The latest instalment of Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez's exploration of the 20th-century violin and piano repertory focuses on two figures from inter-war Italy. Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968) was regarded in the 1920s and 30s as his country's greatest composer, though his support for fascism during the second world war tarnished his subsequent reputation.
Meanwhile, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968), Pizzetti's talented Jewish pupil, fled to Hollywood in the late 1930s, where he scored more than 200 films. You understand exactly why Pizzetti was deemed so important when you hear his Sonata in A (1919): one of the great works in the form and an austere meditation on the first world war, that uses plainchant-inflected themes in a demand for spiritual continuity in the aftermath of political trauma.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco's 'Sonata quasi una fantasia' (1929) is an eclectic, sexy mix of impressionism and jazz. The Pizzetti demands something other than beauty in performance, and Shaham and Erez are uncompromising and abrasive with it. The Castelnuovo-Tedesco sounds gorgeous from start to finish.