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Pianist Massimiliano Damerini, Symphonic Orchestra of Rome, conductor Francesco La Vecchia. Giovanni Sgambati – CD Review, May 28th, 2024

Giovanni Sgambati - Concerto op. 15 in G minor for piano and orchestra.

Giovanni Sgambati, since his birth are 183 years old on May 28th, contributed to the revival of Italian orchestral creation in the second part of the 19th century. The favorite student of Franz Liszt, also admired by Richard Wagner, the composer born in Rome was one of those artists who tried to remove Italian music from the dominant era of the bel canto opera. An extremely virtuoso pianist, teacher and composer of romantic essence, Giovanni Sgambati created sacred music, symphonic scores, chamber music and a concerto for piano and orchestra. Influenced by Liszt's style, but also by the composers Johannes Brahms and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, this concerto, written in 1880, was actually the first concert for piano and orchestra composed against the classic manner in Italy. It is a widely difficult piece, dense in ideas and sound material, which is distinguished by inventiveness, an exuberant speech and rhythmic, melodic and harmonic complexity. The work is included on the album released on December 1st 2023, at the Naxos record label, which also includes the same composer's Sinfonia Festiva. The recordings took place during a concert at the Conciliazine Auditorium in Rome. Soloist - the late pianist Massimiliano Damerini, passed away just a few months after making these recordings. He was a musician with outstanding achievements, who collaborated over time with the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome, the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Spain and with many other famous ensembles. He has released dozens of albums with a consistent repertoire, from classical to contemporary creations, his last disc being recorded with the Symphonic Orchestra of Rome, music director Francesco la Vecchia. The CD is part of a collection dedicated by this ensemble to the Giovanni Sgambati's creation.

Larisa Clempuș