Natascia Gazzana: violin
Raffaella Gazzana: piano
Duo Gazzana's second album for ECM New Series unites works from the 20th and 21st centuries with striking narrative character and retrospective glance at music history. Composers from France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia and Ukraine present earlier musical forms - toccata, suite, canons, variations - in the light of new developmental techniques, thereby revealing similarities and relations across centuries, geographical boundaries and contrasting forms of expression.
Alfred Schnittke's “Suite in the Old Style” is indeed a playful if unconventional allusion to compositional style of the past. “Hommage à J.S.B.”, by the Ukrainian living composer Valentin Silvestrov, evokes variations on themes of the Leipzig master. Similarly Luigi Dallapiccola, in his divertissement “Tartiniana seconda”, responds with contrapuntal mastery to the music of the Baroque composer Giuseppe Tartini. William Walton's rarely heard “Toccata”, written when he had just turned 20 years old, virtually overflows with structural ideas related to the virtuosic demands of traditional toccata form. The cadenzas for both the violin and the piano call for quasi-improvisational skills that draw rhythmic impetus from jazz. Vitality and vehemence inform also Francis Poulenc's dramatic “Sonate”, here representing the evolution, on a structural and formal basis, of the simplest and earliest musical forms (toccata, suites, divertissement and variations) used in the compositions of this album. Written in 1942-43 it is dedicated to the memory of the Andalusian poet Federico García Lorca.
The album was recorded in the Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera in Lugano in June 2013 with Manfred Eicher producing.