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Italy’s Great War lacks the ubiquitous poetic presence of the western front, or even that of Gallipoli, but it inspired a body of writing that isn’t limited to such familiar names as Eugenio Montale and Giuseppe Ungaretti, who belonged to the ‘lost generation’ that lost its heart at Caporetto. Pier Paolo Scattolin’s Trenodia draws on an eclectic body of responses, from Penderecki’s choral music, to Ungaretti, to folk forms, to Ewart Alan Mackintosh’s ‘In Memoriam’, written in memory of a Scots (?) private killed in the German trenches. Out of such apparently inimical material, he creates an astonishing fabric of sound, stitched together by drone strings, percussion both staccato and distantly rumbling, sudden outbreaks of passionate song. The singers are appropriately young and just the right side of raw. There is an English version on the second disc. It’s useful enough as a reference, but it’s the original that really strikes home, particularly in ‘Trenodia 3 – Per non dimenticare / Not to forget’. Shattering.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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