FRANCESCO ANTONIONI (b.1971) : My River Ballata for eight strings (2009) (I Solisti Aquilani, Francesco Antonioni, conductor). Lights, after the Thaw - Double concerto for viola, clarinet and strings (2017) - (Dimitri Ashkenazy, clarinet; Ada Meinich, viola; I Solisti Aquilani, Vladimir Ashkenazy conductor. ) Sull’ombra for string orchestra (2013). ( I Solisti Aquilani, Francesco Antonioni, conductor. )

Catalogue Number: 04Z031

Label: Brilliant Classics

Reference: BRI97086

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: The legendary pianist and conductor joins his clarinettist son and Italian musicians in music by one of Italy’s most powerfully individual living composers. Born in 1971, Francesco Antonioni studied in Rome with Azio Corghi and then in London with Julian Anderson and George Benjamin: a formidable pedigree of teachers testifying to the strength of both his technique and his creative voice, which became internationally known in 2001 with a string quartet written for the Venice Biennale. Since then, Antonioni has gone on to assemble a substantial catalogue of fastidiously crafted works for both the stage and the concert hall. This collection features two pieces for string orchestra, Ballata and Sull’ombra, alongside his concerto for clarinet and viola, Lights after the Thaw. Premiered in 2009, Ballata arose from a commission of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, to be conducted by Benjamin, and takes its initial inspiration from an anonymous lullaby, and a ballad by the 14th-century composer Francesco Landini. These are songs about love, seen from two opposite points, near the beginning and the end of life, and their meeting-point in this modern Ballata is bittersweet and charged with tension. The origins of Sull’Ombra are no less distinguished. Yuri Bashmet conducted the Moscow Soloists in the premiere in 2014. Antonioni found himself moved to write it by lines of John Donne, which themselves reminded him of poetry by Eugenio Montale. The shadows here are dark indeed, though always lit with imagination, and harmony that leads the listener on, just as the concertante Lights after the Thaw draws out the intrinsically songful character of both solo instruments, in search of a point of reference amid a pervasive melancholia. There is a refined ear for harmony and texture evident in all three works, which reward attentive listening by anyone interested in the music of today.


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