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Leone SINIGAGLIA (1868-1944)
Violin Sonata in G major, Op.44 (1936) [28:47]
Le Baruffe Chiozzotte, Op.32: Overture, arr. four-hands (1907) [7:19]
Two Klavierstücke, Op.24 [11:58]
Fogli d’album, for piano Op.7 [6:39]
Staccato-Etude, for piano, Op.11 [2:44]
Danza Piemontese, for violin and piano Op.31 No.1 (c. 1902) [8:20]
Alessandra Génot (violin)
Massimiliano Génot (piano)
Carlo Negro (piano) - Le Baruffe Chiozzotte
rec. September 2009, Chiesa della Beata Vergine del Colletto, Pinerolo, Italy
BRILLIANT 95239 [65:46]

Sinigaglia’s Violin Sonata in G major was ignored for many years but then had the good fortune to be recorded twice almost simultaneously in 2009. In September of that year the team of Alessandra and Massimiliano Génot taped it in Pinerolo, the subject of this review, and in November Solomia Soroka and Philip Silver recorded it at Gosham College, Indiana for Toccata (review). Both were delayed in receiving commercial release but it was the latter that came first, whereas this earlier performance is only now seeing the light of day.

As I wrote in that Toccata review the 1936 Violin Sonata was Sinigaglia’s last large-scale work – he was to die eight years later in Turin in 1944 whilst being arrested by the Nazis; Sinigaglia was Jewish. Bell peals and songful lyricism fuse with moments of gently pensive unease in broadly sonata form in the first movement. Maybe some of the passagework sounds a touch sequential but that is the only demerit, and that’s not a failing one could level at the ripe romanticism of the central slow movement. Here refined nostalgia is predicated on German models but is no less fresh for all that. The uplifting finale, albeit with a contrapuntal element – canonic imitation too – leads on to some strenuous passages amidst the elegant fluidity of the writing. The Toccata pair take a great deal more time over the central movement and are better recorded than the Brilliant duo who, taped in a church acoustic, have to contend with a diffuse sound that tends to swallow up the violin. Neither pairing, in truth, is quite able to penetrate to the heart of the music – both pianists seem to me to be abler than their string playing partners – but the Toccata performance is the more recommendable.

The remainder of the programme is in lighter vein but valuably contains a sequence of all-premiere recordings according to the track listing. The four-hands version of Le Baruffe Chiozzotte is heard in the 1907 arrangement by Ernesto Consolo and is both genial and witty – the pianist is here joined by Carlo Negro for an amiable performance. The Klavierstücke, Op.24 cleave somewhat to Brahmsian syntax, the Humoreske (No.2) notable for its elegant and eloquent B section. The Fogli d’album, five little pieces for solo piano, has abundant salon charm and hints of gentle Madrigalian allusions, whereas the Staccato-Etude, dedicated to Consolo, has wit as well as making technical demands on the performer, well met here. Finally, there’s the world première of the version for violin and piano of Danza Piemontese which is appropriately folksy though once again the too-distant violin spectrum limits optimum enjoyment.

The world première recordings are, as noted, valuable for those who want to get to grips with elusive recordings of the composer, though the main work is better served elsewhere.

Jonathan Woolf



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