Franchetti: Three Italian Masques; Johnson: Trio
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL125     Release Date: 2010-04-01

Three Italian Masques were written by Arnold Franchetti in 1953, is based on a well-known Venetian puppet show. It is written in a free 12 tonal organization with the exception of the second movement or Serenade which is decidedly in a rigid Eb major tonality.

The work is scored for three trumpets, two trombones, percussion, string bass and piano. The movements are as follows:

1. Variations (I-VIII): Introduction of the masques; Arlecchino, the thief of love; Columbina, the frivolous wife; Pantalone, her jealous husband.

2. Serenade: Impassioned call of Arlecchino; serenade in the piazzetta.

3. Imbroglio e baruffa: Gossiping tongues alarm Pantalone who interrupts the Serenade and is soundly clubbed by Arlecchino; the quarrel subsides; Pantalone limps away . . . the piazzetta remains shimmering in the moonlight.

The humor this old and slightly immoral tale is derived from the fact that the cuckolded husband in addition to seeing his wife conquered by Harlequin must also pay for the broken dishes after a fight in a pub.

The Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano by Hunter Johnson was composed in 1954 during the period of Johnson’s second Guggenheim Fellowship and was first performed at the University of Illinois in May, 1956 as part of a concert of the composer’s works. The composer’s description of the work is as follows:

Style: not unrelated to works of Ives, Harris, Copland and others of this so-called indigenous American school.

Form: the first movement is in fairly conventional sonata form, with the usual first and second thematic groups, followed by a middle section consisting mostly of a lyric theme derived from the opening subject matter, followed in turn by the recapitulation and coda. The final section of the coda is a slow fantasia-like section based on material stated earlier in the movement.

“The slow movement is a concentrated development of the opening theme, which consists of two bars in the piano answered by four bars in the winds. The entire movement is derived from this initial theme, sometimes by more or less conventional variation procedures, again by theme transformation and derivation of what are, in a sense, new ideas, but distinctly related to their source material.

“The last movement is a vigorous scherzo-finale consisting of four distinct sections: exposition with contrasting thematic groups, so-called development, reprise and coda. The coda, like the close of the first movement, contains a short lyrical fantasy based on previous material, but ends fast and loud.”

This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available as a burn-on-demand CD (CD-R) or download in MP3/320, FLAC or WAV formats. CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included. Full liner notes are accessible via the link above.

Various Artists

Franchetti: Three Italian Masques; Johnson: Trio

MP3/320 $7.99
FLAC $7.99
WAV $7.99
CD-R $7.99
CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included.


Track Listing

Three Italian Masques: I. Variations (I-VIII)
Arnold Franchetti
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Three Italian Masques: II. Serenade
Arnold Franchetti
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Three Italian Masques: III. Imbroglio e baruffa
Arnold Franchetti
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Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano: I. Allegro con fuoco
Hunter Johnson
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Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano: II. Adagio serioso
Hunter Johnson
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Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano: III. Allegro molto
Hunter Johnson
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