Contemporary Italian twists on a famous Baroque dance on an ancient/modern crossover album of new and world premiere recordings.
No one knows who first used the term ‘Folia’ to describe a kind of Portuguese dance, or even when it became associated with a particular theme immortalised by Arcangelo Corelli in the last of his Op.5 violin sonatas. However, as La Folia or La Follia, the theme has been improvised on and updated ever since then, all drawing on the noble dignity of the original and its simple, affective power.
Born in 1956, Carlo Pedini produced a half-hour set of variations on ‘La Follia’ in 2007, and scored them for string orchestra: this is the first internationally available recording, made by an ensemble drawn from the string section of the KLK Symphony Orchestra in Ukraine. They are conducted here by a contemporary and countryman of Pedini’s, Ferdinando Nazzaro, who founded the new-music ensemble attached to the KLK orchestra.
Complementing La Follia here is another neo-Baroque work of Pedini’s, a set of three substantial pieces for string orchestra with a central Adagio and a finale dedicated to the art of the neoclassical painter Antonio Canova. The album concludes with a second set of ‘La Follia’ variations by Paolo Ugoletti, also born in 1956 and a fellow student of Franco Donatoni. These take the theme into the territory of pop, with variations marked ‘Boogie-Woogie’ and ‘Funky’ using innovative string techniques.
Dedicated to the conductor of this recording, Ugoletti’s rhapsody Il sentiero dei castagni (The Chestnut-Tree Path) completes this album which is a must-hear for fans of attractive tonal music by contemporary composers off the beaten track.