GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914)
Complete Piano Works Vol. VI
The last volume of the complete recordings of the piano music composed by Sgambati contains all the transcriptions for piano duo of his orchestral works, the First Simphony in D major op. 16, a work of uncertain attribution (Marcia Funebre - Funeral March) and Liszt’s symphonic poem “Die Ideale”. Sgambati obtained his first remarkable European successes with the Concerto for piano and orchestra in G minor op. 15, composed between 1878 and 1879 and the First Simphony in D major op. 16 composed between 1880 and 1881 and performed on March 28, 1881 at the Quirinale Royal Court. Both works obtained a great success all over Europe. The Symphony was introduced in the repertoires of many conductors, such as Martucci (Bolonia Comunale Opera House, 1888), Toscanini (La Scala, 1899) and Ernst von Schuch, and it was much appreciated also by Grieg and Saint-Saens (trés interessante et trés originale symphonie). The unusual mixture of Italian melodic style and German symphonic tradition of this work was immediately appreciated by the critics. In fact, his Symphony was welcomed in Italy as “a genuinely Italian work” (Valletta), and in Germany as a “work of stunning beauty, orchestrated in a peculiarly exotic way, echoing both Italian (Verdi) and modern German tones. The genuine, authentically Italian Serenata has reached its best achievement.” (Musikalisches Wochenblatt). As for his Symphony, emphasis was also placed on “an expressive style marked with strong dramatic tones informing all the work, with its splendid inspiration and development, which makes it ‘young’ Italy’s best work of this genre. Its orchestration is such a shining example of musicality that there is no need for missing grand polyphony. The Scherzo is particularly excellent, with an introduction recalling the Meistersinger, for its powerful imagination and creativity. In each of the five movements there is plenty of music. This musical spirit is worthy of a great respect. Italy can be proud of him!”. (Allgemeine Musikzeitung).