BAM 2042
     mp3 sample  

the belair collection

Aldo Finzi was born in Milan on February 4, 1897 into an old Jewish family that had originally come from Mantua. The family had a traditional love for music and Finzi’s aunt was a celebrated soprano by the name of Giuseppina Finzi Magrini.  After completing his classical studies at the Liceo Parini in Milan, Finzi took a degree in law at the university in Pavia and simultaneously took his diploma in musical compositions as a private student at the Conservatoire of Santa Cecilia in Rome. Finzi soon gained success and celebrity among the young Italian composers. His works include lyrics, music “da camera,” a lyric opera, symphonic music and the dramatic work, Shylock (unfinished), which was inspired by the anti-Jewish persecutions. In 1931, Finzi’s published works listed in Ricordi’s catalogue included: Il Chiostro (The Cloister) for female voices and orchestra, the symphonic poems, Cirano de Bergerac, and Inni alla notte (Hymns to the night), a sonata for violin and piano, a quartet for strings, various lyrics like Barque d’or and a comic opera, La Serenata al Vento, which is based on a libretto written by Veneziani. His most important works include a symphonic poem, L’infinito, written in 1933, Interludio, written in 1936/37, and the symphonic poem, Nunquam, Sinfonia Romana, of 1937.

In 1937 the Scala Theatre announced a competition for a new opera to be performed during the following season. Aldo Finzi entered the competition with his work, La Serenata al Vento. Riccardo Pick-Mangiagalli, an older colleague to Finzi and a member of the jury, informally advised Finzi ahead of the official announcement that he had won the competition.  However, the official letter, expected in the spring of 1938, never arrived. The reason given was that none of the works entered were considered worthy of being performed. Finzi realized that the judgement made in his favour had been annulled by the intervention of the government and that he had been victim of the anti-Semitic law at the time. During the Nazi occupation that followed, Finzi went into hiding, working anonymously or under an assumed name. For example, Finzi’s rhythmic translation to Italian of Béatitudes by Franck, is published under another name. In 1944 he wrote, under his own name, Preludio e fuga per Organo (Prelude and fugue for organ) and to express gratefulness to God for having brought him and his son unscathed through the war, he wrote a Salmo per coro e orchestra (Psalm for chorus and orchestra) in 1944-45.

Aldo Finzi informed his son Bruno that the Psalm was dedicated to the Conservatory of Tel Aviv. The stress of having to escape from one place to another and his imprisonment - miraculously avoiding the mass deportations and house searching - altogether undermined his health and he died of a heart attack on February 7, 1945. Following Finzi’s death, his music lay undiscovered until recently. Only now performers and scholars have access to his output, a totally unique corpus in comparison to the Italian music of the period and only now can his heirs actually realise Finzi’s last wish, whispered to his beloved relatives on his deathbed “Let my music be performed”.

Coming from a similar background, Aldo Finzi and Nino Rota were both born in Milan at fourteen years’ distance, in musical families, where music was practiced at the highest level (Finzi’s aunt, Giuseppina Finzi Magrini, the famous soprano), while Rota’s maternal grandfather was the composer Giovanni Rinaldi); their studies too were similar, with a Composition Diploma at Santa Cecilia in Rome and a University degree, Law for Finzi and Literature for Rota. Both had an extremely personal and lively melodic vein, and very soon began a brilliant career as composers. Their lives and destinies, though, were to be vastly different.

Aldo Finzi did not write much for solo piano, though he very often with masterly skill employed it in chamber music and in the orchestra: apart from the lovely Pavana and the powerful Toccata, that have already been recorded by Bel Air Music (Pavana and Toccata), all other piano works by Finzi are presented in this CD.  In the two Valzer Lenti, sweet meditative moments mingle with the strong chromatic passages that are so typical of Finzi’s chamber and orchestral writing; Tempo di Marcia, light and simple, is certainly no funeral or military march - but is also no wedding march – and could perhaps be a children’s parade, joyful and melancholy at the same time; Tempo di Foxtrot pays a light-hearted, easygoing homage to George Gershwin. These pieces come as autographs, and have never been published; they are not dated, but were presumably composed after the racial laws had been promulgated.  Prior to them, but unpublished as well, are the Pastoralina for violin and piano and the Piccola Berceuse that used to lull to sleep one of the composer’s children. Originally for cello and piano, this last one is recorded here in the alto version by G. Pianezzola.

Preludio e fuga per Organo is one of the last compositions of Aldo Finzi, written in 1944 while he lived in Turin, hidden and under a false name, but managed none the less to go fairly often to compose on the organ of the Turin Conservatory that can still be seen in the Concert Hall.

Nino Rota (1911-1979), after obtaining his Diploma in Rome, studied for two years at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia under Fritz Reiner, the teacher also of Leonard Bernstein.  Back in Italy, he started composing film music in 1944, and his first soundtrack was for Zazà by Renato Castellani.  Later that year he met Federico Fellini and began with him a lifelong friendship and collaboration.  Rota was first teacher and then, until his death, Director at the Conservatory Piccinni in Bari; his activity as a composer was not limited to the cinema, and his operas have been staged in the whole world. He died shortly after concluding the recording of his last soundtrack for Fellini, Prova d’orchestra (Rehearsal).

The Sonata and the Intermezzo for alto and piano both bear a dedication to the Italian violist Piero Farulli and were published by Ricordi in 1945; it is easy to presume that they were composed in the last period of the Second World War, more or less contemporary with Aldo Finzi’s piano dances. The Sonata that Rota published also in a second version for clarinet and piano, which he dedicated to Giuseppe Garbarino, though complex and technically exacting, has simple, flowing themes that easily captures the listener’s attention.  The Intermezzo begins and ends with ample lyrical sections, but in the middle part we can find many, extremely brilliant and demanding passages, that often expand tonality to its limits and even beyond, returning  then to it rather abruptly.

Fausto Caporali took his diploma in Organ and Organ Composition in 1981 at the "G. Verdi" Conservatory in Milan where he studied with Gianfranco Spinelli, and in 1983 he attained the title of Maestro of Gregorian Chant at the Pontificio Istituto Ambrosiano di Musica Sacra. He then received his post-graduate education participating in courses with H.Vogel (Baroque organ music of N. Germany), A. Isoir (French music of the Baroque period), E. Kooiman (French music), L. Rogg (Bach, Mozart, improvisation), M. C. Alain (Bach, Alain), D. Roth (modern French symphonizing) and G. Parodi (German Romanticism). He studied privately with D. Roth in Paris and attended N. Hakim's summer courses on improvisation in Haarlem. He was awarded second at the Competition of Organ Improvisation of Biarritz in 1995 and1997 and was a semi-finalist at the International Competition of Improvisation in Haarlem in 1996. He has recorded for Prominence ("Il grande organo del Santuario di Caravaggio" 1996) and Syrius ("Toccatas" 2002, "Grand Etudes de Concert" 2004).

Simonetta Heger, born in Milan in 1957, studied piano at the Conservatories of Milan and Genoa with Michele Campanella, Sergio Lattes, Elda Beretta, and attended specialization courses held by Carlo Bruno, Vincenzo Vitale (piano technique), Alain Meunier and Hans Stalder (chamber music). After several years of career as piano concert player she took up the study of the Fortepiano and obtained in 1991 the Harpsichord diploma studying with Laura Alvini. Recently she has resumed her academic studies and in March 2007 she obtained with the highest marks the Special Degree in Harpsichord, Clavichord and Fortepiano at the Conservatorio of Turin (with professor Giorgio Tabacco). Her repertoire ranges from the seventeenth century to contemporary music, and she performs concerts both at the piano and at the harpsichord as soloist, soloist with orchestra and in baroque and chamber music ensembles. She has recorded for Quadrivium and Nuova Era, and for the Italian, Swiss and Spanish TV and radio broadcasting. Simonetta Heger teaches piano at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan. In 1996 Simonetta Heger and Giambattista Pianezzola made the first recording entirely devoted to music by Aldo Finzi.

Giambattista Pianezzola was born in Milan in 1959. After studying with Maestro Osvaldo Scilla he obtained his diploma as violinist at the Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi” of Turin in 1983.  In 2003 he obtained his diploma as viola player at the Conservatory “G. Cantelli” of Novara. While carrying on his studies, in 1978 he won first prize at the National Competition for the Performance of Music of Pescara and he began his activity as concert player with the chamber group “Nova Musicorum Arcadia”. In 1984 he won the competition for the post of “Concertino secondo violini” with the Pomeriggi Musicali of Milan and up to 1986 he was first of the second violins in the “Complesso d’Archi” (string ensemble) of the same institution. He has been a member of the ensemble “Concerto” of Milan and of the chamber orchestra of the same name conducted by Roberto Gini. From 1988 to 2000 he was first of the second violins of the Bergamo Permanent Orchestra “Gaetano Donizetti” and since 1991 he has been a member of the chamber orchestra “Il Quartettone” conducted by Carlo de Martini. He has recorded for Radio France, Radio Svizzera Italiana Rete 2, for RAI and for Amadeus Paragon, Bongiovanni, Tactus, Nova Era, Stradivarius, MAP and LC “Centaurus”.






Aldo Finzi
Preludio e fuga per organo
Valzer lenti  1 per pianoforte
Valzer lenti  2 per pianoforte
Pastoralina per violon e pianoforte
Tempo di foxtrot per pianoforte
Tempo di marcia per pianoforte
Picola berceuse per viola e pianoforte

Nino Rota
Intermezzo per viola e pianoforte
Sonata in Re per viola e pianoforte
Allegretto scorrevoie
Andante sustenuto
Allegro scorrevoie




Total playing time 58:10

download digital quality  MPEG3 sound sample
      MP3 sample from Preludio e fuga per organo, track no. 1
download digital quality
MP3 sample from Pastoralina per violino e pianoforte, track no. 4

Fausto Caporali, Organ
Simonetta Heger
, Piano Forte
Giambattista Pianezzola
, Violino e Viola

DDD Digital Recording
In Vercelli,Tempio Ebraico, (Synagogue), 24/25/26 June 2007 and in the Cathedral of Cremona 9/10/2007.

 BAM 2042 ® & © 2008 Bel Air Music Ltd.  All rights reserved. Made in EU.

  top of page home