With their second CD, the cellist Adrian Bradbury and the pianist Oliver Davies, conclude their precious work of reconstruction of the 12 fantasies on opera arias composed by Alfredo Piatti, the great Italian cellist known all over the world for his famous 12 Capricci.
“Piatti, a native Italian, became England’s – especially Queen Victoria’s – favourite cellist”.
Born a stone’s throw from the home of Gaetano Donizetti, into a family of musicians, Alfredo Piatti grew up immersed in the magical musical atmosphere of the golden age of Italian opera. From the early years of his life, sitting in the orchestra next to his teacher, playing a viola da gamba transformed into a small cello, he was able to listen to the great singers of his time and to store, in a hidden corner of his heart, a treasure of wonderful melodies. Those same melodies that the audience, who then crowded the opera houses, hummed returning home after the show. Those sad, sweet, cheerful, and passionate melodies that effectively gave shape and color to the variegated kaleidoscope of human emotions.
It, therefor,e seems quite natural that fragments of those melodies recompose themselves, almost alone, under his nimble fingers, like memories that recompose themselves in a wonderful dream, giving life to his fantasies. Fantasies that gave the interpreter the opportunity to demonstrate his creativity and his exceptional technique, and to the public the pleasant sensation of listening to something known, but at the same time new. Because the line of a simple melody, decomposed, and recomposed in a rich game of variations, offers the listener the pleasure of continuous discovery.
Of course, the modern interpreter who deals with these fantasies, and does it starting from manuscripts, shows a lot of courage, and if he does not limit himself to one of the fantasies, but faces all twelve of them, he also shows a lot of tenacity. But Adrian Bradbury and Oliver Davies faced the challenge not only with the necessary tenacity but also with great seriousness and passion. Among them perfect harmony of intent, which took shape in the careful philological study of the manuscripts first and then in the extraordinary ability to always put in the foreground an elegant and refined cantabilità, especially in the hardest passages, where it would have been more easy to fall into the temptation to flaunt one’s technical mastery, losing sight of the melodic line and attention to sound quality.
A challenge thus overcome, which also takes on the special value of a musical will. In fact, a few days after the release of the second CD, Oliver Davies abandoned the beloved keyboard of his Bechstein forever, leaving unfinished the plan to devote himself to the many other fantasies included in the compositions of Alfredo Piatti. These CDs, therefore, retain forever the precious memory of him and of his way of playing: precise, decisive, refined, and gentle.
Souvenir de Beatrice di Tenda*
Souvenir de La Sonnambula, Op.5*
Souvenir des Puritani, Op.9*
Capriccio sopra un tema della Niobe, Op.22
Fantasia sopra alcuni motivi della Gemma di Vergy
Impromptu on an air by Purcell in the Indian Queen*
Introduction et Variations sur un thème de Lucia di Lammermoor, Op.2
Rondò sulla Favorita*
Souvenir de l’opéra Linda di Chamounix, Op.13
Parafrasi sulla Barcarola del Marin Faliero*
Rimembranze del Trovatore, Op.21
Capriccio sur des Airs de Balfe*
Adrian Bradbury – Cello
Oliver Davies – Piano
Catalog No.: CDE84642
The CD is for sale on Meridian
Catalog No.: CDE84659
The CD is for sale on Meridian
The third of the CDs dedicated by Silvia Chiesa to the cello and orchestra concerts of the Italian twentieth-century, together with those dedicated to Nino Rota, Castelnuovo Tedesco e Malipiero, to underline the great interest of the Milanese cellist for a series of compositions that until now have never enjoyed the consideration they deserve, but which must certainly be placed among the most valuable works of music literature (and not only Italian) both by musicians and by the public and critics.
Silvia Chiesa is an Italian cellist, born in Milan. Since 2005, she begins a partnership in duo with the pianist Maurizio Baglini, with whom she has performed in the main theaters in the world, including the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Oriental Art Center in Shanghai, the Sala Cecília Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, the Victoria Hall of Geneva, and many others. The duo’s discography includes the integral of Saint-Saëns, for a CD attached to the magazine “Amadeus“, the CD Cello Sonatas, dedicated to Brahms and Shubert and the integral of the works for cello and piano by Rachmaninov, for Decca. In the CD series Live at Amiata Piano Festival he plays the String Quintet op. 163 by Schubert with the Quartetto della Scala and the Haydn Concerts with the Camerata Ducale. She also recorded the world premiere of “…fra la carne e il Cielo” by Azio Corghi, of which she is dedicated, with the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino conducted by Tito Ceccherini, with Maurizio Baglini, Valentina Coladonato and Omero Antonutti (also for Decca).
We also remember the performances of the trio formed by Silvia Chiesa with the violinist Francesca Dego and the pianist Mariangela Vacatello (Amiata Piano Festival, Fazioli Concert Hall). She is the dedicatee of Matteo D’Amico’s Concerto per violoncello e orchestra and performed in the Italian premiere of works by Gil Shohat, Nicola Campogrande, Aldo Clementi, Michele Dall’Ongaro, Peter Maxwell Davies, Gianluca Cascioli, Ivan Fedele and Giovanni Sollima.
As a soloist, she has collaborated with conductors such as Luciano Acocella, Paolo Arrivabeni, Gürer Aykal, Giampaolo Bisanti, Massimiliano Caldi, Tito Ceccherini, Daniele Gatti, Cristian Orosanu, Corrado Rovaris, Howard Shelley, Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli, Francesco Angelico, Marco Angius , Corrado Rovaris, Daniele Rustioni and Brian Wright. In 2014 she held concerts as a soloist or in a duo in Turin, Cremona, Geneva, Jerusalem, Lima and New York.
She is a resident artist of the international chamber music festival “Amiata Piano Festival” and a teacher at the “Monteverdi” Institute of Music Studies in Cremona.
She plays a Giovanni Grancino cello from 1697.
The Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI is an Italian symphony orchestra linked to the RAI state broadcaster, born in 1993 from the merger of the previous four RAI symphony orchestras, which were based in Turin, Rome, Naples, and Milan.
Corrado Rovaris has been the Musical Director of Opera Philadelphia since 2004, and regularly collaborates with the major Italian and foreign musical institutions.
Alfredo Casella, born in Turin in 1883, Ildebrando Pizzetti, born in Parma in 1880, Ottorino Respighi, born in Bologna in 1879. Three representatives of the so-called “Generation of the ’80”. Born in an Italy that had recently achieved unity and that sought a new national identity not only at the political but also the cultural level. The intellectuals of the time felt more urgently than ever the need for a dense and constructive dialogue between the arts and, within the artistic movements of the time, it was not uncommon to see a painter sitting on the piano or a musician giving shape to his thoughts with color. Strengthened by an operatic tradition of enormous prestige, the Italian composers were accustomed to the convergence of the arts in artistic expression, but they also felt strongly the need to develop a modern and autonomous chamber and symphonic language. A language that took into account the great experiments that had profoundly changed the compositional style abroad, without forgetting the rich Italian tradition and above all did not translate into the slavish imitation of the different styles that were then emerging, especially in France, Germany, and Russia. Casella, son of musicians, studied composition in Paris with Gabriel Fauré and often played four hands with Debussy. As a pianist, he gave concerts throughout Europe and met the main composers and performers of the time. He published a biography of Stravinsky, edited the first Italian editions of Beethoven and Bach. On his return to Italy, now a mature and affirmed musician, he dedicated himself not only to teaching, but also to a patient work of promotion of young European composers and, at the same time, of the Italian musical heritage of the past. In his style, Casella creates a very personal language that well summarizes this double interest by creating, within traditional musical forms, melodic sequences often full of tension, evocative more in the design than in the color, and exercised in controlled polytonality. Well anchored to tradition, but also to the artistic context in which he lives, Ildebrando Pizzetti also appears, who always showed great interest in the Italian musical tradition, with particular attention to the Renaissance polyphony of Palestrina and Gregorian chant, but he composed also the music for a tragedy by D’Annunzio, and he was happy to create the column of the first great Italian films of those years: Scipione L’Africano (1937), I Promessi Sposi (1941), Il mulino del Po (1949). His compositional language often appears as a happy recovery of ancient compositions, orchestrated in a modern style. The use of counterpoint is frequent, created through the interweaving of elegant vocal lines, with a constant strenuous search for balance between earthly emotions and aspiration to a religious vision of life and art. Ottorino Respighi, having completed his studies in Italy, had the opportunity to deepen his knowledge of the German and Russian music of the time, weaving professional relationships with Nikolaj Rimsky-Korsakov Ferruccio Busoni, Max Bruch. His Adagio for cello and orchestra, a youth composition dedicated to his friend Antonio Certani, consisting of the elegant reworking of a theme inspired by a popular Romagna song, is a significant example of his contribution to the creation of a “modern” Italian musical language. The composition, definitively moving away from the search for empty instrumental virtuosity of the end of the 19th century, highlights the expressive tonal potential of the cello, making it the protagonist of intense musical dialogues with the other members of the orchestra: the woods, the English horn, and the harp.
Silvia Chiesa, with this beautiful recording, allows everyone to approach the repertoire she loves so much. All the listeners can easily perceive the intellectual and emotional participation of the expert interpreter, who faces the scores with passion with great technical and interpretative maturity, but also with great flexibility in giving voice, even in the smallest nuances, to the different compositional methods of the three authors proposed. The partnership with the Director Rovaris and the Rai Orchestra did well, united in a project that leads to the rediscovery of musical geography that is DNA of the Italian intellectual panorama.
CD that still honors Sony Classical’s commitment to propose this repertoire with courage and musical faith. Beautiful cover images, accurate and precise indications inside, in Italian, English, French, and German.
SILVIA CHIESA, The Italian Modernism
ALFREDO CASELLA, Concerto per violoncello e orchestra, Op.58 (1935)
OTTORINO RESPIGHI, Adagio con variazioni per violoncello e orchestra (1921)
ILDEBRANDO PIZZETTI, Concerto per violoncello in do minore (1934)
Silvia Chiesa (cello)
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI
Publication date: November 2014
Label: Sony Classical
The CD is for sale on Amazon e CeDe
On the occasion of the bicentenary of the death of Jean-Louis Duport, Claudio Ronco and Emanuela Vozza enter the garden of his compositions, guiding the listener and inviting him to discover a thousand faces of his Sonatas and Duos from every possible point of view.
Period instruments, notes written on yellowed paper over time, gut strings manufactured with rigorous historical criteria by Mimmo Peruffo, careful historical research on the genesis of the compositions, meticulous care in research on execution practice. For Claudio and Emanuela, the making of a CD is always the point of arrival of a long journey of study. But, in the fruit of their work, there is also a deep emotional involvement. The soul of a musician can never feed only on study and technique. It needs colors, flavors, smells. The clear sky at dawn, the enchantment of a sunset, the gentle murmur of the water of a stream, the intense green of the meadows and woods, the scent of flowers, and the intense taste of the fruits of the earth.
And then there are the silences, ready to welcome the notes that, under the agile fingers of the interpreters, wake up from a long sleep. The medieval church of Monferrer and the large hall of Mas Vilalte, an imposing eighteenth-century manor house, near Corsavy. Stone buildings, inside which suggestive acoustic effects are created, cleverly exploited by the interpreters to give the sound the desired color. For the first and last of the Sonatas and for the duets, the intimate and intimate atmosphere of the church. For the second and fifth Sonatas the hall. And finally the different position of the microphones, which allows the listener to put himself in the shoes of who is playing. A sound that expands freely in ancient environments. A sound that meets the ancient stones on its way and reaches us loaded with the life that has taken place among those stones for centuries.
Thus, track after track, an elegant and refined dialogue between the two instruments resumes life. Sometimes a close and lively dialogue, sometimes a peaceful sharing of dreams. And those who listen are amazed that such a fascinating musical heritage has stayed for a long time sleeping among the pages of the scores, on the shelves of libraries.
A wonderful CD, to listen and listen to again, imagining that you are next to Claudio and Emanuela, in the enchanted landscape of the French Pyrenees.
Jean-Louis Duport (Paris, 4 October 1749 – 7 September 1819)
“Six SONATES / pour Violoncelle et Baße / Dediés / A Sa Majesté / Frederic Guillaume II / Roy de Prusse / Œuvre IV” publ. Sieber, Paris 1789.
Sonata n.1 in D major Allegro – Adagio – Rondeau Gratioso
Sonata n.2 in G major Allegro Moderato – Adagio – Allegro Assai
Sonata n.5 in F major Allegro Moderato – Adagio Cantabile (in E flat major) – Tempo di Minuetto con variazioni
Sonata n.6 in D major Allegro – Adagio – Allegro Assai
“Trois DUOS / pour Deux Violoncelles /Composés par / L. Duport / Œuvre…” publ. Sieber, Paris ca. 1781/82
Duo n.2 in D minor Allegro molto – Rondeau
Duo n.3 in G major Adagio – Presto – Rondeau Gracioso
Claudio Ronco – Emanuela Vozza
on period instruments
Publication date: April 17, 2020
Catalog No.: LDV14057
The CD is for sale on Urania Records – Clic Musique – Presto Cassical – AllMusic – CeDe – HbDirect
Silvia Chiesa‘s CD dedicated to Nino Rota‘s cello concerts No. 1 & 2 deserves to be presented to our readers because it represents a precious sound document of little-known masterpieces by a composer certainly better known for his film-related production. It is also interesting to note that this CD inaugurated, in 2011, an ambitious record path that the famous cellist dedicated to the repertoire for cello and orchestra of the Italian twentieth century, contributing decisively to the revitalization of this rich musical heritage. It was followed by two other important recordings, with music by Alfredo Casella, Ottorino Respighi, Ildebrando Pizzetti, and then by Riccardo Malipiero (first world recording), Gian Francesco Malipiero and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (first Italian recording) always with the Rai National Symphony Orchestra and always for the Sony Classical label.
Cellist Silvia Chiesa is one of the most prominent Italian performers on the international scene, with a dense agenda of concerts and recordings. During an intense career, he has developed a very personal stylistic code that, with the refined passion of the interpretations, combines marked originality in the repertoire choices.
Azio Corghi and Matteo D’Amico dedicated to her solo compositions with orchestra, and she was chosen by composers such as Gil Shohat, Nicola Campogrande, Aldo Clementi, Michele Dall’Ongaro, Peter Maxwell Davies, Giovanni Sollima, Gianluca Cascioli and Ivan Fedele for first performances of their works.
As a soloist, she performed with groups such as the RAI National Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Orchestra of Tuscany, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Soloists of St. Petersburg, the Rouen Orchestra, the Staatsorchester Kassel and the Symphony of Krakow. She has collaborated with directors such as Luciano Acocella, Francesco Angelico, Marco Angius, Paolo Arrivabeni, Gürer Aykal, Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli, Giampaolo Bisanti, Roland Böer, Massimiliano Caldi, Tito Ceccherini, Daniele Gatti, Cristian Orosanu, Corrado Rovaris, Daniele Rustioni, Howard Shelley and Brian Wright. She has also recorded live concerts for radio and television broadcasters such as RAI Radio3, RAI Sat, France Musique, and France3.
With the pianist Maurizio Baglini, she has more than two hundred and fifty concerts worldwide, with a vast repertoire for the duo, and has recorded for Decca the Sonatas of Schubert, Brahms, and Rachmaninov. In the CD series Live at Amiata Piano Festival he plays the String Quintet op. 163 by Schubert with the Quartetto della Scala and the Haydn Concerts with the Camerata Ducale. She also recorded the world premiere of “…tra la carne e il Cielo” by Azio Corghi, dedicated to her, with the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tito Ceccherini, with Maurizio Baglini, Valentina Coladonato and Omero Antonutti (also for Decca).
Silvia Chiesa is a resident artist of the Amiata Piano Festival and teacher at the “Monteverdi” Conservatory of Cremona.
He plays a Giovanni Grancino cello from 1697.
The RAI National Symphony Orchestra is an Italian symphony orchestra linked to the RAI, born in 1993 from the combination of the previous four RAI symphony orchestras, which were based in Turin, Rome, Naples, and Milan.
Corrado Rovaris has been Music-Director of Opera Philadelphia since 2004, and regularly collaborates with the major Italian and foreign musical institutions.
Nino Rota was an Italian composer born in Milan on December 3, 1911, and died in Rome on April 10, 1979. Born into a family of musicians, he approached music from an early age, stimulated by his mother pianist, entering the Milan Conservatory at the age of 11. Here he was a pupil of G. Orefice (composition), G. Bas, Pizzetti, and then Casella, in Rome, where he graduated from the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia. So he was a pupil of Scaliero, J.B. Beck, and Reiner (conducting). He then began to teach, first at the Liceo Musicale of Taranto, and then at Liceo of Bari, of which he was also Director. He was a pupil of Pizzetti and Casella, influenced by Malipiero’s music. He was a profound connoisseur of the compositions of the 1900s. He met and frequented Stravinsky, but his compositions followed an absolutely unique and personal direction. Without any relationship with the aesthetics of the century, almost paradoxically in its “non-relevance”, it directed its inventive ease towards an almost nineteenth-century compositional style, devoted to melody and tonal fidelity with symmetrical, harmonious and immediately enjoyable forms. These characteristics also characterized him in the composition of films, sacred, and chamber music.
On this CD, Nino Rota’s two concerts for cello and orchestra offer a very significant essay on his compositional language: a language that does not disdain virtuosity at all but directs it towards a poem of neoclassical memory, even if devoted to real modernity. The solo cello faces a challenging score from a technical point of view, where however the technique is not an end in itself but has the function of giving substance to emotional antitheses, to bring them back to paradigms of aesthetic docility and tonal coherence.
The interpretation is excellent: the soloist Silvia Chiesa and the director Romaris certainly do not lack the courage in choosing the program and the interpretative maturity necessary to face it. Really enjoyable listening, and at the same time intense in its surprising peculiarity.
The CD is also nice: as always Sony Classical offers important covers (a beautiful photo of the Silvia Chiesa on the cover) and valuable indications for more conscious listening.
NINO ROTA, Cello Concertos nos. 1 & 2
Concerto Nr. 1: Allegro – Larghetto – Allegro
Concerto Nr. 2: Allegro moderato – Tema con variazioni. Andantino cantabile con grazia – Finale. Allegro vivo
Silvia Chiesa (cello)
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI
Publication date: June 23, 2011
Label: Sony Classical
The CD is for sale on Amazon e Discogs
“My dear dad, mom told me to tell you she will scold you severely if you don’t come home in time for my birthday. She also told me you will bring chocolates. So hurry up and go back from your expedition to the north. What is the point of these expeditions anyway? … Come on, my dear dad, come back as soon as possible so that I can jump into your arms! Our teacher told us to send a hail of kisses to our fathers to sweep away all the dark clouds. Your dear child, who looks at the sky every night and thinks of you.
To my father, my hero. “
On the occasion of the centenary of the end of the First World War (1918-2018) the cellist Olsi Leka releases the CD “Reminiscence”, in collaboration with the pianist Peter Caelen and the photographer Frédéric Pauwels.
The intent is to offer a one-of-a-kind CD because it combines pieces of classical music with works of contemporary photography and documents, such as letters, but not only, written by soldiers and their relatives during the First World War. The music selection symbolizes the feelings, thoughts, and dreams of love that this generation carried with it. The rich repertoire for cello and piano proposed evokes the universality of these feelings, creating the link between all human beings, above ideological or patriotic alliances. The photographic images that enrich the CD are made by photographer Frédéric Pauwels and were taken during a journey of 700 kilometers along the western front, from Nieuwpoort, Belgium, to the French Vosges. The photographs in this report document the scars left by the war in the landscapes of the clashes, but also in the surrounding ones still marked by the trenches, by the numerous monuments and by the so-called “dead villages for France”. “Reminiscence” is a courageous project, because it combines compositions by great authors of classical music (Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Liszt) proposes pieces by lesser-known authors (Henriëtte Bosmans, Valentyn Silvestrov e Vasyl Barvinsky, Woldemar Bargiel, Valentin Silvestrov) but, above all, because it recreates atmospheres evoking historical, human and ethical themes. The photographer Frederic Pauwels gives his best with images that tell the story and the places of painful events with an emotion that is never celebratory, but of restrained condolence.
Among the lesser-known compositions we remember “Nuit Calme” by Henriëtte Bosmans (1895-1952), Dutch composer daughter of Henry Bosmans and pianist Sara Benedictis, very close to the composer Benjamin Britten, “Lullaby” by Vasyl Barvisnky (1888-1963), Late Romantic Ukrainian composer with impressionistic and folklore influences from his country, “Adagio, op.38” by Woldemar Bargiel (1828-1897), Berlin composer and half-brother of Clara Schumann, “Postludium” by Valentin Silvestrov, Ukrainian composer of postmodern style, influenced by Mahler’s late romanticism, but also by Orthodox liturgical music.
Olsi Leka is a cellist born in Tirana in 1980 and has been playing the cello since he was 6 years old. He was awarded in many competitions (in Belgium and Cyprus). At the age of 24, he was appointed cello soloist at the Belgian National Orchestra and this allowed him to collaborate with numerous important soloists and directors such as Valery Giergev , Helen Grimaud, Misha Maisky, and many others.
After the debut CD, entitled “Reminiscence”, he now publishes, again with the label Phaedra, his “The cello in madness. The CD begins with the three movements of the Sonata in D by Pietro Antonio Locatelli (1695-1764), in the arrangement for cello and piano by Alfredo Piatti (1822-1901), a classical piece of the cello repertoire, and continues with a series of fascinating 20th-century Belgian compositions all to be discovered: ‘Le vieux quai’ by the composer Georges Lonque (1900-1967) e ‘Mosaïque’, ‘Trois mouvements’ and ‘Cadence et Allegro’, by the cellist and composer Eric Feldbusch (1922-2007).
Locatelli’s Sonata in D, in the Piatti arrangement, focuses on an interesting moment in the evolution of the cellist technique. After the years during which the cello had laboriously emancipated itself from its role of continuo, acquiring a new dignity and identity as “the instrument that more than any other recalls the human voice“, with Piatti marks the point where it is mature to compete with the violin virtuosity. And so, in his cello transcriptions of violin compositions, Piatti fuses Baroque classicism, and the cadences and romantic passages consolidating a technique that, up until a previous period, was the peculiar expressiveness only of the violin. Piatti, however, in transcribing Locatelli’s Sonata, was undoubtedly animated also by the desire to make known a beautiful composition by an author from his land: Piatti and Locatelli were both born in Bergamo and both had started their careers in the Musical Chapel of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
So as Piatti devotes his attention to one of his fellow citizens, Olsi Leka focuses on two composers of Belgium, the land where he chose to live. In the second part of the CDs, he proposes, in fact, the recovery of compositions that would have probably, without him, remained in oblivion in which they were. “Le vieux quai” (The old Dock), (recording n.4 of the CD) by Georges Lonque, a contemplative piece for cello and orchestra, inspired by the eponymous poem by the Belgian author Georges Rodenbach, in which the cello brings out the peculiarity of its sound, warm and intimate, thanks to a score of a clear post-romantic atmosphere with highly impressionistic, highly elegant and even impressionistic projections, was written in 1927, but was lost and was never published or recorded. Only thanks to this music recording, therefore, it will come back alive and well known, occupying its rightful place in the wide cello repertoire.
The compositions of Eric Feldbush proposed here cannot certainly be considered very well known compositions. Although they are of great interest as stages of a constant search for new expressive languages, they often appear charged with an expressive drama that, in an age like ours, often aimed only at the search for empty musical hedonism, risk being abandoned in a corner like old memories of unpleasant moments in the history of humanity.
Olsi Leka’s tribute to the host country, Belgium, is certainly generous, and he courageously proposes authors yet to be discovered and valued. A tribute appreciated by the Eric Feldbusch Foundation which placed the Raffaele Gagliano cello of 1820 at its disposal, which Olsi Leka, accompanied on the piano by Piet Kuijken, used for recording the CD. A cello of great symbolic value, because it was given to Éric Feldbusch, in 1965, by Queen Elizabeth of Belgium on the occasion of the composition of the trio “Queen Elisabeth“.
The Cello in Madness: MP3 o CD
Let’s get to the twentieth century: a courageous choice, almost against the current. Do you want to talk about it? The motivations, the difficulties but also the results achivied?
Actually there are not many musicians interested in this repertoire: I think it is considered by many to have a little success and certainly not to be of ordinary repertoire, so it is difficult to study and program. Instead I have a real passion for these authors: I discovered that they left us extraordinary music and that it was only necessary to make them live again. And here is my commitment, planned for eight years that gave birth to eight solo concerts of Italian composers from 1925 to 1974: a real discovery for me and for many insiders.
It was an arduous but exciting project in the moments of study and registration. Many people contacted me for information and many interested artistic directors invited me for first performances abroad.
The difficulties of course have been there, but when you really believe in something that goes beyond your own personal success, you overcome any obstacle.
They wrote about you that you are “the lady of Italian sound” and also “an ambassador of Italian music in the world”. Do you recognize yourself in these definitions?
I’m flattered. I can only say that I have put passion, a great curiosity and the true and profound need to make everyone understand that Italy boasts top-notch composers, unjustly forgotten.
What characteristics, technically, does have the twentieth century music for a cellist?
Difficult to explain it in a synthetic way. Let’s say that the instrumental music of this period exploits all the expressive potential of the instrument: it takes the registers to the extremes and adopts a hypervirtuosistic technique. Often the cello is brought to play in the high register, as if it was a violin.
But it is also on the color that a lot of work is needed: often the orchestral part is intense not to say heavy, and therefore obliges the instrumentalist to have sound always well focused in every musical moment, in piano and in forte.
The structure itself of the concert can be large-scale: the Concert of Castelnuovo-Tedesco, for example, lasts almost 33 minutes!
But every concert recorded by me has different compositional and expressive characteristics. This was the best thing: I had to expand my technical and expressive baggage in order to be credible in every single composition so as to always arrive at an appropriate interpretation.
At the time of these composers, how did public and critics react to the novelty of these musical proposals? Was the melodrama still the only real interest in the musical world of that time?
Yes the melodrama was still very present and the work of these composers was precisely aimed to create new ways of musical expression. I do not know what happened when they had these concerts, only for some of theme we have testimonies, but I can say that they were programmed in the most important concert seasons, with the best soloists and directors of the time. For example, the Castelnuovo-Tedesco concert was performed in New York with Toscanini on the podium and Piatigorsky as the soloist.
What about your schedule projects for the near future … And in a long distance?
Many concerts, some debuts with foreign orchestras and some new record ideas that I can not reveal (for superstition!). I would like to start a festival but I am still looking for a venue that can inspire me and I would also like to work for a music school for children following modern criteria.
For the distant future: I would like, as a careful teacher to involve young people in concerts with me: so that some of them may carry on this work of spreading Italian music even after me. There are still so many musical treasures to discover …
Thank you again for your availability. See you soon.
Thanks to you.
Silvia Chiesa, Italian cellist, born in Milan, is dedicating, with great courage, much of her artistic commitment to the discovery of musical heritage of extraordinary value: that of the Italian compositions of the 20th century. To this repertoire, which is mostly still to be discovered, she has dedicated a new CD, presented to the press in Milan, in “The Arte Povera Hall of the Museo del ‘900” as well as in “ the Gabinetto di Viesseux” in Florence and in “Villa Taormina”, in Rome. The CD follows the two previous ones of the Milanese cellist: the first was dedicated to the compositions of Nino Rota and the second to Alfredo Casella, Ottorino Respighi, and Ildebrando Pizzetti.
In the recent recording, for the first time, the three Concertos for cello and orchestra of three great composers of the 20th century are put together: Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco (first Italian recording) Gian Francesco Malipiero and Riccardo Malipiero (first world recording).
The cellist is accompanied by the Rai Symphony Orchestra, whereas Massimilano Caldi conducts and coordinates the solo voice of the cello with the chorus of the other instruments.
The CD offers the listener a fresco of a century that had a checkered beginning. The fluctuation of sounds, with alternating rhythms and movements, sometimes harsh, complex, painful and sometimes with wide openings of neoclassical serenity, reconstructs a world that seems to regret moments of peace and contemplation now lost. A difficult world, which hardly reconciles the desire of serenity with the advent of modernity, technology, progress, not only intellectual, which opens up new hopes, but also new unexplored conflicts, especially the inner ones.
Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco (1895-1968) wrote his Concerto for cello and orchestra for Gregorij Pjatigorskij, who performed it for the first time conducted by A. Toscanini, in New York, on 31st January 1935. It is a concert that requires the interpreter to have great purity of sound, excellent technical mastery, but above all the ability to transmit emotions of every kind, in a warm and intense way.
The composition of the Concerto by Gian Francesco Malipiero (1882-1973) was concluded in Asolo (Treviso) on April 28, 1937. The protagonist of the world premiere of the Concerto was the great cellist Enrico Mainardi, in Belgrade, on January 31, 1939. The most important biographer of Malipiero, John CG Waterhouse wrote about it: “it is a compact page that enhances the dialogue between soloist and orchestra, an emblematic manifestation of expressive happiness of neoclassical coinage”.
Riccardo Malipiero (1914-2003), son of Gian Francesco Malipiero’s brother, dedicated his Concerto to his father, great cellist, composer and teacher. The Concert, clearly marked by “serial” writing, was performed for the first time, at “La Scala”, on October 30, 1957, by the Catalan cellist Gaspar Cassadò.
A CD, therefore, full of suggestions poised between past and future, between impressionistic and neoclassical nostalgia and openings on the new avant-gardes of the culture of the time.
Sony Classical made a courageous choice and, by reaping the fruits of Silvia Chiesa’s musicological research, it accepted to produce this CD, as a logical completion of the one dedicated to Rota and the other dedicated to Casella, Respighi, and Pizzetti, and also to offer the public the opportunity to deepen the knowledge of a repertoire that is still not often proposed, but of extraordinary musicological and artistic interest.
The CD booklet is enriched by beautiful photos and the notes (in Italian and English) about the interpreters, the authors, and the recording are very good.
Castelnuovo Tedesco, G.F. Malipiero, R. Malipiero Cello : CD
Giovanni Sollima was born in Palermo in 1962. After studying conservatory (cello and composition) and after interpretations with the great musicians of the period (Abbado, Argerich, Sinopoli …) he undertakes, especially in the composition, a difficult but courageous road of exploration, contamination of different genres, evolution and modernization of the cello. And he wins.
Did we use to be trees to become human beings? Sollima frees the consciences, imprisoned in the roots, in the branches of the trees. The soul that laments its quest for freedom.
This is strange: a few years ago Enzo Gragnaniello, in his equally painful song, “Alberi”, stated exactly the opposite: “Arid and without land, we are poor /without roots we are not free / free to make dreams / fly away “. So who is right? Who is wrong? Is this post-Darwinian evolution looking for a verse or its opposite? Answering is not easy. One more comment on the CD.
Sollima is called the Jimi Hendrix of the cello… Generic statement: who synthesizes new languages is at least unique. Parallelisms or convergences are then impossible geometries. Extraordinary CD. It explores new possibilities and opens up new paths even if not easy to understand and practice. The songs are uneven: which is normal in the music of contaminations. The pace is remarkable, above the standards of certain contemporary music, even new age or cross-over. All the expressive power of the cello is released as if it were an anticipation of Fender and Gibson. Here you find “Violoncelles Vibrez”, the piece by an author still living which is perhaps the most interpreted one: written in 93, it is dedicated to the Master Antonio Janigro. Also, four variations inspired by Luigi Boccherini. “Three Raga Song” and “When we were trees” are the central body of the CD and of the idea that anticipates it: the plant world, the trees, the wood, the acoustic dimension of the cello.
So a hypothesis of evolution that flips through the score: were we trees? In a song improvisations on the voice of Patti Smith accompany pagan litanies of the last universal religion: rock music. Then all the others, no less than the first ones.
We are tree CD