Dallapiccola: Piccolo concerto per Muriel Couvreux; Liriche Greche; Tartiniana seconda

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COMPOSERS: Dallapiccola
LABELS: Nuova
WORKS: Piccolo concerto per Muriel Couvreux; Liriche Greche; Tartiniana seconda
PERFORMER: Bruno Canino (piano), Anita Morrison (soprano), Marco Rizzi (violin)Dallapiccola Ensemble/Luigi Suvini
CATALOGUE NO: Era 7109 DDD
Luigi Dallapiccola, who died in 1975, was the leading Italianexponent of the 12-note compositional method devised by Arnold Schoenberg, but adapted the technique to accommodate his own highly expressive and lyrical style. One contemporary described Dallapiccola’s use of instrumentation as ‘soft and starry’, and this quality is to be found in all three works on this disc – even though they come from quite different periods of his creative life.

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The Piccolo concerto per Muriel Couvreux is a two-movement work for piano and chamber orchestra which pre-dates his adoption of serialism, giving the soloist a sometimes deceptively simple, sometimes glitteringly percussive role in a spare but colourfully orchestrated score.

The 13 Liriche Greche, written between 1942 and 1945, were the first of Dallapiccola’s compositions to be based wholly on note row technique, but he was determined to treat the material ‘above all melodically’ and in its concentration of expression and subtle blending of colours and timbres the music is reminiscent of Webern.

Easiest of all to enjoy is the Tartiniana seconda from 1956, the second of Dallapiccola’s tributes to the 18th-century violin virtuoso Giuseppe Tartini, scored for solo violin and orchestra. Here serialism is temporarily abandoned for sparklingly tuneful use of Tartini’s own themes, with a touch of Stravinskian neo-classicism about the results.

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Bruno Canino, Anita Morrison and Marco Rizzi are admirable soloists, and the Dallapiccola Ensemble is skilfully directed by Luigi Suvini. The recordings, from St John’s Smith Square, in London, are clean and well balanced and the disc is recommended for the adventurous. David Michaels