CLAUDIO AMBROSINI (b.1948): Plurimo for 2 Pianos and Large Orchestra, Tocar for Piano and Large Orchestra, Morte di Caravaggio for Bassoon and Orchestra, GIOVANNI GABRIELI (1557-1612): Canzon I, Canzon XIII, Sonata XIX (orch. Ambrosini).

Catalogue Number: 12T053

Label: Stradivarius

Reference: STR 37086

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Most of this disc is redolent of Ambrosini's native Venice, that strange, unique city that has captivated so many artists and composers. Much of what we said about the visceral and emotional impact of Ambrosini's striking solo piano music (03N081) also applies to the two concerti here, but with the employment of larger forces the composer's ability to conjure powerful musical imagery seems that much greater. Plurimo pays tribute to the great 20th-century Venetian artist Emilio Vedova - the title is borrowed from one of his series of paintings in his characteristic action idiom full of bold, slashing strokes, in this case assembled into three-dimensional objects to be viewed from all sides. But Vedova also produced earlier, gorgeous architectural pen and ink wash drawings, strongly evocative of the soaring spaces of the great basilicas of Italy, and these towering spaces, the antiphonal choirs within (it is no accident that the two pianos are widely separated yet finish each other's phrases as though connected by the echoes of a vast acoustical space) and chaotic heterogeneous city bustle outside are also powerfully evoked in the teemingly complex yet paradoxically comprehensible music. Bell sounds are important in all these pieces, for reasons both obvious and essential; they are in fact Ambrosini's major addition to the three short works by Gabrieli in his impressive transcriptions for large orchestra. Tocar is a kind of concerto about the piano, in which the physicality of the instrument, as percussion, scintillating purveyor of gesture, saturatedly harmonic or ornately melodic device, are explored. Again, analogies with the tactile aspects of abstract painting and the tumultuous agglomerations of history are impossible to ignore. Emanuele Arciuli, Francesco Libetta, Aldo Orvieto (pianos), Paolo Carlini (bassoon), Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, ORT Orchestra della Toscana; Pierre-André Valade, John Storgårds, Mario Venzago, Marco Angius (conductors).

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