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This first of four recordings of Alfredo Casella’s orchestral music couples his first and last purely orchestral works.
Completed the day before his 23rd birthday, the Symphony No. 1, which here receives its world première recording, exudes a self-confidence few composers could match at such an age.
Although it abounds in echoes of other music, at its best – above all in the beautiful central slow movement – the Symphony has a truly distinctive identity: Casella’s fondness for dark, even crepuscular sonorities can be heard in the sometimes stunningly imaginative orchestration.
After that, the driving motoric rhythms and astringent harmonies and timbres of the Concerto, Op. 69 erupt like the work of a different man entirely.
Alfredo Casella: Symphony No. 1 in B minor, Op. 5
I. Lento grave - Piu mosso - Tempo I: Un poco mosso - Allegro vivo - Lento - Tempo lento maestoso - Tempo I: Allegro vivo
II. Adagio, quasi andante
III. Lento molto - Poco piu mosso - Allegro vivo, energico
Alfredo Casella: Concerto for Piano, Timpani, Percussion and Strings, Op. 69
I. Allegro alquanto pesante
II. Sarabanda: Grave, ampio
III. Allegro molto vivace
“The performances here are excellent. Francesco La Vecchia drives the orchestra hard in the symphony, with a big payoff in terms of emotional spontaneity and impact…This boldly engineered disc is the first of four surveying Casella's orchestral music, and we can only look forward to the remaining issues with great enthusiasm. Recommended, without reservations.”