I have to confess that Amédée Rasetti is a completely new name to me, but his music did turn out to be a very pleasant surprise. Although he published a large corpus of works and anthologies commencing in 1777, details about his life are scarce indeed with not even his place and date of birth being known with certainty. Amédée might have been born in Turin on April 7, 1759 but some historians attribute even 1754 as his year of birth. To cap it all there is even some doubt surrounding his surname as well. Might he have been called Razetti?
Due to his father's employment in Paris since 1760, the young Rasetti grew up there and later on studied with Clement, a renowned harpsichordist, composer and arranger, who is also as unknown as Rasetti. After his studies, Rasetti enjoyed an excellent reputation as a pianist and harpsichordist and in 1777 he began publishing his own works. In 1798 he married Victoire Degrenau and the couple had four children with Amédée dying of a liver ailment in 1777 aged just 40.
The three Trios, Op. 13 under review are compositions that combine a very unusual trio of instruments; piano, flute and bassoon. They were composed during the last year of his life and proved to be the most successful works. Full of breezy, joyous and infectious melodies, they are blueprints of the late classical era and even look forward to the strong romanticism that was just around the corner. These delightful compositions also display a strong accent in experimentation making them far above the 'galant' style they are usually associated with. Rasetti also seems to be trying to catch us unawares, as in many passages, surprises abound.
MD&G is to be highly commended for unearthing this exquisite music recorded in exemplary sound and presented in a highly artistic manner. Annotations are detailed and scholarly, while the interpretations of the young Trio Amédée (formed in 2000) although brisk and elegant, pay great attention to all the hidden details of these little gems.
Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech