Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Fri, 09 Jun 2023 03:30:09 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari - Complete Wind Concertos (2007) Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari - Complete Wind Concertos (2007)

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1. Idillio-concertino in A Major, Op. 15: I. Preambola		3:06	
2. Idillio-concertino in A Major, Op. 15: II. Scherzo		3:17	
3. Idillio-concertino in A Major, Op. 15: III. Adagio		7:30
4. Idillio-concertino in A Major, Op. 15: IV. Rondo		6:21
5. Suite-concertino in F Major, Op. 16: I. Notturno: Andante un poco mosso		9:42
6. Suite-concertino in F Major, Op. 16: II. Strimpellata: Presto		2:13	
7. Suite-concertino in F Major, Op. 16: III. Canzone: Andante cantabile		5:23	
8. Suite-concertino in F Major, Op. 16: IV. Andante con moto		5:59	
9. Concertino in A-Flat Major, Op. 34: I. Preludio		5:16	
10. Concertino in A-Flat Major, Op. 34: II. Capriccio		6:44	
11. Concertino in A-Flat Major, Op. 34: III. Adagio		8:15	
12. Concertino in A-Flat Major, Op. 34: IV. Finale		5:54

Diego Dini-Ciacci (Oboe, English Horn)
Paolo Carlini (Bassoon)
Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Zsolt Hamar (Conductor)


Lovely, melodic, and ephemeral, these three concertos by German-Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari will charm listeners looking for twentieth century music that recalls with warm nostalgia the final years of the nineteenth century. Each concerto is in four movements and scored for different woodwind soloists plus a small orchestra. Both the delightful Idillio-Concertino for oboe and the sonorous Suite-Concertino for bassoon were premiered in 1933 while the wistfully tuneful Concertino for English Horn was posthumously premiered in 1955, seven years after the composer's death. All three are thoroughly Romantic in their arching melodies, chromatic harmonies, and freewheeling approach to form, and faintly neo-classical in their ebullient tone, buoyant rhythms, and ever-so-slightly ironic wit. Superbly played by Diego Dini-Ciacci on oboe and english horn and by Paolo Carlini on bassoon, and enthusiastically accompanied by the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto led by Zsolt Hamar, Wolf-Ferrrari's concertos are as appealing as cheese, apples, and wine in autumn. Recorded in Padua's Pollini Auditorium, the soloists here sound much too close while the orchestra sounds too far away. The result is an unrealistic and sometimes unpleasant sound. ---James Leonard, Rovi


Wolf-Ferrari (1876–1948) was born in Venice, Italy, the son of a German father and an Italian mother. He enjoyed early success with his operas and he also distinguished himself in the genres of chamber music and concertante wind music. The three works on this album, all cast in four short movements, are scored for small orchestras. All are comparatively late works. In each, soloists and orchestra are equal partners. The “Idillio” Concertino, premiered in 1933, is written in a light late-Romantic vein with string orchestra augmented by two horns imparting something of a bucolic character. It is reminiscent of the neo-Classical style of Respighi, especially in the Scherzo, where staccato chords from the oboe and answering strings are reminiscent of Respighi’s hen from The Birds . Both Dini Ciacci and Van Bockstal please with the latter just that bit snappier and more extroverted in the jolly outer movements. The hauntingly beautiful Adagio, taken at a much slower pace by Dini Ciacci and Hamar, is distinguished by some delectable string phrasing. The cpo players also make magic of the atmospheric Notturno opening movement of the Suite-Concertino for bassoon and small orchestra (1933), Hamar drawing lovely limpid music from his strings; and if you thought a bassoon could never be romantic, then you should listen to Carlini’s tender love song that is the Canzone (Andante cantabile). Loubry, on Talent, is more bubbly in the presto Strimpellata movement.

Wolf-Ferrari’s Concertino for English horn, strings, and two horns was premiered posthumously in Salzburg in 1955. Listening to the Capriccio second movement, and the Finale, one might imagine commedia dell’arte characters, the English horn’s buffoonery, sometimes encouraged by prankish horns, contrasts with the strings’ frequent censorious tones; Stravinsky’s Pulcinella comes to mind. Once again, the affecting melancholy of Carlini’s English horn solo, combined with misty, atmospheric strings, lifts another exquisite Wolf-Ferrari Adagio, the horns adding perspective and heightening the elegiac mood. ---Ian Lace,

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]]> (bluesever) Wolf-Ferrari Ermanno Thu, 14 May 2015 15:59:42 +0000
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari – Violin Concerto op.26 Serenade for Strings (1996) Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari – Violin Concerto op.26 Serenade for Strings (1996)

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1. Violin Concerto in D, op.26 - I. Fantasia
2. Violin Concerto in D, op.26 - II. Romanza
3. Violin Concerto in D, op.26 - III. Improvviso play
4. Violin Concerto in D, op.26 - IV. Rondo Finale
5. Serenade for Strings in E-Flat - I. Allegro
6. Serenade for Strings in E-Flat - II. Andante
7. Serenade for Strings in E-Flat - III. Scherzo
8. Serenade for Strings in E-Flat - IV. Finale

Ulf Hoelscher: violin
Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt
Alun Francis – conductor


There are three astonishing things about this concerto. First, it was premiered in Munich in early 1944 when the flames of war were lapping all around; second, the soloist was an American national, Guila Bustabo, whose sympathy for the nazi regime (occasioned perhaps by her German born mother) subsequently ruined her promising international career; and third, given the date and circumstances of its compostion, this is an amazingly good violin concerto. For most people with a knowledge of classical music, Wolf-Ferrari is a one hit wonder, the hit being the intermezzo to act 3 of his opera Jewels of the Madonna, once heard never forgotten. In fact the whole opera is worth hearing (click on my reviews for my opinion of the one available recording)and so is this concerto. It's not cutting-edge stuff by the standards of the 1940s, the musical idiom is conservative-romantic, and if you listened to it with no prior knowledge you would doubtless identify as a product of about 50 years earlier. The work is immediately appealing. The opening brings to mind the haunting, ethereal opening of the Sibelius violin concerto, the first movement has a bitter-sweet tinge about it, and the finale has a brilliant and often breathless momentum. The performance is excellent although the violin tone is smallish and sweetish whereas I thought a juicier, more gleaming tone would suit the music better. But it's a minor quibble. This is a major discovery, a work that should be in the repertoire of all the great fiddlers (but probably won't be.)

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]]> (bluesever) Wolf-Ferrari Ermanno Sat, 30 Oct 2010 15:47:07 +0000
Wolf-Ferrari - Talitha Kumi, La passione & 8 Cori (2018) Wolf-Ferrari - Talitha Kumi, La passione & 8 Cori (2018)

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Talitha Kumi (La figlia di Giairo), Op. 3
1. Pt. 1, Et cum transcendisset Jesus	16:49
2. Pt. 2, Et non admisit	17:09

3. La Passione, Op. 21	2:53

8 Cori, Op. 2
4. No. 1, Madrigale		2:01
5. No. 2, Canto No. 1		2:59
6. No. 3, Canto No. 2		2:11
7. No. 4, Frottola		0:50
8. No. 5, Die Lehre		1:03
9. No. 6, Stornello		1:04
10. No. 7, Rispetto		2:43
11. No. 8, Quartina		1:33

Rainer Trost (Evangelist) - tenor (1,2)
Joan Martín-Royo (Jairus, Christus) - baritone (1,2)
Oviedo Filarmonía (1,2)
Coro El León de Oro (Choir)
Friedrich Haider - conductor


Before he sprang to international fame as an operatic composer, Wolf-Ferrari had embarked on an important sequence of choral works. The very early Otto cori, Op. 2, set to Italian and German texts, contain some of the most beautiful music he ever wrote, revealing his love of Italian Renaissance music through grace, bucolic melancholy, humorous wit and sublime characterisation. In Talitha Kumi!, Op. 3, the title derived from an Aramaic quotation from Mark’s Gospel, the voice of an Evangelist carries the biblical narrative of Jesus bringing the daughter of Jairus back to life against a rich orchestral backdrop.


Within three years of Wolf-Ferrari’s death the authors of The Record Guide felt able to describe him as “a composer of slender but genuine talent”, who would be remembered chiefly for a few orchestral excerpts from his mainly comic operas. And that was pretty much the concensus view that prevailed for many years, until in the 1980s and 1990s the Marco Polo label and its bargain offshoot Naxos began to explore the forgotten byways of music, and lighted on the considerable output of Wolf-Ferrari that had remained untouched for years by the record companies. The bald statement by The Record Guide that the Italian-German composer had written only “two operas on more serious subjects” was expanded and contradicted by the remarkable discovery of the German-language Das Himmelskleid; two alternative recordings appeared of his pseudo-Shakespearean Sly (although neither appear as currently available on Arkiv Music, second-hand copies – for once reasonably priced – are listed on Amazon). We have also been presented with a selection from Wolf-Ferrari’s concert music, which again is far from negligible and displays much more than simply a “slender” talent.

But apart from a solitary issue of Wolf-Ferrari’s beautiful Dante oratorio La vita nuova on Koch (also apparently currently deleted, although second-hand copies remain available), the composer’s choral music has been comprehensively neglected, until this belated release of a recording made in 2010. Indeed all the works on this CD are advertised as “world première recordings” and the enthusiastic writer in the booklet describes the eight Op.2 choruses as containing “some of the most beautiful music he ever wrote.” And the inclusion here of Talitha Kumi! means that, of Wolf-Ferrari’s three major works for chorus and orchestra, only the “biblical cantata” La Sulamite remains unrepresented on record. (Like the setting here on the subject of the raising of the daughter of Jairus, it features a text in Latin, and since it is fairly short it could probably have been accommodated on this disc.)

In Wilde’s Salome one of the Nazarenes makes reference to the story of the Jairus’s daughter as having been raised from death (originally given in St Mark’s gospel), leading Herod to issue an edict forbidding anyone to raise the dead, which “would be terrible”; but in fact Nazarene has get his message wrong, since the original text makes it abundantly clear that the girl in question is in a coma, near death indeed but capable of being awakened from sleep despite the scepticism of the bystanders. The miracle is here briefly related, with none of the circumstantial detail that is found in the similar story of Lazarus elsewhere in the gospels; in order to create a musical work of any substance Wolf-Ferrari found it necessary to add two Latin hymns for the chorus as well as a good deal of extensive orchestral description of atmosphere and landscape, where the voice of the tenor evangelist assumes much more prominence than either Jairus or Jesus himself. But this music, some of it beautifully atmospheric if rather conventionally pastoral, effectively robs the narrative of any forwardly dramatic impulse, which it might otherwise have possessed. The calm reaction of Christ to the report of the girl “at the point of death” is totally lacking in any sense of urgency, leading to an unworthy but nagging suspicion that he is quite willing to delay any action until rigor mortis has incontestably set in; nor is there any sense of command or authority in the setting of the Aramaic words “Talitha Kumi!” (Daughter, arise!) despite the resonant delivery of the line by Joan Martin-Royo. The elegant and poised Rainer Trost is excellent as the evangelist, rising to the limited dramatic opportunies which he is afforded; but the most gripping section of music comes unexpectedly in the second part where Jesus’s entry into the house is suddenly presented as a parallel to Wagnerian Montsalvat, with the orchestra closely echoing phrases from the transformation music from Act One of Parsifal (track 2, 3.20). Otherwise the best music is to be found in the Latin hymns which close each part, delicate and hushed – and with an unexpectedly prolonged ending – but again lacking in any of the sense of operatic involvement that we associate with (for example) Verdi in Italian religious music of this period.

In the unaccompanied choral music that fills up the disc there are indeed some passages of sublime beauty. Most of these come in the various settings of Tuscan folk poetry – including the somewhat later setting of La Passione, although the opus number here is misleading, since the anonymous booklet note informs us that the work was not published until three decades after its composition. The treatment of the “Tuscan folk verse” Rispetto is particularly beautiful, with its wordless cantilena phrases and a delightfully poised contribution from an unjustly uncredited solo soprano. I am not at all convinced that the eight choruses form any sort of unified cycle, including as they do a German-language cautionary tale by Heinrich Heine as well as a couple of frankly comic Italian numbers, which contrast strangely with the more restrained setting of Michelangelo’s Madrigal and Goldoni’s wistfully nostalgic Quartetto; but it is a pleasure to hear them, and they are superbly sung here by a choir whose tuning is never suspect even in some of the more chromatic passages (not that anything here is even vaguely expressionist in a manner that might be regarding as anticipating any of the elements in Wolf-Ferrari’s verismo operas to come). Friedrich Haider sets off the mood of each setting with admirable involvement – the booklet informs us that he is “an ardent champion of the music of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari,” and one can well believe it. My only regret is that this disc could not have also provided us with a première recording of La Sulamite, which a reading of the vocal score suggests might be a more involving work than The daughter of Jairus written at much the same time.

Texts and translations are not included in the booklet (the notes come in English and German) but they are available online; they are well presented there, and listeners will find them essential if the music is to be given the opportunity to make its proper effect. Admirers of the music of Wolf-Ferrari – and the growing size of his representation in the catalogue confirms that there a good many of them out there – will need no recommendation to acquire this excellently performed and well-presented disc. One would also like to encounter one or another of the Tuscan settings for unaccompanied chorus in choral recitals, where I am sure that audiences would find them immediately engaging. ---Paul Corfield Godfrey,

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]]> (bluesever) Wolf-Ferrari Ermanno Wed, 03 Apr 2019 14:07:09 +0000