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Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, May 2013

This is the fifth release in Naxos’s series, with conductor La Vecchia and the Rome Symphony Orchestra, of Alfredo Casella’s orchestral works. Those who have collected the earlier discs have no reason to hesitate. Those not yet on board will find this CD as good a starting place as any.

La Vecchia and the Rome Symphony Orchestra continue to make a good impression. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, March 2013

By and large, I’ve liked Casella’s symphonies but not loved them. This CD, on the other hand, contains works that I enjoyed both emotionally and intellectually; in other words, they’re not only well written but really interesting.

As in his previous releases of music by Casella, conductor La Vecchia does an excellent job fusing clarity of texture with a fine legato and emotional sweep. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this disc. It’s a winner from first note to last. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review, December 2012

The Naxos series of the music of Alfredo Casella…is an ongoing one…on the latest disc, only Partita for piano and small orchestra has been recorded before. It is the earliest work here, dating to 1924-25 and cast in a mode, typical for Casella, that pays close attention to the past…while interpreting the forms in Casella’s own style. Sun Hee You plays the piece with sure-handed skill…The “orchestral fragments” from Casella’s first opera, La donna serpente…point to a work with both tragic and comic elements, including a march and battle scene but also an attractive “Tempo di berceuse” and a slow and deeply felt Prelude to Act III. The third work on the CD is another one paying its respects to the Baroque: Introduzione, aria e toccata, which dates to 1933 and, like the Partita, adapts old forms into a more-modern harmonic and tonal language, through which the formal structure nevertheless shows quite clearly. La Vecchia continues to display great understanding of and sensitivity to Casella’s style, and this continuing series shows the composer to have wider range and greater compositional ability than his comparative obscurity would indicate. © 2012 Read complete review

John von Rhein
Chicago Tribune, December 2012

CASELLA, A.: Concerto for Orchestra / Pagine di guerra / Suite (Rome Symphony, La Vecchia) 8.573004
CASELLA, A.: Donna serpente Suites (La) / Introduzione, aria e toccata / Partita (Sun Hee You, Rome Symphony, La Vecchia) 8.573005

Classical CDs full of aural pleasures

The two newest entries in Naxos’ worthwhile survey of Casella’s orchestral works display both his neoclassical side and his early modernist bent. If you don’t know Casella’s music, these discs make an excellent starting point. © 2012 Chicago Tribune

Brian Wilson - Download News 2012/24
MusicWeb International, December 2012

Music of unbridled energy, a big, sense-sating sound and unusually detailed liner-notes add up to a most desirable package. In short, Naxos have given us another cracker…

Colourful music in bold performances, well recorded…the mp3 is very good. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Hurwitz, November 2012

This disc marks the conclusion of Naxos’ Casella series, and it has been a wonderful journey. As with the other discs, the performances are excellent. Sun Hee You does a wonderful job in the Partita, offering effortless virtuosity and an aptly light touch…conductor Franceso La Vecchia proves himself more imaginative an accompanist…and he also has the better orchestra and engineering. Casella truly was a great composer. The evidence on this disc is incontestable. © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2012

A remarkably gifted child born in Turin in 1883, Alfredo Casella was despatched to Paris to study at the Conservatoire with his much revered tutor Gabriel Faure. He remained in the city for fifteen years where he was much influenced by Ravel, Debussy and the young Stravinsky. The earliest work on the disc is the Partita for small orchestra and piano, a 1925 score very popular in the first half of the century and often performed with Casella as soloist. It is cast in a typical cheeky French manner with the ‘wrong’ piano notes in the outer movements to meet with the fashion in Paris. A substantial score of around half an hour, it is a ‘concerto’ by any other name with a long and slow central Passacaglia. His only full-length opera, La donna serpente (The snake woman), is a bizarre fairy-tale not unlike Prokofiev’s Love of Three Oranges in its trial of the love of a man for a woman. In Casella’s continually changing style, he returned to a melodic base not that far removed from late Puccini. It was not an immediate success, and the composer decided to make the two orchestral suites we hear on this disc. Each is in three contrasting tempos and moods, its content unpretentious and charming. The disc opens with the last composed of the three works - the Introduzione, aria e toccata from 1933 in its premiere recording. The Korean pianist, Sun Hee You, is a very nimble and excellent soloist, the Rome orchestra, with their conductor, Francesco La Vecchia, playing with that abundance of dedication they have shown in the whole of this Casella series… © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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