The music on this disc comes from Rome in the middle seventeenth century, and it is seemingly, to use a word that recurs several times in the dense but informative booklet, paradoxical. Domenico Mazzocchi (1592-1665) was a composer who worked at the feet of popes. Yet the music here is stylistically of the sensuous seconda prattica, the operatic art of Monteverdi and his cohorts in the generation before. If the term "Counter Reformation" brings to mind music like Palestrina's, know that you get something very different here, something closer to the religious masterworks of Monteverdi's later career but on a more intimate scale.
The Dialoghi were composed between 1955 and 1957 and involve various instrumental groupings, from two pianos (Dialogo 2) and voice and two piano (Dialogo 3) to Concerto for Two Pianos (Dialogo 7) and Chamber Orchestra (Dialogo 1). The order of numbering does not exactly replicate the order of composition, which apparently followed a rising order of instrumental forces, from two pianos to large orchestra. The Dialogues are not all of concertante nature ……..
Exploring Dallapiccola’s orchestral works in excellent company
The new disc includes the first modern recording of Dialoghi (1960) – the most hermetic of all Dallapiccola’s works in its inwardness and glacial, though never inexpressive, harmonies, played with keen eloquence by Jean-Guihen Queyras. A satellite to the in-progress Ulisse, Three Questions with Two Answers (1963) fairly encapsulates the opera’s metaphysical concerns in its motivic richness and sense of grand vistas – whether of nature or humanity – aspiring towards the infinite.
Rophé obtains responsive playing from Turin’s RAI orchestra, with sound that brings out detail and atmosphere in equal measure. If the Chandos CD is an ideal introduction to Dallapiccola’s music, the Stradivarius disc is a necessary follow-up and can be strongly recommended.
Richard Whitehouse - Gramophone 11/2005 -