Review of Bruno Bettinelli Complete Works for Guitar by Davide Ficco, Naxos, 2011
Unfortunately, I say unfortunately, the Italian Maestro Davide Ficco loves to take some time to think long enough between a record and the other. Never mind, each one of his recordings is always worthy of interest and attention. In 2011 he returned with this CD for the prestigious Naxos record label, which in recent years seems to have reserved the role of presenting and imposing to the public a whole series of high-level contemporary guitar works and composers.
After the Carlo Mosso’s monography released in 2006 for the Italian Stradivarius label, in 2011 he came back with this full edition of the guitar music composed by Bruno Bettinelli. Born in Milan in 1913, Bettinelli studied at the Conservatory “G. Verdi”, where he was for years professor of composition, from whose class came out many young musicians known now in the international arena both as composers and as performers or musicologists. Not unimportant, this composer has devoted considerable attention to the classical guitar made several compositions of considerable value and interest. In a period from 1970 to 1994 were composed: Improvvisazione (1970), the Five Preludes (1971), the Four Pieces (1972), the Sonata Breve (1976), the Twelve Studies (1977), Come una Cadenza (1983), Notturno (1985) and the Mutazioni su Tre Temi Noti (1994), all recorded for this cd.
Bruno Bettinelli’s work comes directly from the search for a “pure” instrumental space, not the same melodramatic or excessively melodic pursued in Italy by the previous exceptional generation of composers that included: Casella, Malipiero, Ghedini and Petrassi, generating a rigorous and stringent writing, dry, rhythmically precise and well defined, but at the same time airy and chromatically intense, perfect for the chiaroscuro taht the guitar can interpret with measured elegance.
This cd is a rigorous monographic work that counts as many as 30 tracks for a total duration of almost 74 minutes: practically here there is a whole musical universe, the whole personal research lasted a life of a unique style, outside of any school or musical fashion, a very “Milanese” way, that talks about a Milan town that is still wrapped into the Navigli’s fog, showing a kind tenacity, a polite industriousness, a quiet modesty.
Davide Ficco has been able to approach with respect and sincerity this “forma mentis” with his guitar, recording a splendid job that I hope, relying on the international distribution that Naxos can count, can have a rapid and effective feedback. I would like also to highlight the exceptional price / quality ratio of this CD.