Quartetti Italiani

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Click for availability and more information Quartetti Italiani, by Quartetto di Venezia
This 10 disc boxed set is a survey of string quartet music from Italy. The works of seven composers are represented, the earliest of whom is Boccherini (b. 1743) and the most recent, Gian Francesco Malipiero (b.1882). It is on the works of the latter that I would like to focus. My appetite for Malipiero was whetted when I encountered his 1st Symphony via the Naxos Music Library streaming audio service (Click here). This invaluable resource is made available for free to Greenwich Library cardholders. Having very much enjoyed my initial exposure to the composer's work, I borrowed Quartetti Italiani from the Library's collection. Malipiero's entire output for this configuration of players, comprising eight quartets in all, is present on discs 9 and 10 of this set. A harmonically adventurous spirit is evident on all these works, which, in conjunction with rhythmic vitality, creates a distinctive sense of forward narrative motion. Formal development is not emphasized, which may disappoint devotees of the Classical verities, yet these works cohere well, exhibiting a Faure-like logic as they unfold. I must admit, the Quartetto di Venezia does not exhibit the last degree of refinement and polish in their performances, but their playing projects enough excitement and commitment to put these pieces across and prompted repeated listenings on my part to all eight quartets; although I still haven't warmed up too much to #8. Predominantly tonal, these works, while frequently challenging, will reward those at ease with 20th Century idioms and iconoclastic compositional voices.

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This page contains a single entry published on June 2, 2010 4:50 PM.

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