"The title, from the Italian, means 'craft.' A one-movement work, delicate yet powerful. Diverse sonorities integrated into a compelling structure. Dissonant, exploits entire keyboard range; florid, cadenza-like. Contains detailed performance instructions. Debussy Influence. Difficult."
"Chester Biscardi's 'Mestiere' is a short, sonorous work of pleasing elegance."
"Complexity and virtuosity characterize Chester Biscardi's dramatic Mestiere, here boldly performed by pianist Robert Weirich, for whom it was written. Taking its title from an Italian word meaning "craft" or "business,' the work successfully exploits sonorities idiomatic to the piano."
"The most rewarding work here is Chester Biscardi's. It offers a remarkable integration of diverse sonorities into a compelling structure. It all grows out of a striking beginning, and the use of the piano's pedals is very telling. All in all a sensible, sensitive work."
"Biscardi's music is clear-lined and remarkably accessible in its expressivity."
"All the works by Biscardi share a common ground in that they are expressive, sensitive and convincing."
In Mestiere (1979) . . . something new begins to emerge. Out of the initial dramatic, dissonant opening, soon more lyrical lines and rich, quasi-tonal harmonies emerge. The whole piece seems to be a dialog between the composer Biscardi has been taught to be and the one he wants to be. In the end, it seems the latter wins the contest, and subsequent pieces confirm that verdict.
The 1979 Mestiere for solo piano is . . . rhapsodic, with highly idiomatic piano figuration throughout, which creates Impressionistic sonic scrims that project lovely layers of harmony.
Mestiere (craft) is a short piano piece written for the 1979 New Orleans Festival of Piano Music. Carter (Piano Sonata) and Takemitsu (For Away) are cited as influences, and there's a reference to Schoenberg's Farben thrown in for good measure. The result is improvisational-sounding and a little scattered, though that is the way dreams tend to be.
Mestiere and Di Vivere are companion works of a sort, in that their titles are taken from two halves of the collected journals of twentieth century Italian writer Cesare Pavese (1908-50), Il Mestiere di Vivere ('The Business of Living'). Biscardi says that they may be performed together, Di Vivere either as a quintet for clarinet in A and piano, with flute, violin and cello, as here, or as a duo for the clarinet and piano alone. Mestiere is a short, ponderous, atonal piece, and serves as a prelude to the more immediately attractive Di Vivere, which was commissioned by and premiered in 1982 by the Da Capo Players themselves – flautist Patricia Spencer and cellist André Emilianoff are, amazingly, still in this splendid ensemble's line-up.