Of all the Italian composers born toward the end of the 19th century, Alfredo Casella (1883–1947) was the most cosmopolitan in his dogged efforts to drag his country’s music into the 20th century. But before this could start happening sometime around the First World War, he first had to drag himself out of the 19th century, as these two early symphonies (and, to a lesser extent, the much more consistently magisterial Third Symphony, available now on a cpo CD) vividly illustrate.
Rob Mazurek has long been entrenched in his eclectic, global and multi-media creative sphere making it easy for listeners to forget his musical roots. With his 1994 leader debut, Man Facing East (Hep Records), he had already shown signs of breaking with convention, particularly on the title track of that album. The electro-acoustic cornet and keyboard player and visual artist began his music career in Chicago, working his way through hard bop and progressive rock before finding his place in the avant-garde/free improvisation sub-genres. The latter forms do little justice to the unique and varied approaches that Mazurek pursues across multiple group formations. Rome, is Mazurek's first solo outing since Vortice of the Faun (Astral Spirits, 2015), a very different, all-electronic noise album.
FSM presents the Miklós Rózsa Treasury (1949-1968), a 15CD set celebrating one of the giants of film music. In this single package FSM makes available virtually every surviving, as-yet-unreleased note from the composer’s fertile and productive association with M-G-M.
Alessandro Scarlatti is justly famed for his contributions to Read more opera seria and cantata, and indeed it may even be said that he was one of the main progenitors of the Neapolitan style of the early 18th century. In Naples and earlier in Rome he was obligated to write a considerable amount of sacred music, much of it for smaller settings that would be useful in the local churches. Since his music is now becoming more common on disc, it is good to have this recording of a set of four pieces—a gradual, a Marian antiphon, a motet, and a Psalm—all of which reflect rather different approaches to each portion of the liturgy and yet contain a certain commonality in form and structure. Interspersed within these, and no doubt both to provide a transition between then and to fill out the disc, are three organ works, two of which are of substantial length. Given that Scarlatti’s pieces for this instrument are not common, their appearance here is a real treat.