the Russian Nationalists, was also a product of his Parisian environment, not least by way of the formative friendship with Ravel. But in his passion for the music of Gustav Mahler he was, in French circles at least, more or less on his own. As Mahler was moved to learn when he first met Casella, in Paris in 1909, the young composer knew his symphonies ‘by heart.’ Symphony No. 2 in C minor is dedicated to George Enescu, and here receives its premiere recording. Many examples of themes, harmonic colours, and orchestral sounds derive directly from the music of his hero figure, Mahler, but no one who knows the two composers could ever mistake one for the other. Casella has his own distinctive personality and his own agenda, and his passion turns into exhilarating frenzy.

Drawing from as many as ninety of the hundreds of Scarlatti sonatas available to him, in the neoclassical Scarlattiana, Casella presents an abundance of melody, the work’s general light-heartedness effectively offset by such thoughtful episodes as the matching slow introductions to the opening Sinfonia and the Finale.

These two orchestral works demonstrate Casella’s fascinating tonal language. They are beautifully conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, a long-time champion of Casella’s works.

Chandos CHAN10605

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