Sara Mingardo

Guido Alberto Fano: La Mia Sera

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Guido Alberto Fano (1875-1961) is a barely remembered member of the cohort of Italian composers (including Respighi, Pizzetti, and Casella) that followed Puccini and the verismo composers who had flourished around the turn of the century. While he sought to distance himself from what he saw as the facile popular style of Italian song typified by composers like Francesco Tosti, his melodic and harmonic language remained tonal, and his musical language was hardly as forward-looking as Puccini's. Fano had a flair for drama and was clearly skilled in writing for the voice; his melodies are graceful and show off the singer. He had a gift for melody, as is evidenced in sections of the songs that soar. Among the most effective works is the seven-minute "Genere umano addio," a powerfully dramatic and memorable song that demonstrates what Fano could do at his best, and some of the discrete sections of the long songs are lovely. Contralto Sara Mingardo makes the strongest possible case for the composer in her impassioned, insightful performances. Her dark amber voice is warmly expressive, colorful, rich, and pure, with none of the chesty sound that characterizes some contraltos. It's a splendid, deeply invested performance. Pianist Aldo Orvieto provides supple and sympathetic accompaniments, some of which are reductions of orchestral parts. The sound is balanced, warm, and realistic.

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