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Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, December 2011

Another pair of discoveries. Again thanks to Naxos for resisting the temptation to present each quintet with something more familiar. There we have it: no compromise at a price that is affordable. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, December 2011

Naxos delivers another inventive release with this disc featuring world premiere recordings of two piano quintets by Neapolitan composers Achille Longo (1900-1954) and Mario Pilati (1903-1938). Romantics will find much to enjoy in these little known pieces, which lie in the stylistic spectrum of music by Ottorino Respighi…Idebrando Pizzetti…and Luciano Berio.

Violinists Giuseppe Carotenuto and Nicola Marino along with violist Giuseppe Navelli and cellist Manuela Albano acquit themselves very well, giving enthusiastic support to pianist Dario Candela in the Pilati, and…the great Aldo Ciccolini for the Longo. Considering Ciccolini’s intimate association with his mentor’s quintet, this would have to be considered a definitive performance. © 2011 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2011

Two little-known Italian composers working in the inter-war years and here receiving world premiere recordings. Achille Longo was born in 1900 and came to maturity when Italy was under Fascist rule. With good sense he kept himself very much to himself, never embracing any school of composition. If the Piano Quintet is a guide to his music, he was working within the mainstream of modern tonality and in parallel with such composers as Frank Bridge in England. His favourite pupil was to become the distinguished pianist, Aldo Ciccolini, who at the age of 84 is the nimble-fingered pianist in this recording made in 2009 by the Naples-based group, Circolo Artistico Ensemble, a flexible group who have charged themselves with the task of discovering and performing Italian composers of this era. We therefore have also to thank them for reviving the Piano Quintet by Mario Pilati. Born three years after Longo, and having experienced difficulty in earning a living, he had just become recognised as a composer when he died aged 35. Without making exaggerated claims, I beg you to hear a work that points to a potentially great composer. Tonal, but experimenting in unusual harmonies, rhythms and juxtaposition of instrumental timbres, he could also fashion moments of the most tender lyricism. He was a one-off with no allegiance to anyone, but with a very new musical voice. Both works are in three movements, Circolo’s pianist, Dario Candela, joining them for this quintet. Sound quality could hardly be bettered, and at this ridiculously low price it is an outstanding bargain.

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