Duo Alterno - The Italian Contemporary Voice 3

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  Introduction to CD The Italian Contemporary Voice 3
Reviews on CD The Italian Contemporary Voice 3


CD Stradivarius (Milano, 2007) producted by Rive-Gauche Concerti with substain of Regione Piemonte and Fondazione CRT.

This is the third CD of the serie dedicated to the Italian vocal chamber repertoire in XXth century.

Interpreters: Duo Alterno (Tiziana Scandaletti soprano, Riccardo Piacentini piano).


Aldo Clementi
Due Poesie per voce femminile e pianoforte (1946)
II. Choses du soir
Testi di Rainer Maria Rilke e Victor Hugo.
Edizioni Suvini Zerboni

Alberto Colla
Due liriche da Rilke per soprano e pianoforte (2005)
dedicated to the Duo Alterno
I. Die Irren
II. Irre im Garten
Testi di Rainer Maria Rilke.
Edizioni Ricordi

Luca Lombardi
Ophelia-Fragmente per voce e pianoforte (1982)
I. Da Europa der Frau
II. Wildharrend /In der Furchtbaren Rüstung / Jahrtausende
Testi di H. Müller.
Edizioni Ricordi

Giacomo Manzoni
Du Dunkelheit per voce femminile e pianoforte (1998)
dedicated to the Duo Alterno
Testo di Rainer Maria Rilke. Edizioni Curci

Carlo Pinelli
Se un giorno tu per voce femminile e pianoforte (2002) 
dedicated to the Duo Alterno
Testo di Heinrich Heine (trad. it. Carlo Pinelli).

Alessandro Solbiati
Da "Hölderlin Lieder": I per voce e pianoforte (2000)
dedicated to the Duo Alterno
Testo di Friedrich Hölderlin.
Edizioni Suvini Zerboni

Fabio Vacchi, Mignon (Über die Sehnsucht) per voce e pianoforte (1995)
Testo di Wolfgang Goethe.
Edizioni Ricordi

The Duo Alterno recount...

Theme: the new lied in Italy – chamber composers who look towards Mitteleuropa. After the two themes synthesised in the first and second CDs – 1) the bi-univocal correspondence of composers and poets in the twentieth century and 2) popular tradition, gesture and contamination –, the Duo Alterno has picked out another programme line that characterises the Italian vocal chamber music of the last few decades.

It would be banal, and indeed seriously reductive, to translate this line into a simple statement of fact resting on a precise historic and cultural path that leads us from the musical civilisation of Vienna and then of Germany to the more recent production, albeit following roads that are not always straight or universally accepted.

Better then to discover more intimate, secret recurrent elements, rendered accessible only through assiduous contact with the works and the composers. What are we referring to? To our direct experience, for which in ten years of research and of "crazy, desperate study" we have taken it upon ourselves to draw up some guidelines within a little-frequented repertoire with the assistance of a good number of composers, journalists and musicologists, sponsors, organisers, record producers...

This would not have been at all possible if we had not followed the following procedure inch by inch and without any striking exceptions: a) identify an objective for investigation, which at first vague and pre-conceptually (in)distinct has become progressively clear in its various tendencies (thus from an only vaguely defined Italian vocal chamber music style of the last hundred years on to the demarcation of circumscribed ambits that had previously seemed clear neither to us, nor, as far as we can determine, to the historiography of Italian vocal music itself); b) study the works identified pre-conceptually and affect a progressive selection through performance in public concerts and presentation in university master-classes; c) proceed to live recordings of provisional, functional nature, test benches for further selection, submitting the recordings not only to composers but also to musicologists and – why not? – to music lovers with a good ear; d) insist on several public performance of the same piece (we have performed some of these works no fewer than thirty times), giving the lie to the abominable myth of the first performance that frankly seems to us to be a Pilate-like hand-washing, towards both the composer and the performer(s), thinking that this will suffice to pay off the debt and which, set against the thousands of performances of the more tedious routine repertoire, ought to make us feel ashamed of our frequent ignorance of contemporary works; e) then, allowing the many different experiences that we have thus acquired to decant, define an "artistic" strategy for the recording, such that the works have not only been performed live several times and presented in master-classes, workshops, seminars etc. but will remain engraved for at least another two hundred years (so the experts say) on an optical disc whose preparation is followed step by step by the Duo Alterno, from the first stages of the recording to the more cryptic, delicate phases of montage, an operation that we see as a decisive extension of the performance translation, during which phonic skills must become one with composing skills (how many sound engineers know how to do this?).

It is within these five steps that the direct experience comes alive, so very alive, for us. And what do we discover? That, quite apart from historical-musicological considerations, our composers work on recurrent, minimal elements that make up what we see as the most precious key of access not only for the musician but also for those who partake of the music from an external point of observation which in many cases is a privileged position for deeper understanding.

And here are some recursive elements that the new Lied music has led us to reflect on, by-passing the surface of the more obvious Mitteleuropa link, which we will leave aside without taking away any of its evidence.

With most of the composers we have met "musically", attention was focused in a very dense handful of minutes. Metabolising these few instants, and a relatively long gestation for us, before and during the production of the CD, called for much longer times than the second CD (whose theme was "popular tradition, gesture and contamination") and, albeit with a smaller gap, longer than the first two. The reference to the aphoristic character of many of Webern’s (and others’) compositions is so obvious as not to be unconditionally true in the end, pointing rather towards the comparatively remote traditions of the German romantic Lied (from Schubert to Brahms) or late-romantic (from Wolf to Mahler and beyond, side-stepping Strauss, and on as far as Berg) and, in the specific instance of Carlo Pinelli to the Italian chamber music of Ghedini (significantly enough his is the only piece to use a text translated into Italian). Yet it is precisely this that we wish to underline: that so intensive a focus on some ten bars requires painstaking, we might almost say maniacal, attention made up of light and almost imperceptible "monitoring" such that from the performer who decodifies to the listener who receives, the quality of perception becomes as rarefied as possible. It is like listening when one is immersed in absorbed attention, breath held with no possible distractions and constantly concentrated, ready to grasp the slightest nuance. This is an aspect that undoubtedly moves from the extraordinary depth of significance in the texts, from the act of drawing them more or less deliberately into the bosom of a tradition which in the brief span of three-four minutes succeeds in distilling single masterpieces of perfection in which the text illuminates the music with rapid, dazzling flashes; but again, for the composer, the performer and, of course, for the listener too, it also means penetrating the precious qualities of the tiniest details, details that are apparently negligible, almost inaudible and which, burning in the instant, demand the utmost ability to pay attention. Not bad, we feel, in an acoustic "civilisation" persecuted by decibels!

The second repetitive element that we wish to point out, closely bound up with the first, is the constant work on what we choose to call "the breath of the voice". Today’s composer is not always seduced by this, whereas in all the pieces in this CD one can grasp the necessity, transmitted wholly to the performer and the end user, of breathing together with the voice, lending weight and meaning to elements which in other contexts would not be considered musical, rather indeed elements of distraction: sound qualities in pianissimo "on the breath", soft sighs, playing on sounds in the transitory attack and release of sound, consonant evidence etc. Not perhaps anything strange in the German Lied tradition, but in its application to the Italian tradition, which in one way or another harks back to belcanto seen as a chromosome background, this may allow for interesting chemical mixtures. As in Lombardi’s piece where Sprechgesang, shouts and sighs are woven with long pauses and variously hallucinatory moods, and the sound seems to be the rippling of a state that would otherwise be one of perennial silence.

Madness, hallucination... and, at the other end, extreme lucidity and awareness: this is the third recursive element that we have identified. From the above-mentioned piece to the "madmen" (Irren) alluded to in Colla’s work, there emerges here and there in the CD a theatricality confirmed by Mitteleuropean moods and corroborated by two formidable, impressive texts by Müller and Rilke. At the opposite extreme, though running along the same axis, the conscious lucidity of the pieces by Clementi (Rilke), Manzoni (Rilke again), Pinelli (Heine), Solbiati (Hölderlin) and Vacchi (Goethe). Especially in Manzoni and in the latter two authors the atmosphere is as tense as a violin string, crystalline and seductive, and the extremes of lucidity and madness seem to intersect wonderfully. More oriented towards "ancient flavours" are Clementi and Pinelli, the former for reasons linked to the date of composition (1949), the latter, as we have said, through his strong Ghedini faith that moulds the German text to the rounder sound of the Italian language.

There is one final recursive element that we find, which can also be detected in the two previous CDs, especially in the first – a point that both fascinates and frightens today’s performer, and, we would hope, the composer too: the correspondence between MIDI simulation and human interpretation, in other words (in line with a Leitmotiv that is significantly particularly beloved of Germanic culture) the relationship between machine and man. This music, so finely crafted, so attentive to the most hidden inflections, music that does not give itself over easily to anyone, seems to seek to challenge the precision of a clockwork mechanism. Yet there can be no clock capable of transmitting what Paul Klee, describing what an "embellished" line must be compared to a line drawn straight, expressed with these words: "Imagine the way a man moves accompanied by his dog who walks freely at his side: this in an embellished line."

This then is the music, all the more so if "lied-music", that the Duo Alterno wishes to deliver, or rather restore, wholly convinced that the comparison with the machine will be useful and stimulating as long as it does not seek to prevail, metaphorically speaking, over not only the instances of the intellect but also of our most faithful friend.

Interviews and biographies of the composers, prepared by Paolo Petazzi

In the catalogue of the works of Aldo Clementi (b. Catania 1925) the Due Poesie for female voice and piano (1946) are the first work, written in the years of his apprenticeship, a debut of great poetical delicacy, inevitably far from the dizzying counterpoint of the works of his mature yeas, from Variante A (1964) to Es (1980), to Carillon (1993) and many other pieces.

PP: The "Due Poesie" on texts by Rilke and Hugo are from 1946: you were 21 years old and were studying composition with Alfredo Sangiorgi, who had been a pupil of Schönberg’s. How do you see these pieces today?

CLEMENTI: I do not regret writing them. I was in love with certain solutions in the musical idiom and adopted them, I had my idols and this can be heard, differently in the two songs. In the work on the text by Rilke one can perceive my love of Berg and Schönberg – thanks to Sangiorgi I had read works by the two composers that were not easy to obtain in Italy. I worked on deformed harmonies, on an atonality in which one can recognise traces of the chords that are deformed. The choice of the text itself reflects a youthful love of mine: I read Rilke in Giaime Pintor’s translations, which seemed to me to be beautiful, along with the originals of course.

PP: The song on the Hugo text has different atmospheres

CLEMENTI: Indeed. There are no deformations in the harmonies, and one can recognise a French atmosphere; though I do not feel that this stands in the shade of any composer, neither Debussy nor Ravel."


In the already extensive catalogue of Alberto Colla’s work (b. Alessandria 1968) the opera based on Kafka’s Trial (1st Prize at the Verdi Competition in Parma, 2001) is not the only work to reveal his close familiarity with German culture (we should at least mention the monodrama Else, freely drawn on Fräulein Else by Schnitzler, 2004). How did the Due Liriche da Rilke (dated 19th and 24th December 2005), based on the Neue Gedichte come about?

COLLA: Rilke has always been one of my favourite writers, and the Due Liriche were composed at the request of the Duo Alterno for this CD, where almost all the texts are in German. These two poems held a special importance for me, at the start of a new phase, after I year in which I had slowed down my activity as a composer, a year of reflection that I had allowed myself to tackle aspects (some theoretical) of composition, extending my research into natural harmonies. I have also studied lesser-known composers like Roberto Lupi and his harmony of gravity, which I have re-elaborated and drawn to its final consequences, as far as using the chromatic total. I attained a sort of kaleidoscope, harmonies that are ever in movement and never resolved, that enable me to achieve writing that is complex yet understandable for the listener’s ears. The Due Liriche da Rilke are among the first things I wrote after this period of reflection, a first experiment (followed in a more systematic manner by the oratorio Resurrexi).

PP: The vision of madness in this Rilke calls for some consideration, also inasmuch as it relates to the expressive features of these Lieder.

COLLA: Mental illness is the most intimate but also the most indiscreet of all complaints: it is a rough tool that rips the delicate clothing of the human spirit, blurring but revealing. At times the concrete may reacquire its right sense in madness, just as what is right may be also be glimpsed in madness itself (Die Irren). And now, shut away in a former monastery, a reality of lucid insanity which has the courage – because it is unaware or, rather, dreadfully aware – to plumb the depths of a world unknown to the many, in a detail that would otherwise be invisible, that is sweet and tender like the good, silent grass, a detail to be caressed with care, a frail yet dense certainty (Irre im Garten). My music seeks to lull that aspect of the human spirit laid bare by the rough tool, those touches of fragility that from birth lie hidden deep within all of us, those weaknesses that we cannot shake off and that, inexorably, emerge in existential anguish, the grand suffering of human feeling.


Fundamental among the many interests of Luca Lombardi (b. Rome 1945) is his relationship with German culture that dates back to the time of his doctoral thesis on Hans Eisler. His works include Faust, un travestimento (on a text by Sanguineti, Basle 1991) and Prospero (after Shakespeare, Nuremberg 2006).

PP: The Ophelia-Fragmente (1982) set two section of Heiner Müller’s Hamletmaschine (1977) to music. On the page of dedications in the score he cites a verse by Rimbaud: "Ciel! Amour! Liberté! Quel rêve, ô pauvre Folle!"

LOMBARDI: Müller himself proposed the text to me and I composed the music for it in 1982 on a commission from the Musikbiennale in East Berlin. There were pressures for me to choose a different text, its critical violence, and its "negativity", were not appreciated (the text of the Hamletmaschine itself was never published in the DDR). I replied that it interested me precisely because it was so terrible. In Ophelia – who is transformed into Electra in the second fragment – Müller condenses the revolt of oppressed women throughout history. A feminist stance, though expressed – I would say today – in a wholly male way. Through the Rimbaud quotation I was expressing, in the early Eighties, my pessimism vis-à-vis history – pessimism which is, however, set off by the dedication "den trotzdem Hoffenden" (to those who hope notwithstanding): if you like the Gramsci-like pessimism of reason and the optimism of the will.

PP: The two Ophelia-Fragmente are written for voice and piano; but they are not like two Lieder, given the variety of vocal gestures and the importance of the use of Sprechgesang, or again the independence of some of the piano’s interventions. I feel they have a character like a meta-theatrical fragment...

LOMBARDI: In fact I had regarded this piece as a preparatory work for an opera on the complete text of the Hamletmaschine, a project which was not carried out.

PP: Heiner Müller loved the Ophelia-Fragmente and commented on your music: "I think it tells the same story as the text but in a wholly different manner," granting it an independence that emerges, for example, in the piano postlude towards the end.

LOMBARDI: It is entitled "Nachspiel in der bleiernen Zeit" (Epilogue in a leaden time) and contains two allusions, to the film by Margarete von Trotta Leaden Years and to Hölderlin when he writes, in the fragment of elegy to Landauer, that in the bleak landscape "it almost seems that we are in the lead age", a poem that has also been set by Eisler.


In the works of Giacomo Manzoni (b. Milan 1932) interest in the vocal qualities and the presence of German-language writers, from Rilke to Ingeborg Bachmann, seem to become more intense as of the years of Doktor Faustus (1985-88): the "scenes from the Thomas Mann novella" mark a decisive moment of synthesis and of opening up to new horizons in his research of the last few decades. After An die Musik for soprano and flute (1989) this is your second piece on a Rilke text (set here almost entirely: only one verse is omitted), and is, if I am not mistaken, the only one for voice and piano.

"I went back to Rilke recently in a piece requested by a Paris choir, where I used a text drawn from various poems of his in French. I liked the idea of an Italian composer using a text written in French by a Bohemian poet whose language was German. Du Dunkelheit was composed in November 1998 at the request of the publisher Edizioni Curci and of the Duo Alterno: I took advantage of the chance to write a piece for song and piano (I had only composed one such work in 1965, Spass on a text by Schwitters). The choice of the text is linked to the aspects of interiority that are constantly present in my works – how, indeed, could they be missing!"

Do you see writing for song and piano as problematic?

"The problem is, first of all, writing for the piano."

And the piano scoring here is very rarefied and linear (quite the opposite of Masse)

"The text did not lend itself to dense writing: the piano here creates a sort of punctuation for the voice, which has the main part. If I remember correctly I worked with notes taken from the letters of the text that can be linked to the notes both in the Guidoni and in the German notation systems."


Alessandro Solbiati (b. Busto Arsizio 1956), a pupil of Donatoni and Gorli, teaches at the Milan Conservatory. His numerous works include the X Elegia (the X of Rilke’s Duino Elegies), the oratorio Nel deserto (1986), Sinfonia (1998) and Sinfonia Seconda (2005).

PP: The text of the first of the two Hölderlin Lieder (2000) is only four lines long, written during the long years that Hölderlin spent shut away in the tower, perhaps in 1812. It obtains great amplification in your music, and is sung even in a naturalistic manner, fragmented and interwoven.

SOLBIATI: I love to work on short texts as my greatest interest is to penetrate into the words and to find my own path within them: the text then must be brief.

In this Hölderlin I have three centres of interest:

1 the image of the lines of life as roads and ridges

2 the reflection on "what we are here"

3 the image of the god that can complete existence

An episode corresponds to each idea offered by the text. In the first the image of the lines is linked to an intensely polyphonic progression, to a three-part counterpoint (where the song, fragmenting the words, suggests movement on different levels, and links the three parts). In the second, which involved me particularly, we read the indication "Dancing, with irony": I have used the idea of dance to evoke lightness and superficiality, and exploited the fact that the four German words are all monosyllabic. In repeating them the voice plays almost stutteringly, is broken up to suggest a likewise fractured existential condition. The piano part is stretched towards extreme registers leaving the voice alone in the central range. The third episode, "Assorto", is an anxious chorale, and after the last word, "Frieden", there is a piano conclusion with a melodic sequence scattered over various registers.


In the works of Fabio Vacchi (b. Bologna 1949) his first encounter with Austro-German culture, the opera Girotondo (Florence 1982) based on Schnitzler, is a moment of particular significance in his research. His catalogue includes, among other works, Luoghi immaginari (1987-1992), Il Viaggio (Bologna 1990), La station termale (Lyons 1993), Les Oiseaux de passage (Lyons 1998), Il letto della storia (Florence 2003), four quartets.

PP: The Mignon poems from Wilhelm Meister are among the most illustrious texts in the German Lied tradition, set by Schubert, Schumann, Wolf and others. How did you choose "Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt"?

VACCHI: I accepted the invitation to take part in a soirée with the figure of Mignon as its theme. Wilhelm Meister is one of the books I have fallen in love with, a book that every artist should know, a sort of breviary, a book of initiation: the proposal was thus one I was happy and ready to accept.

PP: If I remember correctly the verses of "Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt" are the first text in German that you set, in September 1995, before the Briefe Büchners (1996). Did this encounter with the German language have any particular effect on vocal style, as French did with the Station thermale?

VACCHI: I wouldn’t say so, it was more decisive for the expressive mood. Mignon belongs to the years of the Viaggio, of the Luoghi immaginari and of the Station thermale.

PP: Could Sehnsucht, Mignon’s longing, be compared to the melancholy of the Viaggio? The music seems to highlight the distance between the two first verses (which are not taken up again wholly at the end, leaving the conclusion in a state of suggestive suspension) and the central part of the poem.

VACCHI: The Viaggio, too, works on memory. The scoring of the central part, with its tighter melodic curves and frequent use of acciaccatura has a more markedly Mediterranean character: as in Viaggio it evokes in delicate filigree references to a "Mediterranean" vocal style.


(Translations by Timothy Alan Shaw)

Some reviews on CD Duo Alterno - The Italian Contemporary Voice in Italy 3

From “La Stampa” – January 6th 2008: Italian music for singing German poets

“A strong idea feeds the third CD that the Duo Alterno from Torino - Tiziana Scandaletti and Riccardo Piacentini [...] - dedicate to the ‘Italian contemporary voice’. The first one privileged the relation among poets and musicians in the XXth century, the second one the relations of the the art music with the popular tradition; the last one has as leading actors German poets and Italian composers. The poetries by Goethe, Heine, Rilke, Müller inspire the fantasy of masters such as Aldo Clementi and Giacomo Manzoni, successful artists like Luca Lombardi, Alessandro Solbiati, Fabio Vacchi, Alberto Colla. Se un giorno tu by Heine is the last work of the disappeared Carlo Pinelli. The different sensibilities are well picked by the interpreters, appreciated specialists in music chamber lyric. Vacchi confers to Goethe's Mignon an disquiet sensuality, Lombardi perfectly snatches the violence of Ophelia and Electra rewritten by Müller and invents a passionated piano part. Clementi frezees Rilke, Colla ignites him (and Scandaletti enkindles him) [...]” (Sandro Cappelletto)

From “il Venerdì di Repubblica” – November 30th 2007: The duo that gives voice (and piano) to the Italian XXth century

“[...] The three recent cds titled La voce contemporanea in Italia [The Italian contemporary voice] represent a beautiful anthology of many tendences retraceable in the XXth century and give a very precise idea of some our maximum composers. The first cd is historicly remarkable. It includes pieces by great and ‘grandissimi’ composers. A true discovery is Tre canti di primavera [Three Spring Songs] by Giacinto Scelsi [...] so sweet and animated from a dimension of celestial and ecstatic harmony [...] Masterworks of the following decade are Due liriche di Saffo [Two Saffo Lyrics] [...] by Goffredo Petrassi. Two marvellous songs in which the idea of a di una classical style that prescinds by the commonplace of the harmonic solution of any disagreement is formulated in a perspective that makes overlapping what is far and what is near [...] And also Dallapiccola's Tre poemi [Three Poems] are wonderful [...] free and structured at the same time, the dreamy Liriche written in 1951 by Domenico Guaccero [...] the strong pieces, written in the first Sixties, by Azio Corghi and Luigi Nono. By this one Mrs. Scandaletti perform Finale for solo voice from La fabbrica illuminata [The illuminate factory] in an acrobatic lightening of archaic trillings. And very interesting is Piacentini's piece on texts of Sandro Cappelletto, 2001, a kind of post-modern evocation of an hypothetical and humorous futurism. Important the other two cds too, where some cospicuouses things appear by Maderna, Morricone, Berio, Sciarrino, Clementi, Manzoni, Vacchi and others, in a musical landscape that does honor to the Italian art of XXth century.” (Claudio Strinati)

From “Biblio-net Musica Classica” – October 15th 2007

“[...] two very lucky series: Dulcimer, dedicated to the ancient music and Times future, dedicated to the contemporary music. For the last one, the Duo Alterno proposes the third volume of a journey intended to investigate the most interesting tendences of the the new Lieds in italy. The chosen approach is very functional, presenting various themes and relative composers that are clearly connected [...] now it is time of those composers that recuperate the German tradition [...] It concerns compositions that generally are characterized by a pretty intimate dimension, the brief duration of which (with the exception of the two pieces by Luca Lombardi titled Ophelia-Fragmente) makes closer the form of this ‘Lieder’ to the dimension typical of the aphorism. But this does not have to mislead, since, as the Duo writes in the beautiful booklet attached, more the piece is short, essential, and more it is important to work on the detail [...] it is a unic musical trip, that reveals, especially to the fans of music not particularly attracted by the contemporary artistic tendences, very particular musical atmospheres, made even more unic through the skillness of a Duo that is one of the most acclamed and active in this field. With Tiziana Scandaletti's charming, warm and theatrical (if it needs) voice, always perfectly calibrated on the phonetics of the German language, the presence of the clever Riccardo Piacentini is constantly in agreement, never invasive and even better sympathetic with the musical conversation thanks to a particular care and concentration on the sound that sometimes becomes crystalline, almost impalpable in the moments of more intimate concentration, but capable of great energy and technical determination in the not rare moments in which the piano stops the simple accompainment and becomes the protagonist [...] To the presentation of the CD is dedicated the same care that is used for the autors and their wroks and it is made even more precious by the brief but significative interviews of Paolo Petazzi, musicologist among the most attentive [...] An interesting and fascinating discovery, that we suggest also to get used in a genre that is surely not easy but that finds in this beautiful product a moment of captivating beginning.” (Gabriele Formenti)

From “Musica e Scuola” – September 15th 2007

“The Duo Alterno with this third CD voted to the Italian contemporary music con questo terzo CD dedicato alla musica contemporanea italiana earns a great applause [...] Due Poesie [Two Poetries] by Aldo Clementi, Due Liriche [Two Lyrichs] by Alberto Colla, Ophelia-Fragmente [Ophelia-Frames] by Luca Lombardi, Du Dunkelheit by Giacomo Manzoni, Se un giorno tu [If one day you] by Carlo Pinelli, Holderlin Lieder by Alessandro Solbiati, Mignon by Fabio Vacchi, will remain in the memory just because realized by the ‘bravissimi’ musicians that are able to make agreable listening to so arduous pages. Tiziana Scandaletti and Riccardo Piacentini, almost successful all over the world, are clever at bringing contemporary music with simplicity but above all musically and professionally. Excellent recording.” (Michele Gioiosa)

From “il Giornale della Musica” – September 2007: Voice and piano of today

“Third volume of a CD series that investigates non only the range of the vocal writing in Italy in the main composers of the second XXth century, but mostly its marriage with the piano (renovate, reconceived marriage, though always tied with the German Lieder tradition or with the precious manifacture of some French chansons francesi between XIXth and XXth centuries), this CD explores just this last aspect, through a poetic anthologythat is almost all in German language. It is surprising – though they are two ‘iuvenilia’ – the maturity with which Clementi takes and reformulates expressionist and dodecaphonic peculiarities in the first one of Due poesie [Two poetries ...] the harmonic skill of Colla seduces; the power of the expressive gesture of Lombardi shakes [...] the articulated but clean plot of the the first Hölderlin Lieder of Solbiati captures; the kaleidoscope in which the refined texture of Vacchi's Mignon charms. The various gems of this recording, after those ones included in the other volumes (the first, around Italian poets of the XXth century; the second, crossing the regions of the popular song, gestures and contaminations) would not appear such as this without the cleverness and passion of the performers, often dedicatee of many pieces, and living examples of the vitality and valorizzabilità of a new vocal repertoire with piano: Scandaletti valorizes a medium range particularly warm, and Piacentini an immersion and total mastery in the articulated dialogue with the voice.” (Alessandro Mastropietro)

From an official letter of the Secretary of Pontificium Consilium de Cultura, Padre Bernard Ardura – May 18th 2007

“[...] lucky crown of the trypthic devoted to the XXth century's vocal music by the Duo Alterno. One listens to the work without distractions, concentrated in catching the most thin nuances. In each interpretation the text lights the music with quick sparkling, so that the listener is induced to penetrate into the preciosity of minimun details, enriched by a constant care about the ‘breath of the voice’ [...]” (Bernard Ardura)


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