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Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, November 2011

You might almost guess the title of the light and sparklingly playful Overtura Respighiana from the first few bars—the Roman trilogy is much in evidence. Later on the older composer’s dreaminess and Rossinian tarantella tendencies are referenced. All uproarious fun.

Contrast that piece of jollity with the four movement Symphony No. 2 which is a more downbeat and even chastened beast and not averse to caustic harmonies. This is far from surprising when one is told that it marks the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

After two sharply contrasted orchestral pieces comes the Ave Maria for female choir. This is a complex yet tonal piece, devotional and aiming also to voice the varied facets of femininity. It may be thought of as a modern echo of the Monteverdian madrigal. Exalted stuff.

The First Symphony is for string orchestra. Its four movements range from a dazzlingly concentrated Barber-like Preludio to an at times shudderingly emotional and then reserved Passacaglia. The little Fuga skims along towards the almost equally short and gleamingly moonlit Finale. This is music that it is not difficult to like.

The disc ends with a querulous solo clarinet sonata. It would have been better placed somewhere earlier in the disc.

The notes provide helpful context for this varied slice of brilliant music. The disc can be set beside di Vittorio’s Respighi-recovered violin and orchestra disc (8.572332).

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, November 2011

…beautiful music is beautiful music, regardless of when it’s written, and Di Vittorio proves himself with this CD to be a composer of beautiful music extraordinaire. I strongly recommend this release to you for many hours of listening pleasure.

MusicWeb International, September 2011

Clearly, Di Vittorio has an affinity with Respighi, and indeed the blurb for this release describes him as “hailed by critics as ‘following in the footsteps of Respighi’”. The CD thus opens appropriately with the Overtura Respighiana, a light, cheery piece that “fuses Rossini’s influence on Respighi with both of their influences on Di Vittorio’s own musical language”.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2011

Born in Italy in 1967, Salvatore Di Vittorio, studied composition and conducting at the Manhattan School of Music and is now resident in New York. He presently has a parallel career with conducting taking him to both sides of the Atlantic, while as a composer he has a growing portfolio of major scores. As you will discover, his famous predecessor, Ottorino Respighi, has been a major inspiration, and written in homage the Overtura Respighiana employs material from the Pines of Rome and La boutique fantasque in a happy and very lively score. The first of the two Sinfonias is sub-titled, ‘Isolation’ , and depicts man’s “alienation from himself (his inner being and spirituality), and more importantly from his follow man”. Created within the bounds of tonality, its four movements are subdivided by changing moods, though it is the mix of foreboding and desolation that makes the work a moving experience. It originally dates from 1994 but revised in 1999, it came three years before the Second with the title, ‘Lost Innocence’ , a score engendered by the Yugoslav civil wars in the 1990’s. Strong and powerful it tells a story of death and destruction, but where innocence offers hope for the future. A short a capella Ave Maria for female voices, started life in 1995, the same year that saw work began on the Sonata for solo clarinet. In three short movements it is lyrical and often meditative. With Di Vittorio conducting the orchestra he founded, we can take the disc as being a benchmark. It impresses by its dynamic range and subtle colours, while the soloist in the sonata, Benjamin Baron, is also the orchestras principal clarinet. The recording, made in early 2010, is open in texture and of pleasing quality.

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