Gian Francesclo Malipiero: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4; Sinfonia del mare

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Although there aren't many areas of the repertoire where Italian composer Gian Francesco Malipiero wasn't prolific, his cycle of 17 symphonies constitutes one of his most notable achievements. It consists of 11 numbered symphonies and six others that bear no number, but have thematic designations, such as the "Sinfonia del mare" 1906 included on this Naxos disc, Malipiero: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4. This was formerly released in 1993 on the Marco Polo label, which at the time issued the complete symphonies of Malipiero on five separate compact discs as performed by Antonio de Almeida and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra in what would prove one of the most prestigious and ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Although there aren't many areas of the repertoire where Italian composer Gian Francesco Malipiero wasn't prolific, his cycle of 17 symphonies constitutes one of his most notable achievements. It consists of 11 numbered symphonies and six others that bear no number, but have thematic designations, such as the "Sinfonia del mare" 1906 included on this Naxos disc, Malipiero: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4. This was formerly released in 1993 on the Marco Polo label, which at the time issued the complete symphonies of Malipiero on five separate compact discs as performed by Antonio de Almeida and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra in what would prove one of the most prestigious and critically acclaimed of all series undertaken by Marco Polo. Does the appearance of this disc on the regular Naxos imprint send a signal that the whole series will likewise reappear on Naxos? Not necessarily, particularly as some of the old Marco Polo volumes remain in print. However, of the five this is probably the most approachable, and serves as a terrific introduction to the symphonic music of Malipiero. "Sinfonia del mare" is his earliest symphony, composed in 1906, and, while not outright repudiated by Malipiero, he didn't embrace the idea of its publication with much enthusiasm and, even though 15 years have passed since this recording was first made available, it remains in manuscript only. It is a joyous, unbridled, and youthful composition, coming off sort of like Albert Roussel with an Italian accent. At one point the music slips into pure sound for a few measures, the orchestra imitating a crashing wave; certainly an innovation in 1906. The "Symphony No. 3 della campane" 1944-1945 is subtitled "of the bells," and is a far more mature and serious work. Malipiero commenced work on it during a confusing time when dictator Benito Mussolini had been deposed and replaced by King Victor Emmanuel III, who secretly conducted negotiations with the Allied Forces, but allowed news of the covert talks to prematurely leak out. This occasioned an unprecedented stream of German forces over the Italian border, and ordinary Italians like Malipiero had no idea why this was happening. Inspired by the ringing of the bells at St. Mark's in Venice, Malipiero achieves a freedom from within in this symphony, which uses a harmonic language vaguely reminiscent of Copland and Milhaud, yet is distinctive in its own right and very affecting. "Symphony No. 4 in memoriam" 1946 is not, as one might surmise by its date, a memorial for the fallen in Europe but written in memory of conductor Sergey Koussevitzky's wife Nathalie. Written in a harmonic language similar to that of his third symphony, this is also less programmatic, yet contains some of Malipiero's finest set pieces, including the deeply felt Lento fun├Ębre and an ingenious, war-like scherzo in the second movement. If Naxos were not to re-release the whole Marco Polo series of Malipiero symphonies, one might understand why -- like Havergal Brian, the greater part of Malipiero's symphonic cycle dates from his later years and the farther you go, the more willful and eccentric he tends to be. Nevertheless, if you were to single out a volume among the five, this would be the right choice. For an early Naxos release, the sound quality here is better than average, and while one can tell that the orchestra is not first-class, owing to some scrappy playing and wayward intonation, this is still more than adequate to convey a sense of what Malipiero's symphonies are about. In regard to Malipiero, this is where the uninitiated listener should begin.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/29/2008
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 747313087877
  • Catalog Number: 8570878
  • Sales rank: 157,676

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sinfonia del mare - Gian Francesco Malipiero & Antonio de Almeida (23:51)
  2. 2–5 Sinfonia No 3 "Delle campane" - Gian Francesco Malipiero & Antonio de Almeida (23:48)
  3. 6–9 Sinfonia No 4 "In Memoriam Natalia Koussevitsky" - Gian Francesco Malipiero & Antonio de Almeida (24:44)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Antonio de Almeida Primary Artist
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