Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Vittorio Rieti - Music for Harpsichord and Instruments Triptych - Concertino - Sonata Breve - Pastorale e Fughetta - Sonata All'Antica - Variations on Two Cantigas de Santa Maria - New World Records 2014

The desire to compose modern music inspired by the baroque and classical styles was adopted by many composers in the first half of the twentieth century. The wonderful yet neglected composer Vittorio Rieti absorbed neo-classicism from Stravinsky in Paris, embraced it with all the passion of his youth and of the period, but unlike his contemporaries, Rieti never let go of it. He continued to write in this mode throughout his life, long after most composers had abandoned or transformed the style. As Rieti himself remarked in 1973, "I maintain the same aesthetic assumptions I have always had. I have kept evolving in the sense that one keeps on perfecting the same ground." Modern music inspired by earlier, often archaic forms has always held a special place in my heart (Bloch, Hovhaness, Rosner, Harrison, Cowell, Martinu, Part, etc. etc...) and Rieti's music is a charming and
important example of this compositional pursuit. The disc at hand offers up such definitive pieces for chamber ensemble.

Although an Italian native, composer Vittorio Rieti (January 28, 1898 - February 19, 1994) was born in Alexandria, Egypt; his early music studies were taken as secondary to a course in economics at the University of Milan, where Rieti earned his diploma in 1917. Conscripted for a short time into the Italian army during World War I, he resumed his music studies with Alfredo Casella after the war and composed his first works in an experimental, near atonal style. His work gained the attention of Arnold Schoenberg, who frequently programmed them at ISCM concerts and helped Rieti win a publishing contract with Universal Edition. However, by the time he joined the staff of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in Paris in 1925, Rieti had shifted to a more neo-classical vein in the manner of Stravinsky, who became his close friend. Rieti enjoyed a high profile in the years leading up to the Second World War, but its outbreak caused him to flee to the United States in 1940. 

Once in the U.S., Rieti picked up right where he left off, writing ballets for George Balanchine and having his works performed by major conductors and orchestras. Unlike Stravinsky, however, Rieti's music began to experience an eclipse starting in the 1950s. Just before that, Rieti had begun to teach, first at Peabody and later in Chicago, concluding with professorships at Queens College and the New York College of Music. Rieti enjoyed a long retirement, and continued to compose right up until his death in 1994 at the age of 96. There is a handful of recordings of his music, mostly out of print however and I certainly hope New World continues to record his music, or better yet that other labels too will explore his output-imp his music deserves exploration in spades! 

Vittorio Rieti left an impressive body of work: seven operas, 11 symphonies, and 11 string quartets in addition to numerous ballets, chamber works, songs, piano pieces, and choral settings. In a stylistic sense, Rieti never wandered very far from the neo-classic sound he'd cultivated since 1925. Considerations of historical relevance aside, Rieti was a highly skillful composer with a great sense of concision and balance. In his American works, Rieti managed to bring an element of old-world charm into pieces that still successfully adopt some of the sass and bite typical to American concert music of the 1940s. His "Second Avenue Waltzes" (1942) beautifully evokes the feeling of being an immigrant in America, living in Hell's Kitchen, and perhaps the breeze lifting the curtain in a kitchen window..

I have included the extremely informative notes on the composer and his music from the New World disc.

Enjoy everyone



Marcelo Lasta said...

Interesantes e inéditos opus,gracias Tzadik!! tu amigo(descendiente de Rovereto y amigo ,un tío mio pintor Lasta, del mismo Zandonai,el composer de operas -donde Mozart compuso su Concierto p.2 pianos,pertenecia a Austria en esa época-Trento,Italia) argentino Doktor Tapirman,abrazo!!

Anonymous said...

Like this very much, totally new to this listener.

Tzadik said...

Anon thanks for commenting :) I do enjoy introducing people to new music and I'm happy I have succeeded with the Rieti, it is good stuff.


Tzadik said...

Hola Estimado Marcelo, estoy feliz te gusta el Reiti! Por lo tanto, su familia era originaria de Rovereto entonces? ¿Quién fue el primero en trasladarse a la Argentina? Su tío-te refieres Atillio Lasta? Ese es el único pintor con su apellido, que yo sepa. Y-usted también está relacionado con el compositor Zadonai ?? ¿Estoy leyendo todo esto correctamente?

Dr. T, usted se convierte en un personaje más fascinante cada día;-)

Todo lo mejor de la costa del este / Estados,

su TZ

Marcelo Lasta said...

Así es ,mis bisabuelos vinieron a´´italianizar´´las pampas,trabajando duro,en saladeros en cueros animales,Atilio,el cual conocí su casa en Rovereto en 1989,era tío abuelo mío,era un notable pintor,algo huraño,muy amigo del gran Zandonai,otro incasable.Los Lasta,con otras familias fundaron hacia fines de s.19 el pueblito Abasto o San Ponciano,he ahí el homenaje permanente de la FM San Ponciano,el cual hace casi una década,ad honorem,concurro a difundir bio-noticias desde fenecs hasta ballenas,y desde luego Musik para todos los oyentes de buena voluntad.Gracias por ViolinKonzert de Eröd,abrazo de Doc Tapirman,viejo amigo,old friend Tzadik!!

Tzadik said...

Escuchar Dr. T, creo que es hora de escribir una autobiografía! Muy fascinante ... y si usted necesita o quiere un editor-estoy allí ;-) -I bookmarked la emisora de radio que enumerado y mirará adelante a retirar su programa cuando está en! Estoy feliz de que te guste el disco Erod, me sorprendió con alegría por la calidad de la música, especialmente las Sonatas. Te deseo lo mejor, su amigo de la galaxia conocida como la música. -TZ

Marcelo Lasta said...

Será lindo lo de la biografía,en especial mis asuntos personales internos que he vivido,y desde luego aquella galaxia llamada Musik,más de una vez me salvó la vida,gracias por tus palabras,amigo Tzadik,lo cierto que escribo frases y aforismos,pensamientos,que suelo difundirlos por la radio,eso sí estaría bueno editar,tal vez,dentro de unos años.Un grato abrazo de Tapirman.

David said...

Please can you re-upload this? I would love to hear it, but the link is dead. Thank you very much.