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Camillo De Nardis
Stefano Gatta, Michele Napoli
(c) Scomegna Edizioni Musicali
Partition A3+ (32 x 48 cm) et parties A4+ (24 x 32 cm)
Product Code
ES B1295.24
Enregistré sur le CD
Mp3 disponible sur
CAMILLO DE NARDIS (biographical sketch) Orsogna, 26 May 1857 - Naples, 5 August 1951

He studied at the Conservatory of Music “S. Pietro a Majella” of Naples with Giuseppe Correggio (harmony) and Nicola D'Arienzo (counterpoint, composition, fugue). Besides being a skilled conductor and composer, he was also a very renowned educator: he served as professor of harmony at the Conservatory of Naples; in 1885, professor of choral activities at the “Real Collegio Militare” (Royal Military College); in 1886, professor of harmony and counterpoint at the “Reale albergo dei poveri” (Royal Orphanage) of Naples; and in 1892, he taught at the conservatory of Palermo. In 1907, he went back to the Neapolitan Conservatory where, for over twenty years, he taught composition while functioning also as the vice director of the institution. He transferred his long-lasting teaching experience (it is believed that he has also been the teacher of Umberto Giordano and Franco Alfano) in his Course in Music Theory and Practice of Harmony.

His compositions, especially his chamber and symphonic works, were often inspired by the folk music of his homeland, the region of Abruzzo. The many transcriptions for wind band or orchestra of these compositions prove how successful they were. The main features of his compositional style were melodiousness, harmonic clarity, and fine instrumentation. Among his most relevant works the following are worthy of being remembered: the lyric operas Una notte fortunata, Stella, and Un bacio alla regina; the comic operas Un bagno freddo and Bì bà bù; symphonic music such as The Universal Judgment (symphonic poem) and the two suites Scene Abruzzesi, the first one published by Curci and the second by Ricordi (Milan). Of these last two works, until today, there existed only one transcription for large wind band by Raffaele Caravaglios. Of these transcriptions, that of the second suite was also published by Ricordi, while that of the first suite exists only in manuscript format.

Stefano Gatta and Michele Napoli based their new transcription for wind band on the original version for orchestra to preserve its agogic and sonorous quality and avoid the traditional timbre of early twentieth-century wind bands. We believe that this is a successful transcription with a great musicological value. Gatta and Napoli have realized an instrumentation that fully respects the classical aspects of De Nardis’s verismo: a style, that of the composer from Abruzzo, which is close to that of his contemporary opera composers such as Mascagni, Cilea, Giordano and Catalani. He was the only one among these composers to choose the symphonic writing as the means of expression more suitable to his creativity (at least until the emergence of Ottorino Respighi).

The two principal themes of the first movement (Adunata), an initial trumpet military call which develops in a two part counterpoint and a second pastoral and rhythmic theme, both demonstrate harmonic strength and expressive clarity that are coherent with the conventions of Italian verismo. Yet, the refined use of instrumental color (especially in the two middle sections, 2. Serenata and 3. Pastorale) recall sounds typical of Giacomo Puccini (especially those of the Trittico, or some excerpts of Tosca), which are more lyrical than impressionist. These are sections that are meant more to portray characters than to depict musical landscapes. In the fourth movement, “Saltarello e temporale” (with its Presto and Prestissimo finale), De Nardis’s interest in portraying landscape, which is typical of verismo and was already present in the first movement, reaches its highest point with the enthralling barn dance (the typical salterello from the region of Abruzzo) followed by the storm. This descriptive music is much more than mannerism or superficial depiction, as harmonic structure and form never lose coherence. As the violent storm ends, the driving dance returns with its alternating binary and ternary meters (2/4, 6/8), which progressively join in one movement by means of an efficient rhythmic acceleration and harmonic liquidation that lead to the powerful closing finale.

Suite n.1 from SCENE ABRUZZESI by Camillo De Nardis can certainly be considered one of the few examples of Italian symphonic music with a national character. This composition thus belongs to the trend established by other national schools, such as the more prolific Eastern European, Spanish or French schools, and fully deserves to be treated with equal dignity and equal artistic value.

Stefano Gatta

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    Hawkeye03 October 2017
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