Ildebrando Pizzetti: Concerto dell'estate; La Festa delle Panatenee

Ildebrando Pizzetti: Concerto dell'estate; La Festa delle Panatenee

by Myron Michailidis


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Ildebrando Pizzetti: Concerto dell'estate; La Festa delle Panatenee

Among first generation of Italian modernists perhaps Ildebrando Pizzetti is the least recognized figure of all. While Alfredo Casella is dogged by his fascist ties, at least a piece or two of his is still played; Gian Francesco Malipiero may not be well-known outside Europe, he remains revered in Italy and is recognized internationally for his early advocacy, in modern times, of Vivaldi. However, Pizzetti is mainly represented on disc by ancient recordings of his operas, put out by companies who didn't have to pay for the recordings for the benefit of whoever might take an interest in them. There are a couple of exceptions; DVD fans of silent movies have been treated to some of the original soundtrack music Pizzetti composed for the Italian epic "Cabiria" (1914), and at the end of the century, Hyperion paid some lip service to Pizzetti with a fine disc of orchestral music featuring the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä; that disc is getting the Helios treatment in 2009. Naxos' Pizzetti: Concerto dell'estate, making its bow at the same juncture, is the first release of Pizzetti's music on a label within the HNH family since 1999; comparatively, Marco Polo had recorded all of Malipiero's symphonies by 1993. This one is rather different from all other comers, though, in that it features the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, whose short list of credits include an outstanding recording of some Skalkottas from BIS, led by Myron Michailidis, whose second recording this is. The sophomore jinx certainly isn't in force this time, as this is a riotously colorful disc of orchestral music that is splendidly well performed and benefits to a great extent from the discipline and respect for the material imposed by the conductor, not to mention the diligent Greek musicologists who worked to raise this effort. Their interest was not in Pizzetti the Italian composer, but for his significant interest in Greek subjects; ergo the inclusion of the startling (for its time) "Tre Preludii Sinfonici per L'Edipo Re di Sofocle" (1904) and the two world-premiere recordings: "Clitennestra: Tragedia per in un preludio e due atti" (1962-1964) and "La Festa delle Panatenee" (1936). "Concerto dell'estate" (1928) is included as the main work mainly due to the opportunity afforded by its long absence from the catalog; long regarded as Pizzetti's finest orchestral piece, one would have to traverse back some four decades to find the most recent recording of it made prior to this one. One reason for Pizzetti's relative neglect is that it is hard to discern with twenty first century ears what made his music "modern" in the first place. Both the concerto and "La Festa" fall halfway stylistically between Respighi and neo-classicism, whereas the early "Tre Preludii Sinfonici" falls somewhere between the music of Busoni and Richard Strauss. It is true that Pizzetti was never able to shake his devotion to post-romanticism, no matter how far outside the box he thought about his music; "Clitimnestra" sounds like something from the 1910s, rather than the 1960s, when it was written. However, for some listeners that should be a plus, rather than a hindrance, and if the interest is there, hindered not should you be when it comes to Naxos' Pizzetti: Concerto dell'estate.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/28/2009
Label: Naxos
UPC: 0747313201372
catalogNumber: 8572013
Rank: 286795


  1. Concerto dell'estate, for flute, oboe, clarinet & orchestra
  2. Per L'Edipo re di Sofocle, 3 preludes for orchestra
  3. Clitennestra: Tragedia in un preludio e due atti, opera: Preludio: Molto largo
  4. La Festa delle Panatenee, incidental music for orchestra

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