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<<  -- 2 --  Roderic Dunnett    ROCKING THE BOAT


Of two miniatures for flute and piano, the Sicilienne (here, like other works later on the disc, rather too weighted and resonant in the piano part) is charming, the Burlesca shares something with Poulenc and Les Six. The Sinfonia for (clarinet, trumpet, violin cello and piano) is too direly played -- like a rather lugubrious Calabrian soirée -- to make much of at all (how did ASV come to release this amateurish Padua-made take, in particular of the trumpet?)

Pianist Aldo Orvieto's predilection for pedal rules in the slow, broad l928 prelude, though Carlo Lazari's throaty violin tone, and Casella's writing, both have an attractive duende feel, which grow on one as the work goes on : the double-stopping at the close has a feel of Szymanowski, and the zipping Danza Siciliana could be a Szymanowskian Tarantella (the Polish composer could have heard just such things on his prewar Sicilian jaunt).

Lazari really pulls the disc round, for the 'Cavatina' and 'Gavotte' (from the l927 Serenata) are both Heifetz-like plums for a performer, and the latter -- really a presto -- certainly takes off; the celebrated 'minuetto' from Scarlattiana (Casella, like his contemporaries, was a significant editor and arranger of early Italian music, and thus neo-classicism came natural) starts haltingly, but gradually comes into its own. Daniele Ruggieri, the flautist, has about as much idea how a boat rocks (in the early Barcarola) as Debussy's elephant, and his legatos make for allegro, but scarcely the declared presto, in the accompanying Op 4 Scherzo (the faunlike central section, though far too heavy, fares a little better).

A galumphing keyboard is actually apt for the sonorous start to the Trio Sonata for violin, cello and piano. But, oh dear, this isn't the way to approach chamber music, and to cap it all, the cello's sounding board clunks throughout. This late piece, despite a promising (though here scarcely cantabile) cello start to the central andante, is rather relentlessly leaden. Sad to give the thumbs down, but not an unmitigated success.

Copyright © 31 December 2000 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK







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