Aldo Finzi - The Greatest Works

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An elegant collector's box in a LIMITED EDITION with 3 CDs containing the major works of the composer Aldo Finzi (1897-1945).

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An elegant collector's box in a LIMITED EDITION with 3 CDs containing the major works of the composer Aldo Finzi (1897-1945).

Within Aldo Finzi's production that has come down to us, the most substantial and representative core of his music is the symphonic works. The opening CD of the collection ALDO FINZI - THE GREATEST WORKS is dedicated to them. Nunquam, presented by Finzi at a competition held in Sanremo in 1935, seems to be influenced on the one hand by Richard Strauss, for a certain motivic and formal discursiveness (the tendency towards development, the use of chromaticism of Wagnerian origin, the importance attributed to the thematic design) and on the other by the use of the archaic mode that has as its reference the orchestral production of some exponents of the so-called 'Eighties generation'. The orchestra is used in full, unlike in the chronologically following work, Interludio, for chamber orchestra with piano. Based on an extremely reduced thematic material, there are only two motifs that the composer skilfully varies, the second of which, of a lyrical nature, returns in the course of the piece as a rondo. Particularly effective is the entrance of the piano prepared by an impetuous movement of the orchestra, almost expressionistic in nature. The piano, however, has no soloist pretensions, despite the technical difficulties present in the part, and is only timbre, the colour of the orchestra. A contrast to Interludio is Finzi's next composition, Danza. Composed between 1937 and 1938, the piece is very short and features a full orchestra with two pianos, a large percussion section and three saxophones. This work remains an isolated experience in the composer's oeuvre as it is completely detached from all other orchestral works in terms of size, personnel and musical style. The language is very reminiscent of Gershwin's experience, so much so that one could almost assume it to be a tribute to the composer's recent death in 1937. Hymns to the Night, a symphonic poem inspired by the literary work of the same name by Novalis (Hymnen an die Nacht, 1799), written between 1929 and 1932, is conceived according to a 'panel' construction procedure widely used since 1920 by G.F. Malipiero. There are no explicit references in the score to the poetic text, although the continual changes in the music suggest an inspiration that follows the path of Novalis' songs. Finzi's last work for orchestra was the symphonic poem Come all'ultimo suo ciascuno artista, which the composer's sister entitled posthumously, taking up a verse from Dante.

The second CD, dedicated to chamber music, opens with the String Quartet, composed in the second half of the 1920s. Articulated in three large movements, it has a construction in which the continuous transformation of fragments of motifs, sometimes reduced to small cells, creates a succession of episodes without a break in continuity. The musical language is certainly characterised by the use of chromaticism, with sections in which all twelve sounds of the chromatic scale are touched (third movement). We find the language of Finzi's chamber music repertoire with interesting innovations also in the rhythmic construction. The Quartet has its point of maximum inspiration and lyricism in the very long Lento e grave of the second movement. The Toccata was written in the mid-1930s. The piece, large in size and dominated by a rich variety of timbre and expression, is part of the piano tradition of the toccata, which originated in the Romantic period, understood as an autonomous form of an expressly virtuosic nature.

The third CD opens with the Psalm. Written in 1944 and left unfinished in its final part, it was composed without the help, if not sporadic, of a musical instrument. The musician's son remembers how his father composed almost the entire work, following the sounds he imagined and that he evidently had clear in his mind. The work, structured in four tempos with contrasting musical progression (calm and serene - rhythmic and decisive - slow - with impetus) and written for choir and large orchestra with alternating organ and piano, is part of the tradition of music freely inspired by the psalms (there are many 20th century composers whose works are part of this tradition: Poulenc, Honegger, Stravinskij, Penderecki, Petrassi, Schoenberg). It is difficult to give a precise stylistic collocation to this work, which can rightly be considered Aldo Finzi's spiritual testament: materials from different sources are rethought and combined within a writing that is mainly dominated by the archaic mode, in order to obtain an absolutely autonomous and stylistically original result. The Prelude and Fugue for organ dates from the last weeks of the composer's life. Here Finzi seems to turn to a language characterised by a greater adherence to tonal functionality and to a style that follows that of Bach's organ tradition: the prelude has a chorale-like rhythm and the fugue, for four voices, shows simplicity and linearity in its writing. The collection ends with four of the six Liriche for soprano and piano of which documentation remains. In spite of their different compositional logics, these works have common elements that characterise them: a certain formal balance that follows the strophic model of the text and the desire to create a link with tradition, through the use of harmonies that are almost always referable to the tonal system; however, it is evident that there is a desire to move away from traditional patterns by means of unusual harmonic movements, hints of pentaphony and the use of complex harmonic aggregates. In addition, another common element is a certain taste that looks to France and Debussy in particular, a taste that is manifested, in two cases, also in the choice of French text.

Additional information

Year

2012

Orchestration

Symphony Orchestra, Piano, String Quartet, Violin, Cello

Support

CD

Typology

Authors/Interpreters/Arrangers

Aldo Finzi

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