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Sgambati: Symphony No. 2; Sinfonia Epitalamio

Sgambati: Symphony No. 2; Sinfonia Epitalamio

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Giovanni Sgambati, a composer admired by Wagner, was the man Busoni predicted would take Italian music ‘towards a bright new future’. Sgambati’s Symphony No. 2 is a compendium of Austro-Germanic devices whose mix of chromaticism and melodic invention is invigorating. Lost for decades, it was reconstructed by Rosalind Trübger whose performing edition is recorded here. Sinfonia epitalamio was commissioned to celebrate a royal wedding. Loosely programmatic, this beautiful work embraces the pastoral and celebratory framed in the form of a symphonic poem.


Giovanni Sgambati’s four-movement Second Symphony remained unpublished and was never performed in its entirety during the composer’s lifetime. Then, during the 20th century, the complete score was lost and the symphony was forgotten until Rosalind Trübger began reconstructing the score from the handwritten orchestral parts in 2003 and published the first edition in 2006.

It is an imaginative, varied work that begins with a romantic Andante sostenuto but becomes quite lively, light, and upbeat thereafter. I believe that this symphony could be played with even more vitality and power than it is heard here.

The Sinfonia epitalamio, about the same length and 38 minutes long, Sgambati’s last symphonic composition, was performed in Turin on September 12, 1888, on the occasion of the wedding of Duke Amedeo d’Aosta to Princess Letizia Bonaparte.

The first part, In Chiesa, is solemn and lyrical. The second part, In Giardino, describes a folk festival, followed by a nocturne, then the recapitulation and the dance of the children.

The third part, In Corte, begins with a neo-baroque minuetto, followed by a solemn elevator that concludes the composition pompously. The Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, under Francesco La Vecchia, offers an accurate interpretation of a work that I can admittedly also imagine being a bit more characteristic and exciting

-- Pizzicato (Remy Franck)

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Naxos Regular CD
    • UPC/Barcode: 747313268672
    • Item Number: 8572686