Casella, Alfredo: Complete Piano Works Vol.1

12.50 3.00

  • EAN Code: 7.93588412319
  • Format: 1 Cd
  • Genre: Instrumental
  • Instrumentation: Piano
  • Period: Modern
SKU: C00113 Category:

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Composer, organizer, pianist, conductor, interested in science, Alfredo Casella was perhaps the most innovative composer in Italian music between the two world wars. Thanks to the advice of Martucci and Bazzini, he frequented the Paris Conservatoire where become a close friend of Enescu and Ravel and attended Fauré’s composition classes for a short period. These experiences broadened his horizons, becoming admirer by Debussy, R.Strauss, Mahler, Bartók, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky. Influenced by revolutionary trends in the visual arts (cubism, futurism, pittura metafisica) his music reflects a restless search of a style, where the searching itself become the meaning of each composition. Even if it was only one of his activities, he achieved an invaluable place in the history of Italian and European music. He attempted and succeeded to advance Italian music of that time at a European level, connecting a group of a young composer like G.F. Malipiero, Pizzetti, Respighi, Tommasini, Gui, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
Generally speaking, it’s possible to split his compositional phase into three macro-styles: up to 1913, 1913–20 and 1920–44 but the range and the experimentation of the composer would require a longer and more detailed timeline.


Casella, Alfredo (b Turin, 25 July 1883; d Rome, 5 March 1947): After studying with his mother, he showed precocious promise as a pianist, first playing in public in 1894. He also became intensely interested in science, and for a time wavered between two possible careers. Music prevailed and in 1896, following the advice of Martucci and Bazzini, his parents sent him to study at the Paris Conservatoire. The rich musical and cultural life of the French capital (which remained his base for the next 19 years) broadened his horizons and had a lasting influence on him. Before long the focus of his interests shifted from the piano to composing, and in 1900–01 he attended Fauré’s composition classes. His close friends at this time included Enescu and Ravel; and he developed immense enthusiasm not only for the music of Debussy but also for that of the Russian nationalists, Strauss, Mahler and in due course Bartók, Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Revolutionary trends in the visual arts (cubism, futurism, pittura metafisica) also affected him strongly and, he believed, influenced his development. His taste and culture thus became both adventurous and cosmopolitan – a tendency enhanced, after he left the Conservatoire in 1902, by travels which twice took him as far afield as Russia in 1907 and 1909. Nevertheless, Casella gradually became aware that to fulfil himself properly he had to return to Italy, to create there ‘an art which could be not only Italian but also European in its position in the general cultural picture’ (1941). The decisive step (both for himself and for Italian music) was taken in 1915, when he became professor of piano at the Liceo di S Cecilia, Rome. At once he began to introduce the music of Ravel, Stravinsky and others to the ignorant, provincial Italian public; and by 1917 he had gathered around him a group of young composers who in varying degrees shared his views, among them G.F. Malipiero, Pizzetti, Respighi, Tommasini, Gui and Castelnuovo-Tedesco. With these companions-in-arms (some much more active than others) he founded the Società Nazionale di Musica, soon renamed the Società Italiana di Musica Moderna (SIMM). During the next two years this controversial group gave many concerts of modern music (both Italian and foreign) and published a lively, subversive magazine, Ars nova. Casella’s public appearances at this time – as composer, conductor and pianist, both in the SIMM concerts and elsewhere – provoked predictably violent protests from the public. Yet the impact of the SIMM on Italian musical life was crucial and lasting, though its activities ceased in 1919. After the war Casella again began to travel widely, as pianist and conductor, and in 1922 he resigned his post at the Liceo (by then renamed Conservatorio) di S Cecilia. Nevertheless his fight for the modernization of Italian music continued, and in 1923 he, Malipiero and Labroca, with enthusiastic encouragement from D’Annunzio, founded the Corporazione delle Nuove Musiche (CDNM). This was a somewhat different organization from the SIMM: no longer a close collaboration of young Italian musicians seeking to establish themselves but, rather, a ‘window on the world’, aiming to bring to Italy ‘the latest expressions and the most recent researches of contemporary musical art’ (1941). In keeping with this aim the CDNM became integrated, almost at once, with the Italian section of the ISCM. It continued, however, to have some autonomy until 1928, by which time it had taken such works as Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire and Stravinsky’s Les noces on tour throughout Italy. In the 1930s Casella became a leading light in yet another Italian modern music organization: the Venice Festival Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea, which he at first (1930–34) directed in rather uneasy collaboration with Lualdi, assisted by Labroca. Meanwhile (1932) he was put in charge of the advanced class in piano at the Accademia di S Cecilia, Rome. There can be no doubt that in these years Casella, like so many other Italians of otherwise good judgment, fell under the spell of fascism: his opera Il deserto tentato was written in praise of Mussolini’s Abyssinian campaign. But the fact that the 1937 Venice Festival, thanks entirely to Casella’s initiative, still found a place for the music of Schoenberg is itself enough to prove the absurdity of claims that he became, in later life, a stalwart of narrow Italian provincialism. In 1939, in keeping with his growing interest in early music (which had first been kindled about 1920), Casella helped to found the Settimane Senesi at the Accademia Chigiana, Siena. Soon afterwards his life entered its tragic final phase: not only was his family’s position endangered by the fact that his wife was a Jew and a Frenchwoman, but in the summer of 1942 he suffered the first attack of the illness which was in due course to kill him. Not until 1944, however, did he cease to compose; and he remained active as a conductor until 1946 and as a piano accompanist up to three weeks before his death. JOHN C.G. WATERHOUSE (bibliography with VIRGILIO BERNARDONI) From The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians


Dario D'Ignazio, Piano: Dario D’Ignazio has started his piano studies with his mother and has taken his piano degree at Conservatorio “A. Boito” in Parma with Roberto Cappello. Later Alfredo Speranza has cared for his artistic development. Both he and Marcello Abbado defined him one of the best pianists in this century. He has taken a degree in Musical disciplines (Interpretational and compositional branch) and he has also studied conducting with Giovanni Pelliccia. He has taken part in and has won prizes in various national and international piano competitions; in 2001 he won the International “Allegro Vivo” music festival in Horn (Austria), first Italian after twenty years; on this occasion he also won the prize given by radio and television critics. After some time he has preferred the study of interpretation – a tiring but more satisfying research – to competitions, that brought him to build a strong, dominant and unique musical personality. Thanks to a restless study, he has improved his technique and has been able to realize his own musical idea. Lidia Carbonatto Palomba, Rai journalist in Rai said: “A pianist endowed with a superb technique – had Michelangeli still been alive, he would have been his favourite pupil”. Fascinating both the audience and the critics with a series of concerts in Romania and in Spain, he played in “Festival Salento Classica” the “Fantasie” for piano, choir and orchestra by L. v. Beethoven conducted by Salvatore Accardo. In spring 2016 he started the “Piano Work Tour”, in which he has played as a piano soloist and with orchestras in Italy, Spain, Austria and Poland. He collaborates with Vatican Radio broadcast and records for Tactus and Da Vinci Classics.

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