Conductor Wayne Marshall
Luca Bizzarri, narrator
Giorgio Federico Ghedini
Concerto dell’albatro, for violin, cello, piano, reciting voice and orchestra
Le tombeau de Couperin
Ma mere l’Oye ballet
The Piedmontese composer Giorgio Federico Ghedini (1892-1965) remained for a long time in an isolated position. “He seemed severe and cerebral, while he was passionate, polemical and pungent,” said Goffredo Petrassi, who recognised Ghedini as a travelling companion from Architetture (1940), where his dry, “blunt, contrapuntal, very humoral” style found completion, developing the linguistic research that led to the atmospheric astonishment of his masterpiece, the Concerto dell’albatro (1945) for reciting voice (the encounter with the albatross of Hermann Melville’s Moby Dick), piano trio and a rarefied orchestra. Not only the love for the ancient masters but also the admiration for contemporaries Bartok, Hindemith and Stravinskij flowed into Ghedini’s timbral taste. “I think I insert and understand in the timbral “fact”, also the moral, ethical “fact”, which is the most important for me, even if it reveals itself in forms of bitter deformation of pessimism and a distrust from which my soul does not manage to get free”. Certainly, the timbral sensibility of Maurice Ravel (1875-1935) did not escape Ghedini when the French magician moved from the black and white of the keyboard to the colouristic kaleidoscope of the orchestra. This is what happened when Ravel orchestrated the five pieces for children for four hands piano inspired by the ancient fairy tales by Charles Perrault, Ma mère l’Oye (1912), turning them first into a ballet and then into a suite, or the six pieces that made up the Tombeau de Couperin (1917), a tribute to all the French music of the eighteenth century, which became an antique-style suite in four movements. Each piece was dedicated to a friend who had died in the trenches of the Great War, but in Ravel’s art they become a celebration of “pure, perfect, consoling forms: admirably intelligent music, rich in shaded secrets, clear, sometimes cheerful, ironic and popular” (F. Serpa).
Marshall (born 13 January 1961) is an English pianist, organist, and conductor. He is Chief Conductor of WDR Funkhausorchester in Cologne, Germany, and Organist and Associate Artist of the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. He became Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in 2007, and is a celebrated interpreter of George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and other 20th-century American composers. Marshall was the first conductor to direct the highly acclaimed debut concert of the Chineke! Orchestra – Europe’s first professional black and ethnic minority orchestra – at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.