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Solbiati and Dall'Ongaro

Allesandro Solbiati - Sinfonia seconda, Sinfonia, Die Sterne des Leidlands
Rai Nat'L Symphony Orchestra/Kawka
Stradivarius STR 33760

Michele Dall'Ongaro - Grimoire etc; Trio (1989/20) Traccia (1995) Quartetto n.5: etc
Ex Novo Ensemble; Arditti Quartet
Stradivarius STR 33757

Brief welcomes for two portrait CDs from Stradivarius of Italian modernists whose music I have enjoyed and whose names should not be so unknown across the Channel - fuller reviews may follow.

Allesandro Solbiati's Sinfonia (1998-2005) in standard four movements, his second excercise in conftronting symphonic form with large orchestra. was completed immediately before his second interraction with symphonic form; the latter's two matched movements are separated by a lengthy pause during which the conductor is instructed to keep his arms aloft; that should, at any rate, deter coughers! Its second movement is marked severo, profundo and Solbiati's music does have a certain severity and dance sections tend to feel slow, with sly allusions to Dowland and Schubert en passant. Die Sterne des Leidlands has a literaray basis in Rilke. Not easy music, but it impresses with integrity .

Michele dall’Ongarococlour (b.1957) was among the founders of the Spettro Sonoro, one of the first ensembles in Italy dedicated to contemporary music. He is a widey performed composer and music adviser for RAI-Radio3.

This CD has a major title work Grimoire for voice, violin and electronics, a piano trio and several contrasted shorter works for various combinations featuring members of Ex Novo Ensemble. I was particularly taken by a short piece for solo viola, which would go down well in recital here.

It also boasts his 5th string quartet, given by the Ardittis, who have probably recorded d'Ongaro_targetmore contemporary composers than anyone else. But how many of those get further performances; this one, which develops dense textures and is closely related to dall’Ongaro's previous two, deserves to.

The recordings are of high standard, but the booklet has some faults characteristic of Stradivarius, including a colleague's "pet hate", an enlarged b & w version of my colour photo above "in the inlay tray as if it were a target on a dartboard" (q.v. article CD Insert Booklets).

Peter Grahame Woolf