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CD Review

Salvatore Sciarrino

Stories of Other Stories

Arrangements of Bach, Gesualdo and Domenico & Alessandro Scarlatti
  • J.S. Bach - Toccata e Fuga en ré mineur élaboration pour Flûte
  • Elaborazioni da Domenico Scarlatti pour Quatuor à cordes
  • Terribile e spaventosa storia del Principe di Venosa e della bella Maria - Musica per l'Opera dei Pupi
  • Due arie notturne dal campo - elaborazioni da Alessandro Scarlatti
Mario Caroli, flute
Alda Caiello, soprano
Carola Gai, voice
Jonathan Faralli, percussion
Quatuor Prometeo
Lost Cloud Saxophone Quartet
Zig-Zag Territoires ZZT040802
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Can a mouse swallow a dinosaur? With a little help from Salvatore Sciarrino and support by illustrator Anne Peultier, Mario Caroli devours the greatly popular Toccata and Fugue in D minor (which may be by J.S. Bach and may be a transcription from an original for violin solo) and blows it out to us from his flute with arresting effect. This is the introduction to a quirky and absolutely individual CD, one typical of Sciarrino and also of Zig-Zag Territoires, a firm which espouses my ideal that a CD should, above all, be unique – as does this innovative flautist, Mario Caroli, whose burgeoning career I have followed with great pleasure (he will be UK premièring a concerto by Kaija Saariaho with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall on 7 June).

The main item in this collection of transformations, metamorphoses, and elaborations by Sciarrino is music for a puppet opera The Dreadful and Terrible Story of the Prince of Venosa and the Lovely Maria, a re-writing of some Gesualdo madrigals for saxophones with a a popular singer etc, re-tracing how it was necessary to murder his wife in order to fulfil the 'code of honour' which her adultery demanded. For the rest, Sciarrino transmutes Scarlatti sonatas for string quartet, negating their usual plucked or hammered sound, and finishes with a couple of spare, haunting songs by Domenico's father Alessandro.

The notes are by Salvatore Sciarrino, who chose and ordered the pieces and produced the recording sessions, and this is certainly one to refresh your collection – recommended also for a Christmas quiz.

Copyright © 2005, Peter Grahame Woolf