Malta Times

The variety of musical styles which prevailed over the past decades make it rather difficult to suggest a clear definition of contemporary music. However, one may easily recognize specific traits such as rhythm, harmony, form and contemporary philosophical concepts. One may state with assurance that Karl Fiorini’s works illustrate this aesthetic, where recent artistic developments are integrated with more traditional sources of inspiration and moulded to the composer’s own unique expression. Divine Art Records has now released the composer’s first CD recording, featuring two violin concertos.

The works were interpreted by violinists Emanuel Salvador and Marta Magdalena Lelek, with the Sudecka Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Polish conductor Bartosz Zurakowski. The concertos are not structured in the traditional allegro-andante-allegro form. As typical with Fiorini, the works substitute extrovert themes in favour of more introvert classicism in the melodic line.

The first work Concerto for violin and chamber orchestra, composed in 2007, comprises two introductory movements and three of more substantial length. The aura of mystery of various violin passages is reinforced by delicate orchestration, as evident in the fourth movement C horale,Canone and Passacaglia. The composition is imbued with a sense of refinement, giving the impression that Fiorini is playing a complex architectural game, carefully juxtaposing one item over another with a great sense of delicacy. This is evident in the use of percussive touches which effectively accentuate particular themes without ruining through exaggeration. In the final movement, the solo cadenza recalls the frenetic eastern European czardas (traditional Hungarian folk dance).

The second violin concerto, completed in 2012, discloses the composer in a different mood, where the sense of intimacy evident in the first work transforms into a bolder temper conveying a more tragic atmosphere. The work consists of one long symphonic-like movement of contrasting sections. The soloist is constantly at the fore, either accompanied by a few instruments or by more densely orchestrated passages. The opening lamenting solo and subsequent peculiar orchestral harmonies endow a haunting introduction to the work. An orchestral fugato interspersed with violin passages and pizzicato effects becomes particularly marked towards the latter part of the composition. More traditional remnants include a distorted fanfare-like passage ushering the finale, where the tension seems to be resolved through a dance-like theme.

Despite their respective divergences, the violin concertos comprise common elements. Both works attest the composer’s interest in using harmonies that go beyond those which are more commonly used by peer composers.

Overall, I am sure Fiorini’s first CD is a welcome addition to the collectors of classical and contemporary music.

—Silvio Camilleri