Composer, clarinetist, and pianist Paolo Marchettini releases his debut recording of works for orchestra that are characteristic of his lush, lyrical style. Born in Rome and currently living in New York City, Marchettini draws inspiration from Verdi, Frescobaldi, Morricone, and sets texts by Emily Dickinson in this collection of recorded performances by the Orchestra della Toscana, the Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta, and the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Orchestra.
|Orchestra della Toscana, Francesco Lanzillotta, conductor||15:22|
The Months have ends
|Alda Caiello, soprano, Orchestra della Toscana, Carlo Rizzari, conductor|
|02||I. Wild nights|
I. Wild nights
|03||II. After great pain|
II. After great pain
|04||III. A train|
III. A train
|05||IV. I shall keep singing!|
IV. I shall keep singing!
|06||V. The Months have ends|
V. The Months have ends
|MSM Symphony Orchestra, David Gilbert, conductor||9:22|
|Paolo Marchettini, clarinet, MSM Chamber Orchestra, Kyle Ritenauer, conductor|
|10||III. (homage to Frescobaldi)|
III. (homage to Frescobaldi)
|13||VI. (cadenza) - VII.|
VI. (cadenza) - VII.
|Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta, Gabriele Bonolis, conductor||13:28|
Paolo Marchettini’s music is full of character, lyricism, and pathos. This release, his debut, features his works for orchestra that encapsulate his colorful orchestration and his dramatically expressive sensibility, grounded intuitively in the Italian musical tradition. Marchettini himself is featured as the soloist in his clarinet Concertino, while the five movement title work sets poems by Emily Dickinson with soprano Alda Caiello.
Mercy, the opening track, begins with an imploring figure, an invitation to “enter a deeper dimension,” as Marchettini describes in a written interview with composer Nils Vigeland in the liner notes. There is a subterranean foreboding in these opening two minutes, a hint of potential energy being stored up before its release. The orchestra shimmers with tactile, velvety instrumental colors and Marchettini teases the listener with small bits of emphatic material surrounded by sighing figures echoing the opening. A gently galloping figure signals the more active middle section, as the winds and brass punctuate with splashes of sound. The rhythm intensifies around figures that are passed through the orchestra, culminating in a circus-like passage evocative of the expressive complexity one finds in ensemble scenes in a Fellini film. Mercy’s third section explores more chordal movement in the strings, with a poignant violin solo floating over the top of rich harmonies. One final climactic arrival leads into a reprise of the haunting character of the opening, or as Marchettini describes it, “a reunification: it is a return to the origin, the roots.”Read More
Raucous brass fanfares and unhinged vocal melismas characterize “Wild nights,” the energetic opening song of the five movement Emily Dickinson setting, The Months have ends. “After great pain” captures the disembodied feeling that overtakes the grieving, when one has to proceed with one’s life amidst emotional trauma. Impetuous bird-song figures are heard flitting through several of the instrumental parts in “A train.” “I shall keep singing!” is celebratory and flowing; here, the vocal part is bird-like, swooping in the high register amongst darting, soloistic fragments that pop out of the orchestral texture. The cycle ends with the title poem, a reflection on time, mortality, and human nature.
Inspired by Verdi’s Otello, Notturno is shrouded in mystery from its first bars, poised with the apprehension of a “dense night.” Marchettini explores a tolling figure that outlines a descending perfect fourth with the half-steps surrounding it and a subsequent leap up a perfect fifth. The mixture of closely spaced chromaticism with open intervals intensifies the haunting quality of the passage. Pulsing chords lead into a brief passage of angular lines, before a halo of tremolo string voicings accompanies a childlike melody on glockenspiel. The climax of the work emerges like a wave, with rumbling brass sonorities and swirling chords in the strings. An uneasy resolution is found briefly in the coda, as lush chords are played over a pedal point between gentle gong strokes.
The clarinet Concertino is in seven movements, each different in character and instrumentation, but all unified by the role the soloist plays as a searching protagonist. The solo line often leads the texture into more intense territory, shadowed by instruments in the orchestra who echo arrival pitches in the clarinet line directly afterward. Following the patiently developing opening movement, pointed rhythms in a fast triple meter frame the second movement, highlighted by deft passagework and trills in the solo and string parts. The third movement is a brief and delicate homage to Girolamo Frescobaldi, the great Italian baroque composer; fragile lines intertwine between the ensemble and solo clarinet. In the fourth movement, the rhythmic contour of the solo line is supported with accents in the ensemble, while in the fifth, mysterious chords in the pitched percussion provide a backdrop for freely lyrical clarinet writing, before we hear virtuosic descending septuplets played in rhythmic unison. A brief cadenza features those same septuplets and darting leaps from a fundamental trill. The orchestra re-emerges gently from a sustained clarinet note and unfolds into dialogues between soloist and orchestra, before the piece closes reflectively, the antithesis of the standard heroic concerto ending.
Like Mercy, the final work on the recording, Aere perEnnius, is in three large parts, first calm and wistful, then rhythmic and dance-like, and finally rhapsodically nostalgic. The work is dedicated to the great Italian film composer Ennio Morricone; a cinematic approach to painting a scene is apparent throughout, as splashes of orchestral color enliven the score and characterize its expressive shifts. The overall shape of the album mirrors Marchettini’s favored approach to structure within individual pieces — we are invited into a listening experience, almost as a ritual, guided through a journey of intensified affects, before we are ushered back to a zone of stability, albeit transformed. Marchettini’s instinct for shape and pacing seeps into every work on this recording, and provides the frame for the searching lyricism that is omnipresent on a moment to moment level in his music.
– Dan Lippel
Executive Producer: Paolo Marchettini
Mastering engineer: Ryan Streber, Oktaven Audio, oktavenaudio.com
Post-production advisor: Daniel Lippel
Design and Layout: Marc Wolf, marcjwolf.com
Cover & back cover art: Marco Gallotta
Mercy was recorded live at the Teatro Verdi in Florence, Italy on 10/19/2012
The Months have ends was recorded live at the Teatro Verdi in Florence, Italy on 3/27/2014
Notturno and Concertino were recorded live at the Manhattan School of Music on 4/5/2013 and 10/17/2011 respectively, by MSM’s Myers Recording Studio
Aere perEnnius was recorded live at the Teatro Palladium in Rome, Italy on 11/16/2018
VI. “Cadenza” from Concertino recorded at Oktaven Audio, 2/14/2020, Ryan Streber, engineer
Composer, clarinetist, and pianist, Paolo Marchettini is a native of Rome, Italy. With a wide catalogue of works including orchestral, choral, vocal and chamber music, his music has been commissioned and performed by an array of international festivals including the Biennale di Venezia (Venice), PlayIt! Festival (Florence), Festival Berio (Rome), Nuova Consonanza (Rome), Villecroze (France), Baki Contempo Festivali (Azerbaijan) and others.
In 2005 he was a prizewinner in the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition for his Violin Concerto, while his piece Mercy for orchestra won the 2012 PlayIt! Festival prize as best symphonic piece of the year. His music has been performed by orchestras and ensembles such as the Orchestra Regionale Toscana, Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, the Sofia Radio Symphony Orchestra, Algoritmo Ensemble, and Freon Ensemble, and broadcasted by Vatican Radio, Rai Radiotre, and Swiss Radio.
As an active and accomplished clarinetist, he has performed as soloist with orchestras in both Europe and the United States, and collaborated directly with many distinguished composers including Goffredo Petrassi, Luciano Berio, Salvatore Sciarrino, Ennio Morricone, and Sylvano Bussotti.
Marchettini holds a doctorate in composition from the Manhattan School of Music. He studied composition, choral music, choral conducting, and clarinet at the Conservatorio and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in his native Rome, and graduated with honors from Tor Vergata University in Rome with a degree in Arts, Music and Show Disciplines. His teachers included Ivan Vandor, Azio Corghi, Claudio Dall’Albero, and Richard Danielpour. He served as Assistant Professor of Composition at the Berklee College of Music (Boston), and he currently teaches in the Theory Department at the Manhattan School of Music (New York).
Nobody doubts that we live in tumultuous times these days. How can I keep on writing about music when the world seems bound for hell in a handbasket? We need music now as much as ever, I would answer. It is what can heal us and allow us to go forward again. And so I keep on.
Today I am enjoying another new one and another new artist to me, a composer by the name of Paulo Marchettini. There is a worthwhile disk devoted to his orchestral works just coming out. It is named after one of the pieces, The Months Have Ends (New Focus Recordings FCR280).
The five works presented in this debut album have a great deal of gravitas, a seriousness of purpose and a dramatic richness that thrives within a balanced poise of expression.
Marchettini hails from Rome and currently makes his home in Manhattan. Interestingly he cites as influences Verdi, Frescobaldi and Morricone. The influences happily are realized obliquely in that the music itself stands on its own as a lyrical-tonal Modern Expressionism of an original sort.
A high point is the six movement The Months Have Ends, an alternately reflective and brashly animated score for soprano Alda Caiello and Orchestra della Toscana. It is based on Emily Dickinson.
The seven movement Concertino features the composer on clarinet and the MSM Chamber Orchestra for a nicely wrought, wiry romp that sings out boldly and features beautifully intertwined clarinet-orchestral interactions.
Notturno is alternatingly a deeply mysterious and agitated descriptive work that shows us an eloquence that is far from the ordinary today.
The entire program is noteworthy and well performed.
— Grego Edwards, 1.08.2021