Trio Torrello, Une Flûte Enchantée
Valentina Londino, mezzosoprano
Tommaso Maria Maggiolini, flute
Nicolas Mottini, piano
Melody might be seen as a succession of sounds, with a harmonious mellifluence of their own, that we perceive above an interweaving of voices. The tracks on this album are a celebration of melody in its many forms, and are thus the outcome of different places and times.
The journey starts with Neapolitan folk music, bringing out the essence of Italian culture, taste and wit: here we have Me voglio fa ’na casa, a chamber-music piece by the famous composer of operas Gaetano Donizetti. Initially for voice and piano, it is recorded here in an original version with the addition of a flute.
Remaining in Italy during the same period, we pay tribute to the melodies of Vincenzo Bellini, a composer who filled the lyricism of his creations with gentleness. The three melodies in this collection (Il fervido desiderio – Dolente immagine – Vaga luna, che inargenti) illustrate the operatic tastes of his age but they do so in the more intimate context of chamber music.
The journey then continues towards the sounds of the French language: here the lead role is played by the flute, a favourite instrument in France during the age of Impressionism and the Belle Époque.
Based on the same enchanting poem by Victor Hugo (Viens! Une flûte invisible soupire…) both Camille Saint-Saëns and André Caplet compose a song in which voices, flute and piano converse with each other, showing how two different artistic sensibilities can convey the harmony of nature. Between these two melodies is Gabriel Fauré’s Fantaisie, Op.79 for flute and piano. Dedicated to the famous flautist Paul Taffanel, the Fantaisie was composed in 1898 as a morceau de concours for the Conservatoire de Paris.
Maurice Ravel’s La flûte enchantée, here in the chamber version with piano, comes from the symphonic poem Shéhérazade. The flute alternates its songs in languorous, sad, and joyful melodies, illustrating the lure of the exotic world of the Orient in early-twentieth-century French art.
The foray into French culture ends with the melancholy pastoral atmosphere of Pierre-Octave Ferroud’s Bergère Captive, the first of three pieces for solo flute that he composed in 1921 and 1922.
We are brought towards Switzerland by the sounds of German in the extract from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Die Obrigkeit ist Gottes Gabe (Cantata BWV 119), with its counterpoint themes and the typical equilibrium of Baroque music. Here we find the relatively unknown melodies of Volkmar Andreae, a Swiss composer and friend of Hermann Hesse who put to music the Vier Gedichte, Op. 23, conveying the poet’s impressions of his travels in Italy. Staying in Switzerland, but with a change of language, we have a tribute to Frank Martin, with Les Cadeaux, from his Trois chants de Noël: here we are in the grotto with the Baby Jesus, who ignores the precious gifts from the Three Kings and proffers his first smile to a poor shepherd boy.
A journey through the world of melody could not pass by the popular music of the last century, and a tribute is paid to the sublime Edith Piaf who, with her poignant notes, is still today one of the greatest icons of the chanson française.
Our journey comes to an end in the cradle of modern music: a cotton plantation. Summertime, one of the most popular of all jazz pieces, originally came from George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. A heart-wrenching lullaby that bears the musical hallmarks that would pave the way for the music of the twentieth century.