13 May 2009

Più Dallapiccola

Tre poemi für Singstimme und Kammerorchester nach Texten von James Joyce, Michelangelo und Manuel Machado (1949)
I listened to this in a dreadful recording of a piano-vocal reduction by Duo Alterno; I was unable to get a hold of a score. The two outer movements, bell-like, serene, bookend a processional dark central monologue by the dead. As a whole, the work is strong with the second movement the strongest. This is the first of Dallapiccola's works to use a single row throughout and based on sketches it seems that he associated this row with his daughter - it is inscribed on a letter sent to her for her fourth birthday. With this in mind and given the deep association these poems have with death, we can read a poetic meaning within: Dallapiccola did use his rows as signifiers - the iconic use throughout his compositions bear this out - thus we can perhaps place the following on Dallapiccola: the passing of generations through birth and family is a sufficient response to the passing of generations through death.

Tre Episodi dal Balletto ‘Marsia’ für Klavier (1949)
Three sections from the piano arrangement of Marsia. If you like Marsia, you'll like this.

Job. Eine Sacra Rappresentazione nach dem Buch Hiob (1950)
I was able to play through this from a vocal score - there is a recording but it is really difficult to get a hold of. The work builds up to the great monologue of God, which Dallapiccola sets for chorus with a rumbling accompaniment in between phrases - together with this is a slower canon that uses parts of a chant. Before this big scene we have the open reveal of the twelve-tone row to the phrase - don't be afraid of man, be afraid of God and lo! when he comes ere blooming one need be afraid. The harmonic control is tight and the work as a whole is quite strong and worthy of far more performances than it gets. There is a small clip on YouTube which shows even more how strong this work is.

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