, July 2008
Pizzini studied with Respighi, so that immediately will give you some clue as to the kind of music on this disk. It is highly coloured, well orchestrated, full of melody and very overtly spectacular.
Al Piedmonte starts with the kind of rampant brass music which you’ll recognize from many a Hollywood film; it’s loud and extrovert. The ensuing slow movement has too much going on to be a true nocturne, you’d be awake all night with this going on. The last movement of the triptych is an homage to cars: Fiat!. It’s not as noisy as Mossolov’s Iron Foundry but it does its best.
The Scherzo in stile classico is a student composition and I’m not sure if it’s an homage to the classical style or if it’s meant to be a pastiche. It certainly tries to capture the charm of Schubert and Haydn.
Il poema delle Dolomiti is a symphonic poem in four movements. The first movement depicts the sunrise and creates a big climax – Pizzini loves his full orchestral sound – which is complemented by The Flower-filled meadows where, “Peace is over everything … amid the calls of the shepherds, the ardent song of life arises …” This is quite delightful – Delian with more modern harmonies. The third part depicts the lake of Carezzaand is a scherzo, full of delicate writing. This leads into a loud movement, where “warlike trumpet blasts and volleys of bullets as the combat rages.” A joyous, and again loud, ending, is had by all.
Sarabanda per archi, Omaggio a Corelli is a nice little piece, if somewhat square. Grotte di postumia was inspired by a trip the composer took to the caves of Postumia, north of the Istrian peninsula. It’s a set of eleven variations on an original theme. We start back in Hollywood, then come Respighi’s marching men in Rome, which is followed by more travelogue music, with a slight hint of Rimsky’s Scheherazade, ending with some more Delius. Then it gets loud, with a reminiscence of the Polovtsian Dances of Borodin. Scheherazade re-appears on solo violin then a saxophone takes us into a nightclub, aided by more Hollywood string writing. Am I boring you? I’m bored.
This music really seems quite faceless to me. There are, as I see it, two problems. First of all Pizzini is far too overly reminiscent of other composers - Delius, Miklós Rózsa, Respighi, Rimsky, Borodin and others. Secondly, his style is limited: the music never goes anywhere, it never takes flight. The climaxes are all the same, the orchestration is always the same, there is no real personality behind the compositions. It’s obvious that Pizzini owes a lot to Respighi and like a lot of lesser composers - the same could be said of some of Hindemith’s pupils - he seems to have found it almost impossible to get away from his teacher’s influence.
The sound is a bit hard on the ear, which doesn’t help the big climaxes which are somewhat strident. I am sure that the performances are as authoritative as one could hope for. However, even at the price, I cannot find it in my heart to tell you that this music is worth the outlay. Buy some real Delius, Rózsa or Respighi; you’ll enjoy them much more.