Sinigaglia: Music for Violin and Piano

In this video

Composers: Leone Sinigaglia
Artists: Alessandra Génot (violin), Massimiliano Génot (piano)

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There’s an aura of mystery that surrounds the music of Leone Sinigaglia, and yet in his time he was esteemed and supported by the finest musicians of the period, from Dvořák (with whom he studied in Bohemia, and who was responsible for nurturing his interest in folk music) to Nikisch, from Mahler to Furtwängler, from Toscanini to Kreisler. As pianist Massimiliano Génot explains in his liner notes, Sinigaglia was very much a victim of historical circumstance, his Viennese base causing him to suffer after Italy’s withdrawal from the Triple Alliance, following the outbreak of the First World War, and the subsequent demise of German culture; he also had to contend with rising anti-Semitism, not to mention the fact that Italian taste of the time was oriented towards opera and singing rather than instrumental and chamber music, his two preferred genres.

And yet Sinigaglia’s inspiration was profoundly lyrical, with a propensity for melodic writing – one of the best examples is his ‘swansong’, the second movement of the Violin Sonata Op.44, which features on this album. And Sinigaglia was not without his triumphs: his Piedmontese Dances Op.31 for orchestra, performed in 250 cities before 1922, rivalled in popularity the dances by Brahms and Dvořák; and he scored a great success with the Overture Le Baruffe Chiozzotte, whose brio, strength and comic vitality characterise the brilliant four-hand reduction found on this recording. Convinced of what he describes as ‘the manifest injustice of an historical judgement that has condemned Sinigaglia for too long to oblivion’, Massimiliano Génot has, together with his sister, violinist Alessandra, aimed to bring the composer’s cause to the attention of modern listeners, uniting Sinigaglia’s entire piano works and presenting them alongside other musical gems and transcriptions as detailed above. Both natives of Turin, the composer’s home town, the Génot duo’s affinity for the composer is naturally a special one, and they deliver confident, robust performances which aim to cast light on the composer’s ‘strong will to match expressive authenticity and formal perfection’. These will hopefully go some way towards furthering public appreciation for a composer who undoubtedly deserves to be better known.

00:00:00 Ouverture, le baruffe chiozzotte, Op. 32
00:07:25 Zwei Klavierstücke, Op. 24: I. Capriccio
00:14:30 Zwei Klavierstücke, Op. 24: II. Humoreske
00:19:37 Fogli d’album Op. 7: I. A un fiore di campo
00:21:17 Fogli d’album Op. 7: II. Madrigale rustic
00:22:51 Fogli d’album Op. 7: III. Nostalgia
00:24:13 Fogli d’album Op. 7: IV. Così va il mondo, bimba mia
00:25:11 Fogli d’album Op. 7: V. Scherzino
00:26:41 Staccato-étude, Op. 11
00:29:32 Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 44: I. Allegro moderato
00:39:32 Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 44: II. Adagio
00:48:44 Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 44: III. Allegro con spirit
00:57:24 31: I. Andantino mosso

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