ALFREDO CASELLA (1883 - 1947)
Among the leading figures in Italian music between 1918 and 1939, Alfredo Casella was trained in Paris at the Conservatoire as a pupil of Fauré. Returning to Italy, he did much to introduce contemporary music, as understood in Paris, to the Italian public. He was active not only as a composer but also as a pianist and conductor. His developing style of composition reflects international contemporary influences and trends.
Casella’s works for the theatre include the ballet La giara (‘The Jar’), based on Pirandello, and the operas La donna serpente (‘The Serpent Woman’), based on Gozzi, La favola d’Orfeo, based on Poliziano, and the ballet La rosa del sogno (‘The Dream Rose’).
Casella wrote symphonies, concertos and other works reflecting his changing style, from the avant-garde to neoclassicism and generally diatonic writing, spiced with dissonance. His Paganiniana proclaims its origin in its title; also of note are a Suite from La giara and a Serenata derived from an earlier chamber work.
Casella’s piano music ranges from collaboration with his friend Ravel in Paris in the series of musical tributes A la manière de…to Sei studi (‘Six Studies’) completed in 1944.