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Music Reviews : Pianist Cardini at L.A. City College

December 04, 1987|GREGG WAGER

Returning to this country after an eight-year absence, Giancarlo Cardini, a specialist in avant-garde music, gave a solo recital in Clausen Recital Hall at Los Angeles City College on Wednesday night. A full house greeted the Florentine pianist.

Cardini's own Sonata No. 1 (1983-4), in three movements, emerged as the evening's best presentation. Two movements of sweeping, atonal passages--reminiscent of Boulez's piano sonatas--glide into a third movement, which then shifts gears, exploring a number of other styles, including Minimalism.

"Lento trascolorare dal verde al rosso in un tralcio di foglie autunnale" (Slow change from green to red on a branch of autumn leaves) (1982-3) by Cardini shows an obvious influence from Morton Feldman's piano music. Carefully repeated patterns slowly change harmonies, consciously avoiding resolution or predictability.

Also performed was a trance-inducing early work by John Cage, "Music for Marcel Duchamp" (1947). In this piece, typical of Cage's works for prepared piano, simple melodies meander here and there, invoking sounds reminiscent of a surreal Javanese gamelan.

And when challenged by Sylvano Bussotti's "Novelletta" (1962-73), where the instrumentalist reads from a piece of manuscript paper spattered with ink, Cardini played with admirable reserve and apparent accuracy--characteristic of his patient performance style in general.

Cardini began the evening with eight late 19th-, early 20th-Century compositions by Giulio Ricordi. Although these miniatures sound pleasant enough, the listener senses that the composer probably cranked them out without much thought or effort.

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