Martucci, Mascagni, Pizzetti & Respighi

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COMPOSERS: Martucci,Mascagni,Pizzetti & Respighi
LABELS: Warner
ALBUM TITLE: Memories of Love
WORKS: Songs by Martucci, Mascagni, Pizzetti & Respighi
PERFORMER: José María Guerrero (tenor), Richard Pearce (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 2564-61295-2
In the tenor’s booklet biography, a quote from a review in Opera magazine has been altered twice to make it sound better. I know: I wrote it. In fact, this is a mediocre voice, suffering recurrent problems with pitch and steadiness. The tenor has some sense of style, but his instrument needs a good deal of work. Frankly, I am surprised to see a singer of this calibre appearing on a major label. The repertoire is mostly neglected and often interesting. Mascagni’s songs are pleasant drawing-room music – like Tosti, only more cleverly dressed up. The set by the instrumental specialist Martucci is more ambitious and also more imaginative, revealing his strong German leanings, with some influences from Schumann and Brahms, and even (harmonically) Wagner, though by comparison the Italian is a good deal more plodding. The Pizzetti items prove worthwhile, both vocally and pianistically, with a use of expression and colour that belies the composer’s reputation as worthy but dull. The strongest things here are the Respighi songs, some of which are masterpieces, but the singer’s wooden delivery is unable to do them any kind of justice. Careful accompaniments, decent sound. George Hall