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Alfredo Casella

Alfredo Casella

The Italian composer and pianist Alfredo Casella was born into a family of musicians. His grandfather, father and brothers were professional cellists and his mother was a pianist. She gave Alfredo his first music lessons. In 1896 he entered the Paris Conservatory to study piano and composition. During his stay in Paris he became acquainted with composers such as Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Igor Stravinsky.

During the First World War, Casella returned to Italy, where he started teaching at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He also gave performances as a pianist. Casella is amongst the most famous piano virtuosos. In 1930 he formed the Trio Italiano, along with cellist Arturo Bonucci and violinist Alberto Poltrionieri, which became well-known throughout Europe and America. His work as a pianist give rise to some of his best known compositions such as Nove Pezzi, A Notte Alta, and the Six Studies Op.70 However, Casella had his biggest success with his ballet La Giari, instead of piano music.

Casella was part of the so-called “generation of ‘80”, a group of Italian composers born around 1880, which concentrated on writing instrumental works, instead of operas The members of this generation were the dominant figures in Italian music after the death of Puccini in 1924.

Stylistically, Casella joined the Italian composers from the 17th and 18th centuries. He wrote mainly neoclassical works, and occasionally made use of the twelve-tone technique, aiming to combine style elements from the national past with those from the European present. Casella developed a personal style, rhythmically dance-like and motorial, and melodically inspired by south Italian folk music. His music is balanced and colorful.


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Soloists from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Soloists from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Members of the Viotta Ensemble / Peter Masseurs

Martijn Padding, André Jolivet, Theo Loevendie, Otto Ketting, Alfredo Casella
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