Magazine article Musical Opinion

Casella - Symphony No. 2 in C Minor Op. 12, Scarlattiana Op.44

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Casella - Symphony No. 2 in C Minor Op. 12, Scarlattiana Op.44

Article excerpt

Casella - Symphony No. 2 in C minor op. 12, Scarlattina Op. 44

BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda; Martin Roscoe (piano)

*****Chandos CHAN 10605 [76:58 mins]

Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) was that Vunusual thing, a late Romantic Italian composer who shunned the world of opera and concentrated instead on orchestral music. He studied in Paris but looked directly north of the Alps to subsume the influence of Mahler. The main work here is the Symphony, completed when the composer was just 27, and it certainly bears some similarity with his hero's Resurrection Symphony (not just the key), but there is also something of the orchestral virtuosity of Richard Strauss at times. The music of the Russian composers is particularly prominent too such as the brooding chromaticism of Rachmaninov in The isle of the Dead, actually written at the same time (though I speculate that S u k's recent/Asrae/ Symphony might have been instructive too), and the grotesquerie and cynicism of the Finale's march looks ahead to the style of Shostakovich.

Noseda and his forces have the measure of all this -there is a richness of tone in the brass and a warmth in the strings, and Noseda retains careful control of the ebb and flow of the dense textures of the music, without restraining its menace and violence. This is especially demonstrated in the first movement where Noseda allows the short slow introduction to flow directly into the faster main section, and the momentum is not lost by the subsequent reappearance of this introduction twice in that movement. …

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