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Quaderno musicale di Annalibera


More than two centuries after Johann Sebastian Bach based his 16 Concertos, BWV 972-987, on his Italian contemporaries Vivaldi, Torelli, and Alessandro and Benedetto Marcello, a leading voice in Italian music would return the salute. In 1952, Luigi Dallapiccola, Italy’s leading proponent of twelve-note serialism, composed Quaderno musicale di Annalibera (Annalibera’s musical notebook), a collection of eleven miniatures for solo piano, dedicated to his daughter Annalibera on her eighth birthday. While its title page immediately evokes the Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach, the Baroque master’s gift to his second wife, the music of Quaderno musicale does not immediately evoke the composer’s familial affection. Here is music representative of Dallapiccola’s most uncompromising dodecaphonic technique. Likewise does it pay explicit homage to Bach: the first movement, 'Simbolo' ('Symbol'), begins with a statement of Bach’s musical cipher—the notes B-A-C-H (the German notational spelling for B flat-A-C-B natural)—over an oscillating staccatissimo bass line. That motif recurs throughout the haunting movement.

Subsequent movements alternate between hyper-expressionist vignettes—the thorny 'Accenti'; the broad 'Fregi' ('Friezes'), marked dolcissimo, ma intenso—and ephemeral displays of contrapuntal ingenuity, given names redolent of Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge: 'Contapunctus primus', 'Contrapunctus secondus', 'Contrapunctus tertius' (the last of these a canon cancrizans, in which the main theme is taken up by a second voice in reverse).

Upon cursory listening, the Quaderno musicale di Annalibera appears severe in character, yet time spent within its pages reveals lyricism and tenderness beneath its macho veneer. Moreover, as with Bach’s music, the Quaderno musicale makes a virtue of marrying technical rigor with expressive depth. In this, Dallapiccola has fashioned a work as reverent of his artistic ancestry as it is affectionate towards his own progeny.

from notes by Patrick Castillo © 2020


Italian inspirations
Studio Master: SIGCD611Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


No 01: Simbolo
Track 26 on SIGCD611 [2'36] Download only
No 02: Accenti
Track 27 on SIGCD611 [0'30] Download only
No 03: Contrapunctus primus
Track 28 on SIGCD611 [1'08] Download only
No 04: Linee
Track 29 on SIGCD611 [0'47] Download only
No 05: Contrapunctus secondus
Track 30 on SIGCD611 [0'19] Download only
No 06: Fregi
Track 31 on SIGCD611 [1'23] Download only
No 07: Andantino amoroso e contrapunctus tertius
Track 32 on SIGCD611 [1'22] Download only
No 08: Ritmi
Track 33 on SIGCD611 [1'10] Download only
No 09: Colore
Track 34 on SIGCD611 [1'11] Download only
No 10: Ombre
Track 35 on SIGCD611 [1'47] Download only
No 11: Quartina
Track 36 on SIGCD611 [1'34] Download only

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