Casella, Alfredo


Casella, Alfredo

Seconda Sinfonia in do minore op. 12

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Alfredo Casella

Seconda Sinfonia in do minore op. 12
(Second Symphony in C minor, 1908-10)

(b. Turin, 25 July 1883 – d. Rome, 5 March 1947)

I Lento, grave, solenne (p. 1) – Allegro energico (p. 2) – Quasi andante calmo (p. 10) – Allegro moderato assai (p. 12) – Lento (Tempo dell’Introduzione, p. 19) – Allegro energico (p. 21) – Allegro assai vivace (p. 29) – Allegro energico (p. 33) – Quasi andante calmo (p. 37) – Tempo del seconda tema (p. 39) – Lento (Tempo dell’Introduzione, p. 44) – Allegro mosso (p. 46) e stringendo progressivamente fino alla fine: Presto risoluto (p. 53)
II Allegro molto vivace (p. 54) – Coda (p. 85) – Trio: Maggiore. Più allegro (p. 87) – Scherzo da capo
III Adagio, quasi andante (p. 101)
IV Finale. Tempo di marcia ben risoluto, con fuoco (p. 143) – Feroce. Con energia selvaccia, brutale (p. 152) – Allegro vivo (p. 159) – Come una marcia funebre (p. 161) – Allegro risoluto (p. 165) – Tempo primo, un poco largamente (p. 182) – Feroce (p. 185) e stringendo inesorabilmente al Allegro molto vivace (p. 193) – Di nuovo a tempo di marcia funebre (p. 199) – Epilogo. Adagio mistico. Con tutta l’intensità di espressione possibile (p. 204) – Maestoso. Trionfale. Con tutta l’energia sino alla fine (p. 220)


In 1896, after his father’s death, Alfredo Casella followed he advice of Giuseppe Martucci and went to Paris – with his mother whom he owed his early music education – to study there. He stayed there until 1915. In the beginning, he studied piano with Louis Diémer and composition with Gabriel Fauré. At the time, Paris was the actual centre of the musical world, and Casella made friends with wonderful musicians such as Ravel, Enescu, Sarasate, Casals, Debussy, and Stravinsky. In August 1907, he finished his orchestration of Mily Balakirev’s ’Islamey’ that was received enthusiastically in Russia and studied diligently by his exact contemporary Igor Stravinsky. In that same year, Casella visited St. Petersburg and made the acquaintance of Balakirev, Lyapunov, Siloti, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Glasunov there. A year before he had already written his First Symphony.

For a long period in the 19th century Italian composers – under the dominance of opera – had not written any symphonic work of real significance, and in general almost no instrumental music of lasting importance. The first two composers who stood out as symphonists were Giovanni Sgambati and Giuseppe Martucci with two symphonies respectively. When Casella started composing his First Symphony in B minor Op. 5 in Paris in January 1906 this was still an extraordinary undertaking for an Italian composer. He finished the work on 24 July 1906, and soon it was published in print by Mathot in Paris but it was impossible to get it performed it there. Casella wrote about the First Symphony in his autobiography ’Segreti della Giara’ (Florence, 1941; English translation: ’Music in My Time’, Oklahoma, 1955) that the publication came ”’all too soon, because this is a very juvenile work which oscillates between a strong Russian influence and those of Brahms and Enescu. At the time, I thought I had written a masterpiece. I began to perceive the reality when I showed it to Toscanini the following winter in Turin. He pointed out to me, with polished but clear words, the defects of the composition.”

In early summer 1908, Casella started composing his Second Symphony. He wrote about it in his ’Segreti della Giara’ that ”I worked with great diligence on it. This score has remained unpublished. It is a work lasting about three-quarters of an hour, behind which arise imperiously the shadows of Mahler and Strauss and—less visibly—those of Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev. Curiously, the surrounding environment influenced me little, although I had lived in France for eleven years and had completed my training there. This was undoubtedly the result of my Italian nature, which had already become basically anti-impressionist and instinctively sought other paths than those followed by the better French music of the day. […]



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225 x 320 mm