HAPPENED TODAY - On December 6, 1953, the composer Andrew Violette was born in New York

Francesco Dillon (4)


He has recorded with many labels: what were they? The main ones and for which recordings?
Between chamber music projects, in a duo or quartet, as a soloist with orchestra and experimental music recordings, I certainly have a large and varied discography (summarized exhaustively on my site). These are different labels, from the most “institutional” and widespread, to splendid limited editions … In a duo with the pianist Emanuele Torquati I explored great romantics such as Schumann, Brahms and Liszt (of the latter we recorded the complete work for cello and piano) through original works and very rare transcriptions that appeared in their time. They are CDs released by the Dutch label Brilliant Classics. In the rich discography of the Quartetto Prometeo, I am particularly fond of a CD, Arcana, published by Sony. One of our projects on wonderful works of the Italian seventeenth-eighteenth century, including Scarlatti, Gesualdo, and Monteverdi, transcribed for us by important Italian composers today such as Sciarrino, Fedele, Gervasoni, Battistelli, Filidei. The idea behind the disc is that precisely the practice of creative transcription is an ideal field of comparison to enhance the peculiarities of today’s composers. Another very special record with the Quartetto Prometeo is Reinventions, released for the “mythical” German label ECM and dedicated to the pages written for us by Stefano Scodanibbio: a poetic anthology that unites many distant sound worlds, such as Bach and Mexican popular music, reinterpreted through the alienating and kaleidoscopic lens of the recently deceased composer from the Marches.

Can you tell us about the three Schumannian rarity CDs?
Schumann (I write knowing that I venture a totally “naive” and superficial definition) is my “favorite composer”. I love his masterpieces very much and not least his oddities. I love the complicated and visionary works of recent years, often considered the result of incipient psychic instability. I empathize with his humoral and unstable sensitivity (and fragility), and I consider him an absolute poetic reference for the identity between Opera and Lived. To my ears, his notes always tell the truth, sometimes almost naked and defenseless. Many years ago, on a trip to Copenhagen, I bought an old and dusty Peters score of Schumannian transcriptions made by Friederich Grützmacher, a name that we Italian cellists know well (and fear!) For his virtuoso studies, mandatory in our conservatory exams. The volume remained for a long time stacked among the things to read until one day I met, thanks to a Spanish Internet correspondent, a second interesting Schumannian rarity in the cellist version of Grützmacher: the famous Kinderszenen. The pianist Emanuele Torquati and I read this oddity with curiosity and openness, being gratified by what turns out to be a delightful elaboration with precious touches of compositional finesse. Shortly later, in that (virtual) mine of music that the IMSLP (Petrucci Library) site, I found what is my absolute favorite sonata, namely Schumann’s Sonata n.2, op.121 for violin and piano in the version (always by Grützmacher) for cello. With Torquati we began to insert some of those transcriptions into the programs (another jewel is the 17 Lieder collection, as well as the interesting piano accompaniment that Schumann wrote for Bach’s III Suite). I had completely changed my perspective on transcription – a practice that I considered ancient and artistically inferior and that instead suddenly seemed to shed new light on a nineteenth-century musical world. Then I couldn’t help but dream of a recording project that would collect these pages. [to be continued]