Antonella Ciccozzi

Luigi Maurizio Tedeschi: Musica da Camera con Arpa

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It's not only the globe-trotting Naxos label that's getting new mileage out of long-abandoned repertories these days; Europeans are getting in on the act with their own national traditions. Italy's Tactus label here offers a disc of world-premiere recordings. The music included is conservative in style, so it was discarded over the course of a century that fancied itself avant-garde.

Luigi Maurizio Tedeschi (1867-1944) was a harpist who studied in Milan and Paris on the way to an extensive international concert career. Largely self-taught as a composer, he wrote numerous harp works, an opera (Jocelyn, 1908), and a selection of chamber music with harp, collected here. Three pieces on the album are for harp and violin, two for harp and cello, and one, the "Improvviso," Op. 19, for harp solo. Written between 1891 and 1938, these works breathe the spirit of the man who dominated Italian music for much of that time, Giacomo Puccini. They are tuneful and also accurately constructed, setting up lyrical flights for maximum effect.

Tedeschi's more youthful works are perhaps his most pleasing; the Elegia, Op. 22, carries the listener gently up to the highest registers of both violin and harp, suspending them there for a deliciously long stretch. Tedeschi's harp writing, unsurprisingly, is idiomatic, and harpist Antonella Ciccozzi delivers clean, winsome readings. The two string players, violinist Marco Rogliano and cellist Francesco Sorrentino, interact with her in perfect balance. If these pieces ultimately belong to the genre someone once dubbed "potted palm music," well, a potted palm is an attractive plant to have around the house or business.

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