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Alfano: Cello Sonata

Album Summary

>Alfano, Franco : Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano
>Alfano, Franco : Sonata for Cello and Piano
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Franco Alfano's completion of Puccini's opera 'Turandot' has eclipsed his own reputation, although the profound ability of this talented composer is finally emerging into the light. The works on this disc display contrasting aspects of his musical personality. The large-scale 'Cello Sonata', with its echoes of Debussy and Ravel, grows from serene beginnings to turbulent intensity before subsiding into elegiac resignation. The more neoclassical 'Concerto', actually a piano trio, weaves hints of Renaissance polyphony with Basque and eastern European folk-music into a shimmering fabric of virtuosity and lyricism.


Alfano Chamber Music: Trio ("Concerto"); Cello Sonata
I liked the "concerto," which is really a piano trio. My reaction to the first movement was that it was very strongly influenced by the chamber music of Chausson and Faure'. I thought that the change to a very slow section near the end of the movement was an anomaly. The next two movements seemed to be more in the style of Ravel. I found the first movement to be the most interesting. Despite the information given in the sleeve-notes about how deeply personal a work the Cello Sonata is, I must confess that I didn't find it, particularly the first movement, very interesting; to me, the thematic material, especially in the last movement, simply isn't very ingratiating. Compared with cello sonatas by Shostakovich, Debussy, and Rachmaninov, this Sonata seemed not to offer very much, even though it contains several impassioned sections. The balance of sound between the soloists is good and overall the execution is top-notch. On my stereo, the recording of the Trio is excellent; the recording of the Cello Sonata is a little bass-heavy. I don't like to pass judgment on the musical style of such a distinguished cellist as Samuel Magill, but I thought there might have been a little too much use of exaggerated glissando. Perhaps this comes from Mr. Magill's long experience in performances of operatic scores, where it lends poignance, but it seems out of place in the Cello Sonata.
Submitted on 08/28/09 by Ted Wilks 
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Works Details

>Alfano, Franco : Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano
  • Performers: Samuel Magill (Cello); Elmira Darvarova (Violin); Scott Dunn (Piano)
  • Notes: M&I Studios, New York, USA (06/09/2008-06/10/2008)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1932

>Alfano, Franco : Sonata for Cello and Piano
  • Performers: Samuel Magill (Cello); Scott Dunn (Piano)
  • Notes: M&I Studios, New York, USA (06/09/2008-06/10/2008)
  • Running Time: 31 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1925