Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975): Orchestral Works


Capriccio Records has shown an increasing commitment to repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries, bringing to light a number of fine compositions by composers who are scantly represented in the recorded catalog. This program of orchestral music by Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975) is a recent example. The recording offers five orchestral works, progressing chronologically through the Italian composer's output, from his early diatonic yet highly chromatic period to his adoption of Arnold Schönberg's twelve -tone technique and finally to works that are altogether serially based. It's a fascinating portrait of the composer, expertly performed by the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz under the direction of Karl-Heinz Steffens with soprano Arantza Ezenarro appearing briefly in one movement.

Dallapiccola's early influences included Busoni, Wagner and Debussy, but the most important and lasting influences came from composers of the Second Viennese School, specifically Arnold Schönberg and his twelve-tone technique. In fact, Dallapiccola was the first Italian composer to fully embrace dodecaphony, but he managed to do so while retaining a uniquely lyrical quality arising from his commonly triad-based rows, often tranquil moods and evocative themes.

The opening work - and the piece from which our sample is derived - predates the composer's adoption of Schönberg's methods. The excerpt you can listen to is the second movement of Dallapiccola's Partita per orchestra (1932). In this, his first substantial orchestral work (although he introduces a solo soprano in the final movement) you can hear already a mastery of orchestration inherited from Italian masters of the preceding generation, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Malipiero and Respighi. The movement is a splendidly boisterous romp, formally straightforward and written in a modern, neo-Classical style as the title suggests.

The following piece, Due Pezzi per orchestra (1947), is a dodecaphonic work, as are the remaining compositions on the program, Piccola Musica Notturna (1954), Variazioni per orchestra (1954) and Three Questions with Two Answers (1952). These later works display the orchestral color, dramatic punch and lyrical style of Dallapiccola's earlier music, however the serial foundation of the pieces and the brevity of the movements no doubt affords a different listening experience.

Luigi Dallapiccola - Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera