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Jack Sullivan
American Record Guide, May 2011

These world premiere recordings offer a traversal of Giorgio Federico Ghedini’s early piano works, composed between 1908 and 1916. An obscure composer on these shores, Ghedini was an eclectic, basically lyrical composer of some fame in mid 20th Century Italy who claimed to base his aesthetic on 16th and 17th Century masters, though these pieces reveal an infatuation with the 19th Century as well. The longest work, a theme and variations, has a melancholy, Schumannesque songfulness and quirkiness.

Many moods are represented. Although the music is often slight, the ‘Preludio alla Fantasia’ has a Rachmaninoff-like grandiosity. A soft melancholy pervades the lovely little ‘Elegia’. Many of these pieces—the charming ‘Tempo di Valtzer’ and the lighthearted ‘Pagina D’Album’ are examples—have a simple, unassuming inventiveness. Others have a splashy sense of humor, such as the ‘Umoresca’ and the ‘Minuetto-caricatura’. Sometimes we are treated to an atmosphere of exotic antiquity, as in the Musette section of the Gavotta. Most striking of all are 29 tiny but varied and expressive canons written when Ghedini was a teenager. Assimo Guisseppe Bianchi plays these youthful, pleasant miniatures with simple grace and intelligence. The recording, made in Perugia, is warm and inviting.

WRUV Reviews, December 2010

Giorgio Ghedini ( 1892–1965) was very independent in his compositional styles. This CD consists of world premiere recordings of works completed between 1908–1916. Gracious and elegant. Play all!

Robert R. Reilly, November 2010

Great good news that Naxos is issuing the complete piano music of Giorgio Federico Ghedini (1892–1965), perhaps the single most neglected genius of Italian music in the 20th century. Volume one (8.572329) is full of charming music composed between 1908 and 1916. These world-premiere recordings use scores given by the composer’s daughter, Maria Grazia Ghedini, who writes, “As I listened to these pieces being played by Massimo Giuseppe Bianchi, I was reminded of something my father once said: ‘This is my credo: music is not a passing fashion, it is everlasting…As society becomes ever more technical, there is a great need for genuine sentiment, which is why music too must be animated, at its core, by a dramatic, romantic impulse…only thus can all its magic be conveyed.’” I hope this is a sign that his chamber and orchestral music will also be recorded. Wait till you hear the autumnal glories in this man’s outpouring of poignant melodies in his music for cello and orchestra.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2010

Few Italian composers from the first half of the 20th century have gained international recognition, Giorgio Federico Ghedini hardly known outside of his native land [But see Naxos’s recordings of music by Martucci, Pizzetti and Malipiero]. Never seemingly able to make up his mind whether he wanted to be a pianist, composer or conductor, his name now resides as the mentor of outstanding Milan Conservatory pupils including Lucanio Berio. He wrote piano music through much of his life, this, the first of two discs taking us from the Mazurka of 1908 to the Minuetto-caricatura of 1916. Within that period the eight works here recorded show a composer who was ignoring the dramatic musical happenings around him, his guiding voices coming from Bach and Busoni. There are two massive scores—29 Canoni and Nove pezzi.  The Canoni was commenced when he was seventeen as exercises in harmony and counterpoint. Some make excessive demands on the performer, the nineteenth in the shape of a complex whirlwind. I could well imagine the score finding a niche among pianists looking for something totally different. The Nove pezzi are more lightweight in character, often in the form of the dance, and eminently attractive. My entry point would be the Tema con variazioni sulla parola ‘Fede’, a likeable piece where the ghost of Chopin appears. There are also some trifles, the whole disc offering world premiere recordings. Massimo Giuseppe Bianchi is a technically brilliant soloist, and obviously a dedicated Ghedini champion.

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