Conductor Joann Falletta on three musical rarities from her record collection
Weiner Hungarian Folkdance Suite
Philharmonia Orchestra/neeme Järvi Chandos CHAN6625
Weiner is hardly known at all, despite teaching some very famous people at the Liszt Academy in Hungary: János Starker, Fritz Reiner and Georg Solti.
His music is deeply Hungarian, and this piece has the most extraordinary selection of Hungarian dances, all filled with colour and vibrancy. Weiner has a way of creating a haunting, mysterious landscape in the midst of a fantasy world. He uses blazing virtuosic solos with clarinet and violin, which are completely captivating.
Pizzetti Rondò veneziano
BBC Scottish Orchestra/osmo Vänskä Hyperion CDA67084
Pizzetti is from the period in the early 1900s when Italians were looking back to the
17th and 18th century and rediscovering their orchestral roots. This piece is an impressionist portrait of Venice, and Pizzetti is a master of orchestral colour. Reflecting on the Baroque period in Venice, it has echoes of the past, featuring dances like the Sarabande and using the harpsichord in a very unique way. Toscanini championed Pizzetti and this piece, conducting its US premiere in 1930.
Schmidt ‘Intermezzo’ from Notre Dame
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra/yakov Kreizberg
Sometimes there are real jewels embedded in operas, particularly in the orchestral scores. The Intermezzo is a portrait of the gypsy Esmerelda, and her tragedy and compassion come through so well in this short piece. It’s absolutely glowing, yet tinged with sadness. You feel her yearning and melancholy with the use of Hungarian rubato. Although Schmidt was Austrian he was clearly very influenced by this style. He achieves with his string writing a kind of radiance that is very rare.