Noseda, National Symphony give glorious Casella rarity its DC premiere

Jun 03, 2019 301

BY: Charles T. Downey

Gianandrea Noseda introduced the National Symphony Orchestra to the music of Alfredo Casella back in 2015. Thursday evening the Italian conductor featured the Second Symphony on his second program in the Unexpected Italy festival, heard in honor of his home country’s Festa della Repubblica. This outsized work filled the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with sound.

Noseda based the concert around composers of the Generation of 1880, not only Italian nationalists Casella and Respighi but also Rachmaninoff, a composer working in a somewhat similar late romantic vein. The NSO gave its first-ever complete performance of Suite No. 2 of Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, the composer’s transcriptions of, really more improvements on, renaissance and baroque music.

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