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David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, October 2008

Mario Pilati (1903–1938) was a minor figure in modern Italian music, but an attractive one nonetheless. . ..In short, the music is tuneful, charming, very much of its period, and extremely enjoyable in its unpretentious way. The performances are also expert…a welcome novelty that I can see many collectors of offbeat repertoire adding to their collections. Read full review at ClassicsToday



Glyn Pursglove
MusicWeb International, October 2008

Performance: 

Recording: 

Born in 1903 and active in the 1920s and 1930s before his death at age 35, Italian composer Mario Pilati has been largely forgotten. His resurrection here is due to the championing of the single-named Swiss conductor Adriano, who also wrote the enthusiastic booklet notes. Pilati's style shows the influence of Respighi and of the more contemporary neo-classic movement, which converge in his expansive treatment of antique dance forms like the minuet and the sarabande. Adriano sets great store by the opening Concerto for orchestra in C major, one of the earlier works to use that designation. Pilati's inspiration may have been Ernest Bloch's two works of the early '20s that use the earlier concerto grosso designation, and his incorporation of the piano into the basic every-instrument-is-a-soloist configuration of the concerto grosso has several surprises, and the final Rondò alla tirolese is filled with colorful folk rhythms. But the work lacks the sense of humor that is the most distinctive thing in the music by Pilati heard on this disc. The small dances of the Three Pieces for Orchestra and the Suite for Strings and Piano display Pilati's talent as an orchestrator to better advantage, quickly veering off from the basic dance strains into fantasies on the rhythm involved, punctuated by unexpected texture shifts. The final By the Cradle, composed shortly before Pilati's death in 1938, is a simple tonal work and certainly deserves wider exposure. The prolific musicians of the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra rose to new heights for conductor Adriano in this recording, made in Bratislava in 2000 and 2001, but the three shorter works on the program could probably stand up to a performance by one of the true virtuoso chamber orchestras of the day, and probably deserve such a performance.



James Manheim
Allmusic.com, October 2008

Performance: 

Recording: 

Born in 1903 and active in the 1920s and 1930s before his death at age 35, Italian composer Mario Pilati has been largely forgotten. His resurrection here is due to the championing of the single-named Swiss conductor Adriano, who also wrote the enthusiastic booklet notes. Pilati's style shows the influence of Respighi and of the more contemporary neo-classic movement, which converge in his expansive treatment of antique dance forms like the minuet and the sarabande. Adriano sets great store by the opening Concerto for orchestra in C major, one of the earlier works to use that designation. Pilati's inspiration may have been Ernest Bloch's two works of the early '20s that use the earlier concerto grosso designation, and his incorporation of the piano into the basic every-instrument-is-a-soloist configuration of the concerto grosso has several surprises, and the final Rondò alla tirolese is filled with colorful folk rhythms. But the work lacks the sense of humor that is the most distinctive thing in the music by Pilati heard on this disc. The small dances of the Three Pieces for Orchestra and the Suite for Strings and Piano display Pilati's talent as an orchestrator to better advantage, quickly veering off from the basic dance strains into fantasies on the rhythm involved, punctuated by unexpected texture shifts. The final By the Cradle, composed shortly before Pilati's death in 1938, is a simple tonal work and certainly deserves wider exposure. The prolific musicians of the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra rose to new heights for conductor Adriano in this recording, made in Bratislava in 2000 and 2001, but the three shorter works on the program could probably stand up to a performance by one of the true virtuoso chamber orchestras of the day, and probably deserve such a performance.




John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, September 2008

Blessings on Naxos for continuing to bring out such fresh and attractive music which heretofore has been rarely or never heard, and at a minimal cost. This is part of the large label’s “20th Century Italian Classics” series. The Neopolitan composer, who lived until 1938, was part of the same generation that produced such mostly tonal composers as Rieti and Rota as well as the avantists Dallapiccola and Scelsi.

Pilati is lushly tonal, and was drawn to instrumental music of Italy’s past—often writing in a neo-classical style. He also loved the folk music of his country and those close by. This is demonstrated in his Concerto for Orchestra of 1931–32, which was premiered at the time by Dmitri Mitropoulos. Probably the composer’s major composition, it is optimistic in tone and full of joy. The first movement, with its triumphal-sounding theme, is not in the usual sonata-allegro form but is a huge prelude. The center Adagio has a strong neo-classic flavor and the concluding Rondo movement uses a rustic folk theme from the Tyrol region.

The Three Pieces is really a suite of three dance movements: Minuetto, Habanera, and Furlana. It abounds in self-mockery and burlesque qualities that may have been inspired by Ravel’s La Valse. The four movements of the Suite for Strings and Piano are based on dance forms of old such as the sarabande and minuetto. Pilati’s music is very pleasant listening and it's a shame he only lived to age 35 because he might have contributed much more to posterity.



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2008

Now almost forgotten, Mario Pilati’s life was tragically cut short in 1938 by an incurable illness at the age of 35, and without anyone to promote his music, it was soon forgotten. He had been a talented young student in Naples, but the advice to live in Milan, where there would be more musical opportunities, proved to be to his detriment, his precarious financial situation leading him to the task of teaching young students. Yet for such a short life he left a quite substantial and comprehensive catalogue of works, the Concerto for Orchestra generally regarded as his major score. Completed when he was 29, and in three movements, it would today be more readily classified as tuneful light music, much in the mode that Eric Coates produced so successfully in England, the finale a boisterous peasant dance. Completed two years earlier in 1929 the Three Pieces are also dance movements, opening with a Minuetto that could have come straight from a Hollywood period film. A spicy Habanera leads to a  final capricious Furlana. The Suite for Piano and Strings is more serious in content and with English pastoral tendencies. In four short movements, the Saraband comes from Elizabethan times, with a finale that creates a happy conclusion. The final work, Alla culla - Ninna-nanna ( By the Cradle), was completed just weeks before his death, its beauty seemingly his own final lullaby.  The disc was released six years ago on the Marco Polo label, the Slovak Radio Symphony playing with an obvious sense of enjoyment for Adriano, Tomas Nemec being the piano soloist.






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10:07:52 PM, 26 December 2014
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