Pizzetti: Rondo veneziano; La pisanella; Three Symphonic Preludes; Preludio a un altro giorno

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Pizzetti
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Rondo veneziano; La pisanella; Three Symphonic Preludes; Preludio a un altro giorno
PERFORMER: BBC Scottish SO/Osmo Vänskä
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67084
Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968) was one of a significant group of composers who re-established Italian concert music alongside opera, while maintaining a staunchly conservative aesthetic. Influenced by Renaissance models, he was an accomplished composer for chorus, both in his operas and in sacred and secular a cappella works. On the back of its successful recording of Pizzetti’s Messa di requiem, Hyperion has now tackled his orchestral music, which even a sympathetic New Grove article says ‘does not, on the whole, reveal him at his best’. The orchestral writing is certainly efficient, and sometimes colourful; the early Symphonic Preludes for Oedipus rex create some atmosphere and tension; the suite of music for d’Annunzio’s play La pisanella has nice touches of archaism. But all too frequently a potentially strong melodic statement is trivialised by decorative counterpoint; and the quality of invention is insufficent to sustain the ambitious 23-minute span of the Venetian Rondo, or even the 11 minutes of the late, somewhat world-weary Prelude to Another Day. Perhaps Italian performers might somehow have found more drama in this music; but it’s unfair to blame Vänskä and his excellent Scottish orchestra, or the well-judged recording, for what seem to be the shortcomings of the composer. Anthony Burton

Advertisement