FRANCESCO D’AVALOS (1930-2014): Piano Quintet, Quintet for Soprano and String Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 01W046
Reference: TC 930101
Description: Collectors of unusual Romantic orchestral repertoire may remember d'Avalos as the conductor of a series of recordings from the 1980s and 1990s that would have been very much to their taste. He was also a fairly prolific composer, with a number of large-scale works to his credit; from early years his compositional idols were Bruckner and Mahler. In the 1950s he studied composition with Sergiu Celibidache, and his output as composer increased thereafter, and this and his friendship with Henze around this time seems to have consolidated the late-romantic tendencies in his music, which sounds like an extension of fin-de-siècle romanticism with the philosophical and emotional concerns that that implies, and a turning away from whatever avant-garde tendencies he may previously have entertained. D'Avalos forged his own unique version of neo-romanticism, which sounds very little like anybody else’s, and with a conductor's finely attuned ear for sonority and timbre he presents us with two works of undeniable power and depth. It might be considered glib, or even a little disrespectful, to suggest that in these works at least, d'Avalos composed like Celibidache conducted - expansively, hyper-romantically, unafraid of extended duration, with ideas permitted more than ample space to make their point - though it’s not an inaccurate characterization. Both quintets are richly, lushly tonal, very chromatic, with striking harmonic shifts underlined by quasi-orchestral sonorities. The Quintet with voice is mysterious, with a Romantic's heightened sense of the significance of Nature expressed in settings of Lenau's "Autumn" and transcendental musings of Shelley woven inseparably into the texture, the voice treated as an integral part of the ensemble. The Piano Quartet, while also containing almost no fast music, follows a more dramatic, turbulent narrative arc, surging episodes of deeply troubled emotion underpinned by subterranean rumblings and pedal drones interspersed with the Wanderer's lonely contemplation of Nature that seems to have carried over from the quintet with voice. No texts. Leslie Visco (soprano), Quartetto Noûs, Francesco Caramiello (piano).