GIOVANNI SOLLIMA (b.1962): Africa, Sonnets et rondeaux I-VI, Zobeide, from Viaggio in Italia: Federico II, L’isola Ferdinandea, Cretto and L’ortolano.
Catalogue Number: 04T074
Description: Cellist-composer Sollima's music has something in common with the Pop Art movement of the 1950s et seq., in the Warhol/Lichtenstein sense. He borrows liberally from popular culture, and the brightly colored surface images are attractive enough in their own right to please the senses, and deeper meanings can be contemplated later. Four movements from the composer's musical travelogue of Italy are included here, placing early music and folksong in a post-minimalist context. The Sonnets et Rondeaux each consist of a slow and a fast section, and here Sollima borrows from Celtic folk music and Middle-Eastern modes (not so very far from Byzantine-Arabic southern Italy after all) in a lively and appealing suite. Africa receives its world premiere recording here; a relatively early work (1994), its quartet writing is more traditionally classical-romantic than the recent pieces, its counterpoint more involved and its minimalism more obsessively repetitive and less leavened by the pop-folk inflections of later works. It is recognizably from the same pen, though, and equally approachable and tonal. With the composer's blessing, the quartet exercise some (limited) degree of improvisatory license here and there, so there are differences from previous recordings, where such exist. Alkemia Quartet.