Fratta: Orchestral Music By Stravinsky
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Format: COMPACT DISC
Fratta, Gianna; Sinfonica Siciliana
Founded in 1951, the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana has been directed by charismatic maestros of international renown from the Romanian Sergiu Celibidache in the 60s to the Venezuelan Diego Matheuz and Duncan Ward in the present era. Now Gianna Fratta joins their ranks with a unique showcase of 20th-century orchestral masterpieces. Gianna Fratta opened the 2021-22 season of the OSS in Palermo with a concert featuring Martha Argerich as soloist in Schumann’s Piano Concerto; she has herself won acclaim as a pianist, and now conducts leading ensembles across Italy. That program concluded with an explosive account of the suite from Stravinsky’s Firebird ballet. Fratta likewise draws a full palette of orchestral color from the Sicilian orchestra in this studio account of the Rite of Spring, Stravinsky’s radical sequel to the Firebird. Completed in 1908, Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy makes such an instructive companion on disc that it is surprising to find the pairing is almost unique. Where Stravinsky uses jarring rhythmic dislocation and his command of an orchestra to paint tableaux in sound of a pagan rite, Scriabin places a no less quintessentially French-Russian harmonic palette in the service of sensual pleasure, building wave upon wave of melodic intensity to crash over the listener and ultimately overwhelm them. Both contrasting styles owe much to the innovations of Debussy, whose rhythmic suppleness in the evocation of wind and water would come to have a profound influence over 20th-century composers in the orchestral seascapes which punctuate his first opera, Peter Grimes. In the years after its premiere in 1945, Grimes established a place on the world’s lyric stages for British opera thanks to the universal power of its storytelling, not only through the ordinary characters at its heart, but through the translation of their complex feelings into surging orchestral textures.