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Franco Ferrara’s musical gifts were prodigious, although his compositions have been overlooked. Born in Palermo he was a fine pianist, an even better violinist, playing under Toscanini, and later a conductor whose public performances were curtailed by illness, but whose private classes were famous.
The Fantasia tragica is a ‘symphonic homage’ to Shostakovich, modelled on the third movement (‘Eternal Memory’) of the Russian composer’s 11th Symphony. The youthful Burlesca attests to his high spirited and superbly realised string writing and shares something of a filmic heritage with Notte di tempesta, a late-Romantic score of fulsome accomplishment.