Martucci: Music for String Quartet, Piano Trios, Piano Quintet

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Composer: Giuseppe Martucci
Artists: Maria Semeraro (piano), Quartetto Noferini (ensemble)
Painting: Susanna at her Bath by Francesco Hayez

Giuseppe Martucci (1856-1909) was in the vanguard of Italian composers working outside the dominant operatic tradition. Having received his first music lessons from his father, he entered the Royal College in Naples in 1868 and three years later produced his first major work, the Piano Quintet. The opus number of 45 indicates the industry with which the composer applied himself, not only in his youth but throughout his life, and it is a remarkably mature work for a 21-year-old, recognised by the award of a local but prestigious prize for composition.

Martucci’s two piano trios date from his late 20s, are cast on the grandest scale, in Schubertian dimensions with a truly Brahmsian breadth of line and spaciousness of argument. Like the Quintet they are cast in the traditional four movements, which open with a searching melody over a turbulent accompaniment, quickly ceding to the gentler development of lovely cantabile ideas: despite writing instrumentally, Martucci had a native gift for apparently natural, singing melodies. A Mendelssohnian lightness of texture lifts these trios from the occasionally heavy-handed rhetoric of the Piano Quintet. One may also hear the composer’s Neapolitan background, especially in the rustic Scherzos with their echoes of local folk music and musicians.

Tracklist

00:00:00 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Trio No. 1 in C Major, Op. 59: I. Allegro giusto
00:13:41 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Trio No. 1 in C Major, Op. 59: II. Scherzo
00:21:31 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Trio No. 1 in C Major, Op. 59: III. Andante con moto
00:31:31 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Trio No. 1 in C Major, Op. 59: IV. Finale
00:39:19 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Quintet in C Major, Op. 45: I. Allegro giusto
00:51:12 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Quintet in C Major, Op. 45: II. Andante con moto
01:03:40 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Quintet in C Major, Op. 45: III. Scherzo
01:10:46 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Quintet in C Major, Op. 45: IV. Finale
01:17:43 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 62: I. Allegro
01:34:11 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 62: II. Scherzo
01:44:54 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 62: III. Adagio
01:57:48 Guiseppe Martucci: Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 62: IV. Finale
02:08:04 Guiseppe Martucci: Momento musicale in B-Flat Major
02:11:28 Guiseppe Martucci: Minuetto
02:16:47 Guiseppe Martucci: Three Pieces of G.F. Haendel Transcribed for String Quartet: I. Minuetto
02:18:46 Guiseppe Martucci: Three Pieces of G.F. Haendel Transcribed for String Quartet: II. Musetta
02:20:21 Guiseppe Martucci: Three Pieces of G.F. Haendel Transcribed for String Quartet: III. Gavotte

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