Chester Biscardi and Bennett Lerner, piano

Albany Records

This work appears on Music By My Friends, Albany Records TROY695-96 (Albany, New York, 2004) with works by Christopher Berg, Chester Biscardi [Incitation to Desire (Tango) and Mestiere] Aaron Copland, Robert Helps, Donald Richie, Tison Street, and Roger Zahab. Liner notes by Bennett Lerner and composers.

This work was inspired by the daily life in the garden of the Villa Corsi-Salviati in Sesto Fiorentino, Italy (which is also where the first opera, Dafne, was written in 1597). You can hear birds, ducks, frogs, lizards, mosquitoes, bats and a bee, and you can visualize a maze (one of those proper English gardens in which you get lost), a pond, water lilies, a Water Nymph, a gardener on his bicycle who meets one of the frogs, a greenhouse, a Cypress tree, the planet Venus, bonfires, and, finally, a sad moon. Where's the cat?

Nel giardinetto della villa was written in 1994 for my friend, the pianist James Goldsworthy, and his then mostly eight-year old students. It's a student/teacher piece as well as a concert work in its own right. It's in eight short movements that explore different keyboard techniques and musical styles (for instance, hand positions, use of fingering, grace notes, etc., and different types of minimalism – e.g., Meredith Monk style in III, ostinato in V, etc.) as a way of introducing new music to young pianists and audiences. All of the movements are interrelated musically and within an overall narrative. There's also a kinship in this work with Maurice Ravel's five-movement Ma Mére l'Oye suite.

Nel giardinetto della villa
In the Little Garden of the Villa

I. L'alba: Un cinguettio d'uccelli
I. Dawn: A Chirping of Birds

II. Le tre anitre e le lucertole nel labirinto
II. The Three Ducks and the Lizards in the Maze

III. Lo stagno e le ninfee
III. The Pond and the Water Lilies

IV. La gatta Biancaneve e la rana
IV. The Cat Snow White and the Frog

V. Bruno, il giardiniere, in bicicletta
V. Bruno, the Gardener, on His Bicycle

VI. Le zanzare e i pipistrelli nella limonaia
VI. The Mosquitoes and the Bats in the Lemon Tree Greenhouse

VII. Il crepuscolo: Il cipresso e Venere
VII. Twilight: The Cypress Tree and Venus

VIII. La luna triste e i falò
VIII. The Sad Moon and the Bonfires

Read more about Nel giardinetto della villa here »

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