Maderna: Divertimento in due tempi; String Quartet; Honeyrêves; Aulodia per Lothar; Widmung; Viola

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COMPOSERS: Maderna
LABELS: Stradivarius Times Future
WORKS: Divertimento in due tempi; String Quartet; Honeyrêves; Aulodia per Lothar; Widmung; Viola
PERFORMER: Ex Novo Ensemble/Claudio Ambrosini
CATALOGUE NO: STR 33330
Bruno Maderna’s approach to the act of composition was often rather fluid, leaving a good deal of freedom to the performers in shaping the music, so he’s not a writer who takes particularly well to the rigidity of a recording. Among the pieces here, the Serenata per un satellite of 1969 is a sort of mobile of no fixed duration, and it has been ‘realised’ by the conductor Claudio Ambrosini. With its continual marimba riffs it’s perhaps the least satisfactory of the works here, though the avant-garde gestures of Honeyrêves of 1961, written for the then ubiquitous flautist Severino Gazzelloni (whose first name the title playfully spells backwards), also seem a little dated. Some of these pieces – the two-movement String Quartet of 1955, Widmung for violin, Viola of 1971 and Dialodia – were included a few years back on a valuable disc by the Arditti Quartet, but it’s certainly good to have these alternative versions. In the Quartet (a piece Maderna dedicated to his lifelong friend Luciano Berio), the Ex Novo Ensemble lends the music rather more warmth and lyricism than the Arditti; and Widmung is also very sympathetically performed. The recording is admirably clear, if very much on the dry side. Misha Donat

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