Late-Romantic Italian Symphony on Symphony @ 7

Giovanni Sgambati(Photo: Wikipedia)
Giovanni Sgambati(Photo: Wikipedia)

Giovanni Sgambati is not one of the better known late 19th and early 20th Century Italian composers, due in part no doubt, to the fact that opera dominated the music coming from that country at the time; think of Verdi, Puccini, Massenet, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, you get the picture. This evening on Symphony @ 7, we’ll have a grand Romantic symphony from 1881 by Giovanni Sgambati.

Sgambati, who was born in Rome in 1841 and died there in 1914, went against the current and focused primarily on writing instrumental music.  He had, presumably, an Italian father, but his mother was English.  He studied with Franz Liszt and was also much influenced by the German symphonic tradition and sense of form and combined all this with a strong Italian melodic style.

I’m happy to say there’s a fine new recording from Naxos of the very substantial, five-movement, Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 16, and we have it for you beginning at 7 pm on Classical 101.  So, join me for something of a musical rarity from Giovanni Sgambati, a work that was admired by Edvard Grieg and Camille Saint-Saens and often conducted by Arturo Toscanini.

Here’s a sample: