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Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, April 2012

If you have a taste for the heady, highly coloured impressionistic music of Ottorino Respighi, but have acquired all that composer’s principal works, then perhaps it’s time to sample the music of another great Italian orchestral composer of the 20th century, Gian Francesco Malipiero—and there are few better places to start than with this CD. This excellently played collection features two highly valuable world premiere recordings, and the music, iridescent and full of character, almost rivals the composer’s contemporary Respighi in its invention and distinction. © 2012 Classical CD Choice

Paul A. Snook
Fanfare, March 2012

Francesco la Vecchia and his excellent Rome Symphony Orchestra provide insightfully idiomatic performances. La Vecchia demonstrates an unusual capacity for illuminating Malipiero’s intensely multilayered textures. Engineering and a very engagingly personal annotation by David Gallagher maintain the same high standards.

This release is for this writer a mandatory Want List choice and should join the collections of anyone even remotely interested in 20th-century musical landmarks. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Steven Kruger
Fanfare, March 2012

In the three sets of Impressions, which portray beauties of nature and country life—various birds, bell sounds, trees, wind—it is easy enough to visualize what is being depicted. And Malipiero’s music is often held together by ostinato figures, such as the tolling of bells for minutes on end, or the mating display of a woodpecker working on a dead log.

Francesco la Vecchia’s conducting and the sound here are dedicated and above reproach… © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Robert Reilly
Catholic News Agency, January 2012

Robert Reilly’s Favorite of the Year

There is a delicious languidness about this music. The level of sheer fancy is irresistible. Listen, for instance, to the Dialogue of the Bells at the beginning of the second Impressioni. This is one of the best Malipiero CDs out there and a great introduction to this magician’s music. © 2012 Catholic News Agency See complete list

Gil French
American Record Guide, January 2012

The Rome Symphony is very good…the performances are engaging because the sound is rich and ambient and because the music itself is worth hearing…Malipiero exhibits more personality and creativity in these works… © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Hubert Culot
MusicWeb International, December 2011

I have been waiting for a recording of these works for many long years. I am happy to report that this generously filled release fills an important gap in Malipiero’s discography. Both performances and recording are quite good. The whole may be safely commended to anyone who has investigated this composer’s often idiosyncratic symphonies and who wants to know more about this important, if at times enigmatic and unsettling musical personality. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, November 2011

It is a pleasure to be able to report that both the music and the performances fulfil my hopes…and that this has proved to be a compellingly rewarding introduction to this strikingly individual composer’s works.

…what about the music? Immediate reactions are it has great appeal; flamboyantly and confidently orchestrated but on a relatively brief time scale. I enjoyed every movement here. I am not sure quite what I was expecting but he has an individual voice. This is apparent from the opening work.

It is briefly worth noting that with the exception of two movements of the first set of Impressioni and the first Pause all the music here is receiving world premieres recordings on what proves to be an exceptionally well-filled disc. Add the exemplary liner and high production values from performers and engineer/producer and you can see that this is a very fine and valuable Naxos release. Certainly my interest is well and truly tweaked; enough that hopefully this disc is first of more Malipiero from these artists—my instinct is they have more to say about him than their Russian counterparts. Read complete review, October 2011

Four of the five works on the new Naxos CD are world première recordings, and the entire disc is certainly worth hearing, but it will not be to all tastes and gets a (+++) rating. It would be stretching things to call this Malipiero disc a sonic spectacular, but it is certainly well played by the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma under Francesco La Vecchia, and the music offers a number of interesting elements even though, taken as a whole, the 80-minute disc offers perhaps more of Malipiero than most listeners will feel they need to experience.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2011

The release tells us a lot we did not know about the young composer, Gian Francesco Malipiero, much of the music receiving its world premiere recording. Born in Venice in 1883, Malipiero lived much of his long life in the countryside of that region. Yet it was in Paris in 1913 that the premiere of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps changed his life as a composer. He was already 30, but publicly rejected everything he had written to that date as being of no importance. In truth he carefully preserved many of them and revived some in later life. The present disc comes in the little known period of transition before he began work, aged forty, on his eleven numbered symphonies that placed him as a progressive modernist. It was a time when his music was a mix of late French Impressionism and the new music world we hear in the works of Respighi. The three sets of Impressioni dal vero (Impressions of life) each contain three graphic pictures. The first of birds; the second scenes of pleasure, including a vivid Dialogue of Bells, and the third a horrific memory of life in the First World War. Apart from the sounds of music, Malipiero loved pure silence, something impossible to depict in music. So we go to the opposite side of the dynamic spectrum in Pause dal silenzo (Breaks in silence), the first, dating from 1917, being regarded as one of his masterworks. There is nothing here that is easy to perform, and if there are passing moments where we feel the Sinfonica di Roma show their unfamiliarity with the scores, they have done Malipiero a great service, and I readily commend the disc to you.

David Hurwitz, September 2011

It’s always difficult to speak authoritatively about performances of unfamiliar music, but these works are so strange, so beautiful, and so remarkable that criticism is disarmed. Impressioni del vero (“Impressions from life”) consists of three, three-movement suites of strikingly colored, harmonically arresting, melodious music. The titles give some impression of these atmospheric pieces: Dialogue of Bells, The Cypresses and the Wind, The Woodpecker, and Festival in the Valley of Hell. “Haunting” is perhaps the best term to describe the music—it gets under your skin, and doesn’t sound like anyone else.

Pause del silenzio (“Breaks in silence”) consists of two suites, one of five movements and one consisting of seven brief episodes played continuously. There’s an improvisatory quality to these pieces that makes them completely unpredictable, and yet somehow they work well together. Okay, let’s forget about describing the impossible and turn instead to performances that sound remarkably confident and assured. The orchestra plays very well, conductor Francesco La Vecchia (as in his Casella series) leads with a masterly sense of pacing, and the sonics are excellent. This is just wonderful.

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