Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Salvatore Sciarrino Stories of Other Stories
Bach, Gesualdo & Scarlattis D & A, arr. Sciarrino

JS Bach – Toccata e Fuga en ré mineur élaboration pour Flûte - Mario Caroli; Elaborazioni da Domenico Scarlatti pour Quatuor à cordes : Quatuor Prometeo; Terribile e spaventosa storia del Principe di Venosa e della bella Maria – Musica per l’Opera dei Pupi – Voix : Carola Gai, Lost Cloud Quartet (saxophones), percussions Jonathan Faralli; Due arie notturne dal campo – elaborazioni da Alessandro Scarlatti – soprano : Alda Caiello, Quatuor Prometeo

Mario Caroli, Alda Caiello, Carola Gai, Quatuor Prometeo, Lost Cloud Quartet etc

Zig Zag Territoires: ZZT 040802

Can a mouse swallow a dinosaur? With a little help from Salvatore Sciarrino and support by illustrator Anne Peultier (see below), Mario Caroli devours the greatly popular Toccata and Fugue in D minor (which may be by J S Bach) and blows it out to us from his flute with arresting effect.

This is the introduction to a quirky and absolutely individual CD, one typical of Sciarrino and also of Zig Zag Territoires, a firm which espouses my ideal that a CD should, above all, be unique - as does this innovative flautist, whose burgeoning career I have followed with great pleasure on record and live (he will be UK premièring a concerto by Kaija Saariaho with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall on 7 June).

Before you read on, a couple more diversionary links to follow: read the learned theories of Peter Williams about the famous Toccata and Fugue that a) may not be by Bach, and b) may be a transcription from an original for violin solo.

The main item in this collection of transformations, metamorphoses, and elaborations by Sciarrino is music for a puppet opera The Dreadful and Terrible Story of the Prince of Venosa and the Lovely Maria, a re-writing of Gesualdo madrigals for saxophones with a a popular singer etc, re-tracing his necessary wife-murder to fulfil the 'code of honour' which her adultery demanded (c.f. customs still current in some Eastern cultures). Disturbing for musicians as well as for ethicists.

For the rest, Sciarrino transmutes Scarlatti sonatas for string quartet, negating their usual plucked string sound, and finishes with a couple of spare, haunting songs by Domenico's father Alessandro "who possessed the gift of piercing his hearers with just two notes".

The liner notes are by Salvatore Sciarrino, who chose and ordered the pieces and produced the recording sessions, and this is certainly one to refresh your collection - recommended also for a Christmas quiz.

© Peter Grahame Woolf