VITTORIO RIETI (1908–1994): Complete Piano Solo & Duo Works, Vol. 1 Suite Champêtre (1948) Three Vaudeville Marches (1969)* Second Avenue Waltzes (1942) Gossip (1979)* Valse Fugitive (1970)* Dodici Preludi (‘Twelve Preludes’) (1979) Sei Pezzi Brevi (‘Six Short Pieces’) (1932)* Five Pieces for Young Pianists (1942)* Virginia Rossetti, Giorgio Koukl, pianos.
Catalogue Number: 07Z012
Label: Grand Piano
Description: Rieti was a Jewish-Italian-American composer. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, he moved to Milan to study economics. He subsequently studied in Rome under Respighi and Casella, and lived there until 1940, when he emigrated to the United States, becoming a naturalized American citizen in 1944. He taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore (1948–49), Chicago Musical College (1950–54), Queens College, New York (1958–60), and New York College of Music (1960–64). ‘My music may not be performed often, but it is performed all over the world.’ With these words, Vittorio Rieti summed up the level of international appreciation his works enjoyed. Many of them achieved widespread acclaim among the most diverse audiences – his ballet The Night Shadow, choreographed by Balanchine, has received almost three thousand performances, but has still not been studied in any depth and is not staged as often as might be expected for a work of its calibre. This relative lack of fame is a strange fate for a composer whose work was performed and praised by such eminent figures as Casella, Kubelík, Mengelberg, Mitropoulos, Reiner, Stokowski and Toscanini, as well as by instrumentalists such as Sylvia Marlowe and Wanda Landowska; and whose ballets benefited not only from Balanchine’s choreography but from sets and costumes designed by artists including Cagli, De Chirico, De Pisis, Utrillo and Léger. Not to mention the fact that Barabau and Le Bal were the only works Diaghilev ever commissioned for the Ballets Russes from an Italian composer. He wrote a great deal for the piano, arguably his first and most significant musical love. His works for the instrument – which unquestionably benefited from his profound knowledge of its characteristics and potential, and were often based on the dance rhythms of which he was so fond – are notable for their light, natural, and at times brilliant style, and are thoroughly tonal, and marked by their effortlessly appealing melodic inspiration.