Dallapiccola, Petrassi

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COMPOSERS: Dallapiccola,Petrassi
LABELS: Warner Fonit
WORKS: Sonatina canonica; Quaderno musicale di Annalibera; Tre episodi; Invenzioni; Oh, les beaux jours!; Toccata; Siciliana e marcia
PERFORMER: Lya De Barberiis (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 5046-71203-2
These recordings are more than 25 years old, but they don’t seem to have been generally available in the UK before. Lya De Barberiis had a close association with Petrassi, so her performances of his slender output for piano are stamped with authority. That said, the neo-classical doodles of the wartime Invenzioni, and the three pieces of the same period later revised under the Samuel Beckett title of Oh, les beaux jours!, soon outstay their welcome. More substantial is the Casella-influenced Toccata of 1933; but for a genuine masterpiece on this double-CD album you have to turn to Dallapiccola’s Quaderno musicale di Annalibera – a series of pieces written in strict 12-note style, in order to illustrate some of the fundamentals of music to his young daughter. De Barberiis plays them sympathetically, though the crab-canon ‘Andantino amoroso’ sounds rather cold, and her attempts to find pianistic colours are subverted by the uncomfortably dry and close recording. The lack of resonance is particularly damaging to the carillon sounds of Dallapiccola’s Musica per tre pianoforti; and while it’s no doubt cheaper and more convenient to multi-track yourself than to import an additional pair of instruments and players, it’s hardly surprising the result sounds mechanical. Misha Donat