Sciarrino: Un’immagine di Arpocrate; Six Capriccios for Violin

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COMPOSERS: Sciarrino
LABELS: Warner Fonit
WORKS: Un’immagine di Arpocrate; Six Capriccios for Violin
PERFORMER: Massimiliano Damerini (piano), Georg Mönch (violin); RAI SO & Chorus, Rome/Gianluigi Gelmetti
CATALOGUE NO: 5050467-1224-2-0
These are early scores by Salvatore Sciarrino – the massive Un imaggine di Arpocrate for solo piano, orchestra and chorus dating from between 1974 and 1979, and six of the set of eight Capricci for solo violin composed in 1975-6, when he was still in his twenties. Their sound-world, though, is instantly identifiable, for Sciarrino’s music has always inhabited expressive territory totally unlike that of any other contemporary composer. The webs of breathy evanescent textures that swathe the delicate arabesques of the piano writing in Un imagine are punctuated by irregular pauses, and when a chorus enters in the final section of this 45-minute work, intoning the final lines of both Goethe’s Faust and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, the whole intent of the work becomes clear. It is dedicated to the Italian pianist Dino Ciani, who was killed in a car accident in 1974, and what had been intended originally as a concerto for him mutated into his memorial, with textures numbed by grief and destabilised by silence. It is a delicate, beautiful work, played with the right fragile touch by Massimiliano Damerini and accompanied with great tact by Gianluigi Gelmetti, though the recording (from 1978) is a little muddy. The extrovert violin pieces make a good foil to all that seriousness; high-wire exercises full of skittering harmonics and lurching changes of emphasis, they are real virtuoso stuff, very decently negotiated by Georg Münch. Andrew Clements