LABELS: Koch Schwann Musica Mundi
WORKS: Sonata a tre, Op. 62; Barcarolla, Op. 15; Sicilienne et burlesque, Op. 23; Serenata
PERFORMER: Hans-Udo Heinzmann (flute), Walter Hermann (clarinet), Wilfried Schoberansky (bassoon), Stephan Graf (trumpet), Florin Paul (violin), Martin Menking (cello), Werner Hagen (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 3-6753-2
Italian music owes much to Alfredo Casella. Having spent his formative years in Paris, he returned to Italy determined to create ‘an art which could be not only Italian but also European in its position in the general cultural picture’. Casella introduced the music of, among others, Ravel, Stravinsky and Schoenberg into the cultural life of his native land at a time when it was in danger of ossifying.
Casella’s compositional output is often split into three periods reflecting superficially radical changes of approach. However, that is too simplistic, as is demonstrated by the two most substantial works presented here, the Sonata a tre and the Serenata. Both belong to Casella’s supposed third period, and yet the imposing, gritty opening to the Sonata is worlds away from the good-natured neo-classical bonhomie of the Serenata. Composed in 1927, the latter is redolent of Pulcinella and The Soldier’s Tale, but has more to it than pseudo-Stravinsky despite its self-conscious whimsicality. The Sonata on the other hand is far more earnest, and if it contains the occasional longueur, it has more than enough substance to warrant further acquaintance, especially in such committed performances. The shorter works are delightful, making this a most welcome release. Christopher Dingle