DAVIDE ANZAGHI (b.1936): Ritografia, Intermezzi I and II, Variazioni su un tema esoterico, Tinum, Son’Ora, Rondò della notte.
Catalogue Number: 08X054
Label: Da Vinci Classics
Description: This chronological survey of his output for piano reveals the evolution of an unrepentant modernist - his early successes were in competitions adjudicated by the likes of Messiaen, Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Xenakis and Ton de Leeuw - who started out writing academically correct, technically impeccable works and gradually moved toward a far more expressive style with a distinct sense of drama and far greater approachability, without compromising his craftsmanship but, rather, expanding its scope. Ritografia (1971) seems more concerned with procedure than content, but by the 1980s the Intermezzi have acquired a more euphonious approach to harmony, within a still-atonal construction. The first work that listeners are likely to return to repeatedly is the striking and original Variations of 1990-91. This begins with a measured moto perpetuo, punctuated by sforzato octaves which turn out to be spelling out the theme, which is then varied in a wide range of guises and decorated with a multiplicity of gestures and textures. Moving to this century, the other three works emphasise a powerful sense of dramatic narrative, and notably employ richer piano textures that for the first time seem like an evolution from traditional piano music, with more than a little tonal harmony. The coruscating rapid figuration at times suggests "new complexity", and the virtuosic requirements are formidable, but Tinum achieves a level of momentum and expressive force that would have been unthinkable in the early pieces. Son'Ora adds percussion instruments, played by the pianist, to the timbral mix. These, and silences, provide a ritualistic backdrop for the declamatory gestures and turbulent scintillations of the foreground drama. The Rondò, as the title suggests, is a nocturne, permeated by bell-sounds, some emanating from actual bells played by the pianist, others suggested by carillon-like figuration from the piano. The work’s immersive atmosphere and sonorities have an almost Romantic sense of scene and drama. Giusy Caruso (piano).