Trios for Violin, Cello and Piano
Considered the “émule de Busoni” by Georges Tardy, and praised by Fernando Liuzzi and Alfredo Casella, among others, Zanella emerges as a virtuoso performer whose exceptional qualities included excellent technique, iridescence and range of timbre, beauty of sound, meticulous care given to orchestral effects, stylistic perfection, and above all the legendary “perlato”. Unfortunately, as far as we know, no recordings of his playing seem to have survived. As for a general evaluation of his compositional qualities and a detailed analysis of the three basic areas of his vast and variegated output—pianistic, operatic and chamber works—the study by the musicologist from Piacenza, Francesco Bussi, “Amilcare Zanella, musicista piacentino, emulo di Busoni e paladino di Rossini”, (Piacenza, Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Province parmensi, 1971, rep. 1973), is still today the indispensable point of reference and the only considered and impartial critical study on the subject. Zanella stands as a cultured, versatile, and eclectic artistic personality, a champion of “substantial” music and of metric freedom. If his works lack at times a certain rigorous concentration, this weakness is compensated by a rhythmic impetus, a solid technical approach, facile inventiveness, a colorful instrumental palate and a constant taste for wit, humor and the bizarre. His chamber music excels, particularly in the case of the two “Trios” recorded here.