Saturday, April 18, 2009

What I am Listening to Today

A rainy, cool AM has me ensconced in my bedroom listening to some delightful music of which I have only recently become acquainted. The 2 Symphonies of Italian composer Giuseppe Martucci.

Born in 1856, Martucci had a formidable career as a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher. He toured extensively, championed Wagner and other German composers in Italy, and was the teacher of the much more famous Ottorino Respighi. Strangely, he was not, as were the vast majority of Italian composers of his generation, a composer of operas. He did produce some colorful and quite interesting orchestral works, including two large scale symphonies. Both are infused with the style of Schumann and Brahms, but also laced with the irrepressible Italian lyricism, making them less "heavy" and "turgid" than Brahms for sure.

Two excellent recordings exist. The earliest is the Kees Bakels Malaysian Philharmonic recording of the two symphonies on BIS 1255, the recording I am listening to now. Naxos has begun a series with the Rome Symphony under Francesco La Vecchia performing not only the symphonies but other orchestral works as well. I plan on sampling those later. Which ever you choose, delightful, interesting, lyrical and often powerful compositions await.

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