Fascinating music, brilliantly performed
Review By RW67639,July 2009

Posted at on July 13, 2009

Franco Alfano's music is presently enjoying a worldwide revival in the concert halls, as well as on opera stages, such as the Metropolitan Opera, where his opera Cyrano de Bergerac was recently performed, starring Placido Doming in the title role.

The Cello Sonata and the Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano are fascinating chamber works in which Franco Alfano presents an extreme emotional amplitude and deeply lyrical moments, alternating with high drama, nostalgic serenity and exotic folk dances.

Composed in 1925, the technically demanding Cello Sonata explores the entire tonal range of the instrument, establishing a verismo style atmosphere while employing harmonies closer to Ravel or Debussy. Gentle lullaby co-exists with turbulence, and the agony of deeply personal statements is profoundly felt throughout.

The 1932 Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano, actually a piano trio, is a sparkling amalgam of extreme virtuosity and gentle lyricism, spiced up with agitated folk dances. The last movements of both works are firmly rooted in twentieth-century techniques, evoking the Prokofiev/Bartok orbit.

These truly fascinating chamber works are recorded for the first time by violinist Elmira Darvarova, cellist Samuel Magill and pianist Scott Dunn, in brilliant renditions which leave the listener breathless and deeply moved by the dramatic story-telling and the heart-rending elegy. The virtuoso elements intertwine vigorous excitement with languorous love duets in an extremely wide range of colors and styles. With gorgeously rich tone and employing a wide variety of vibrato speeds and inflections, the violinist and the cellist maintain their impeccable intonation throughout, interweaving their shifts and slides to match one another in their highly charged dialogue. The pianist's mesmerizing fluidity and fervor translate in a highly elaborate and architecturally accomplished interpretation. Truly magnificent performances of Alfano's fascinating chamber works !
Posted on 22 Jul 2009, 6:12 AM