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Bob Briggs
MusicWeb International, 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.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2008

At a time when the world’s musical establishment had fallen into the hands of those promoting atonality, the Italian composer, Carlo Alberto Pizzini, was no longer regarded as fashionable

At a time when the world’s musical establishment had fallen into the hands of those promoting atonality, the Italian composer, Carlo Alberto Pizzini, was no longer regarded as fashionable. He led a very diverse life that included conducting in many parts of the world, while those thirty-four years from 1938 were equally occupied as an executive of Italian Radio and Television (RAI). His compositions were very diverse, but they all showed a debt he owed to his mentor Ottorino Respighi. He was particularly active in film and television music, and that influence also coloured his symphonic output, the 1940 triptych of pictures, Al Piemonte, standing akin to a Hollywood travelogue of the northern Italian region of Piedmont. Completed in 1940 it is very different to a solitary Scherzo movement he had written as part of a student exercise, the work taking its inspiration from Beethoven and Schubert. That same year he composed the four movements Il poema della Dolomiti reflecting a journey from daybreak through the mountainous Italian Dolomites, ending, like Respigh’s Pines of Rome, with a picture of a victorious army. He again goes back in time to pay homage to the style of Corelli in the Sarabanda per archi, ‘Omaggio a Corelli’, his impression of a feast day in a small town celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary captured by Strapaese - Impressioni dal vero. More Italian pictures in Grotte di Postumia (The Caves of Postojna) expressed in a theme and variations. The whole disc adds up to a pleasing experience, and as film music it would be highly valued and much praised. The Munich Philharmonic is conducted by Pizzini in broadcasts made by the Bavarian Radio in 1955 and 1956, the orchestra’s unfamiliarity with the music often showing in that feel of uncertain intonation. I guess the sound quality was never very good, though internal orchestral definition is admirable for that era.

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