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Hyperion Records

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Venetian Sunset (from a series of paintings in aid of Venice in Peril, 1984-94) by Peter Marchi Nardini (b?)
Reproduced by kind permission of the artist / Private Collection
Track(s) taken from CDH55329
Recording details: December 1998
Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh, Scotland
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: October 1999
Total duration: 23 minutes 32 seconds

'Brilliantly colourful performances—no better way of winning converts to Pizzetti' (Gramophone)

'The four orchestral works on this magnificently-performed and brilliantly-recorded release show off Pizzetti’s sumptuous blend of romantic-impressionistic harmony with modally-inflected melody to its richest and most cinematic … if orchestral splendor is the music lover’s chocolate, this disc is a five-pound box of opera creams. Yum' (American Record Guide)

'This excellent and impeccably played survey reveals a talent well worth investigating' (The Scotsman)

'Strongly recommended' (Hi-Fi News)

'One of the most gorgeous recordings of orchestral music I have heard in the last year' (Crisis, USA)

Rond˛ veneziano
composer
1929; dedicated to Bruno, the composer's eldest son

Rondò veneziano  [23'32]

Pizzetti’s Rondò veneziano for orchestra, conceived entirely for the concert hall from the beginning—although later performed as a ballet with the composer conducting—was written in 1929, soon after Toscanini had conducted the premiere in New York of Pizzetti’s Concerto dell’estate for orchestra. Toscanini also gave the New York premiere of the Rondò veneziano, in February 1930. The Rondò veneziano is dedicated ‘to Bruno’ (the composer’s eldest son) and is a single-movement Venetian impression which, broadly speaking, falls into three parts, making it a study not unlike that of a sonata rondo. Throughout this score, Pizzetti’s mastery of orchestral colour, tonal and melodic organization, and of contrasting elements maintained within an untroubled—even consistently light-hearted—character, comes into play for the first time in his music in a concert work.

The result is a highly accomplished piece which begins, almost impressionistically, in a relaxed frame of mind, Andante abbandonato, with a fluid string texture in D minor against which a languorous theme is heard on flutes and bassoons. This is restated in various guises before a brief idea on solo horn leads to the first dance—an extended Sarabande, marked Molto sostenuto. The key is E minor, with a contrasting third section in F, and is based on two themes, both heard initially on violas—the first solely on the violas, the second combined with horns. These themes initially appear very different (although the second is derived from the first), but are wholly redolent of the stateliness of this old dance form. They are developed, first in an archaic texture of solo violin, harpsichord and strings and, secondly, Torbido e agitato, by larger forces, before both sarabande themes are restated by the full orchestra. This subsides, and the opening rondo theme is recalled, leading to the second main part of the work, Largo, which is dominated by a new theme on solo cello, later combined with florid solo violin melismata. A superbly controlled accelerando leads to a recapitulation of the rondo theme, for the first time in full orchestra, luxuriantly scored.

The final section, Allegro, movimento di Forlana in 6/8, is another stylization of an old dance. This is in three unequal parts, the third of which marks a big climax which gradually dies down to reveal the connection between the Forlane theme and that of the Rondo. A brief coda ends the work quietly in G major—subtly revealing also that the preponderant D minor has been the dominant all along.

from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker ę

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