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The children of composers often have dedications bestowed upon them, and the pieces so dedicated are normally simple, appropriately childlike works.
Luigi Dallapiccola 's Quaderno musicale di Annalibera Annalibera's musical notebook , however, -- dedicated to his daughter Annalibera on her 8th birthday -- is a dense tone work whose name, form, and content all pay tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach. The work was written during a journey across America for the Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival. Its sixth movement, "Ornaments," would go on to serve as the basis of Dallapiccola 's Songs of liberation, leading some to suspect that the Quaderno was a preparatory work for the later piece; the whole notebook was later transcribed as the Variations for orchestra.
This is music of no mean interest -- strictly constructed, and sharply characterized -- but it may have left young Annalibera a little bewildered. The 10 short movements that follow alternate between freely expressive movements with names like "Accents," "Shadows," and "Colors," and various species of canon titled with a term Bach used in the Art of Fugue, "Contrapunctus.
Some of the free movements are lyrical, like "Lines," which spreads a serene melody over a bass line of broken chords. Others explore rhythm, like "Accents," in which the irregular meter is smashed out in chords.
The contrapuntal pieces are complex; the second is in contrary motion and the third is a crab canon, in which the two parts are played together, one the reverse of the other. Yet Dallapiccola manipulates the textures in a way that maintains their nonacademic interest and expressivity. For example, the "Contrapunctus secundus," which is marked Poco allegretto; alla Serenata in the score, takes on an almost nocturnal aspect, with staccato notes that recall the strumming of mandolins.
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Duccio Ceccanti. The Modern Italian Piano. Mariaclara Monetti. Short Pieces from Italy. Jean-Luc Fafchamps. Bach: Goldberg Variations. William Doppmann. Dives Publishing. Italian Inspirations Alessio Bax. Brilliant Classics BR. Artefacts: Piano Music from the 50th Steffen Schleiermacher. Capriccio Records Delphian Dallapiccola, Petrassi: Musica da camera Ensemble Dissonanzen.
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Musical Notebook of Annalibera
Luigi Dallapiccola February 3, — February 19, was an Italian composer known for his lyrical twelve-tone compositions. Unlike many composers born into highly musical environments, his early musical career was irregular at best. Political disputes over his birthplace of Istria , then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, led to instability and frequent moves. His father was headmaster of an Italian-language school — the only one in the city — which was shut down at the start of World War I. The family, considered politically subversive, was placed in internment at Graz , Austria, where the budding composer did not even have access to a piano, though he did attend performances at the local opera house, which cemented his desire to pursue composition as a career. Once back to his hometown Pisino after the war, he travelled frequently. Dallapiccola took his piano degree at the Florence Conservatory in the s and became professor there in ; until his retirement he spent his career there teaching lessons in piano as a secondary instrument, replacing his teacher Ernesto Consolo as the older man's illness prevented him from continuing.