FRANCO DONATONI (1927-2000): Marches for Solo Harp, Nidi for Solo Piccolo, Clair for Solo Clarinet, Small for Piccolo, Clarinet and Harp, Estratto for Solo Piano, Secondo Estratto for Piano, Harpsichord and Harp, Quarto Estratto for Piccolo, Flute, Violin, Mandolin, Harp, Harpsichord, Piano and Celesta.
Catalogue Number: 02T052
Description: There is something fascinatingly enigmatic, and plenty that is contradictory about Donatoni, illustrated perfectly by this disc. Everything is meticulously, even obsessively organised, often from very limited pitch material, and yet it blossoms organically into paradoxically improvisatory-sounding (but not even slightly improvised - the booklet includes the instrument-by-instrument performance directions for Quarto Estratto, which, let us say, leave nothing to chance) compositions of great spontaneity, playfulness and liveliness. For instance, Nidi is based on a tiny three note cell, to which more and more pitches are added, but at such a rate that the result sounds like the twittering of a bird; and the composer naïvely described the work by saying "I picture the piccolo as a cute little bird building its nest.” Clair, for clarinet, suggests the composer's interest in adding jazz references to his music. Small, written immediately after the three solo works, partially combines them forming an amazingly coherent - and accessible! and appealing! - whole. Estratto is a tiny toccata-like piano piece based on very little material, written in 1969. Almost immediately, the composer began to rework and recompose it, as was frequently his habit, first into a version for the unexpectedly appealing trio of piano, harpsichord and harp, ten times the duration of the original but obsessively circling around and around the same pitch material to the point at which the piece sounds like a kind of minimalism (before that became popular - 1970!), and then into a hyperactive ensemble piece that sounds like the Secondo version folded back onto itself for three times the density and a third of the duration. Ensemble Adapter.