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Santorsola: Music for Violin/Viola & Piano

Santorsola: Music for Violin/Viola & Piano

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Guido Santorsóla (1904–1994) began his musical studies at the age of five, taught by his father, a sculptor, trumpeter and double bassist who moved from Southern Italy to São Paulo, Brazil in 1909, with the rest of the family joining him the following year. He enrolled at the São Paulo Conservatory of Music, then travelled to Naples to hone his violin technique and later London, where he studied at the Trinity College of Music under Alfred Mistowsky. His eventual return to Brazil coincided with a visit from Pietro Mascagni. At a concert in the great composer’s honour Santorsóla, accompanied at the piano by Mascagni himself, performed his own compositions for violin and piano for the first time. Santórsola’s final compositional period began at the age of 58, in 1962. He devised a very personal 12-tone technique free from conventional rules, and not to be confused with Schoenberg’s. His language is rooted in the golden age of Florentine counterpoint through to Bach. The novel instrument used on this recording – the gran violino a 5 corde (great five-string violin) – originated from an idea by violinist Mauro Tortorelli, who commissioned the luthiers Vincenzo and Marco Corrado – based in Montegiordano, in southern Italy – to build a special instrument covering both the violin and viola registers by adding the viola’s low C string to the usual four of the violin. This ingenious solution allows the performer to switch between violin and viola repertoire on the same instrument. The Sonata for violin and piano, composed in São Paulo in 1928, undoubtedly belongs to Santórsola’s early compositional period. Divided into three movements – Con sofferenza, Andante espressivo, Deciso – it is based on classical sonata form but with typically post-romantic expressive, passionate themes, enriched with original South America-inspired harmonies. Saudade, a nostalgic piece for violin and piano dedicated to Santórsola’s mother, was composed in 1931. The violin has a binary rhythm in 2/2, while the piano plays groups of five notes in 10/8, the two overlapping to create a sort of atmosphere of unresolved suspense, evoking a feeling of pleasant melancholy in the listener. Choro No.2 for violin and piano, composed in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1952, is a bright and highly rhythmic piece in Brazilian style that belongs to Santórsola’s middle compositional period. The Danza brasileira and Canção triste, both composed in 1934, written in an ABA lieder form and scored for violin or viola and piano, also belong to the composer’s middle period. Valsa chorosa for piano, written in Montevideo in 1971, and therefore dating from Santórsola’s final compositional period, clearly recalls his first period in the nostalgic way it is written.

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    • Number of Discs: 1
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    • Label: Brilliant Classics
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