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

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

by Antonio de Almeida
     
 

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 Marco Polo disc… See more details below

Overview

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 Marco Polo disc, Malipiero: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4. This was the first issue in a complete cycle of Malipiero symphonies as performed by Antonio de Almeida and the Moscow Symphony and covering five discs. 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 the work 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 funèbre and an ingenious, war-like scherzo in the second movement. 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's symphonies, this is where the uninitiated listener should begin. This disc was reissued in 2008 on the Naxos label.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/01/1994
Label:
Marco Polo
UPC:
0730099360227
catalogNumber:
223602

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Sinfonia del mare  - Gian Francesco Malipiero  - Antonio de Almeida  -  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
  2. Sinfonia No 3 "Delle campane"  - Gian Francesco Malipiero  - Antonio de Almeida  -  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
  3. Sinfonia No 4 "In Memoriam Natalia Koussevitsky"  - Gian Francesco Malipiero  - Antonio de Almeida  -  Moscow Symphony Orchestra

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