Alfredo Casella is considered to be the leading representative of the generazione dell’ottanta (generation of the ‘80s): a group of Italian composers born around 1880, including Ottorino Respighi, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Giorgio Gedini and Franco Alfano, who sought to prove that there was far more to Italian music than opera and concentrated primarily on orchestral, chamber and instrumental music. Casella was a controversial and often misunderstood figure – much has been made of his connections with fascism and his decision to remain in Italy under Mussolini – but he was probably just a staunch Italian nationalist who passionately believed in bringing his country’s glorious musical heritage to the fore (he was largely responsible for the rediscovery of Vivaldi’s music in the 20th century).
This 3CD set brings together Casella’s complete works for solo piano. Spanning a period of over 40 years, the collection charts the development of Casella’s musical language, aesthetic views and pianism (he was also an accomplished pianist and conductor). He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1896 and studied under Fauré, and his early works reflect the influence of his teacher and that of Debussy, whom Casella greatly admired. Works from his middle period – such as the Op.24 Pezzi and the Op.28 Sonatina and the atmospheric and, for Casella, unusually romantic musical poem A notte alta show the composer in much more daring mode, experimenting with form, harmony and all kinds of pianistic techniques. Eventually, in later works such as the Pezzi infantili and Sinfonia, arioso e toccata, Casella reached what he called ‘a more creative stage that is well-defined and clear’, deftly assimilating aspects of the Italian Baroque music that he loved so much in order to find a unique, contemporary voice.
- Recorded in 2012 & 2013 in Rome.
- For the first time complete on 3 CD’s: the piano music by Casella.
- Alfredo Casella was an important composer active in the first half of the 20th century, writing mainly instrumental music of great vitality, invention, wit and brilliance, a far cry from the sugary romanticism or pomposity of the Italian Romantic Era.
- Played with the right touch of imagination and feeling for this quasi modernist style by Michele d’Ambrosio, a young Italian virtuoso.
- Booklet includes detailed liner notes and an artist biography.