Amazon customer review of “Italia”

November 13th, 2010 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

5 stars – Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Expressive and Rich, October 4, 2010
By HitsToClassics
This review is of: Italia (Audio CD)

This is serious contemporary chamber music at its best. Cacioppo is a contemporary American composer who loves Italy. He writes in an idiom that sounds “modern” although I am not able to analyze what he is doing technically. There is discord and sections with unusual rhythmic intensity. But the music, evoking traditional Italian scenes, is expressive, even romantic in spots. At times busy, at times lyrical, it grows on you. At one point, in the section evoking the Piazza San Marco, a festive popular dance struggles to emerge before fading back into the denser texture. The three separate pieces all have this same quality. The first, “Impressione Venexiane,” is played by a string quartet, the second, “Sulla Via dei Sette Ponti” is played by Matthew Bengtson, piano; the third, “Colomba scarlatta della Libia” features a variety of instruments. Very fine music.

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Online compliments for “ITALIA”

September 15th, 2010 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

“The sound is great…[compared to other releases] this is music of freer range imaginatively…I felt like I was breathing clearer air. Impressions of Venice is a travelogue that will energize you…deeply veined exoticism (Red Dove of Libya)”

— Indystar online, Jay Harvey

“…intriguing pieces, skirting the line between nostalgic tonality and exploratory dissonance, approachable but not populist – a difficult thing to achieve. Impressions of Venice, commissioned and performed by the Quartetto di Venezia, moves through rapid, almost violent passages of zigzagging strings through beatific exhalations of sustained calm. The spirit of Vivaldi is subtly conveyed through the metallic sheen Cacioppo at times gets from his players, and the pizzicato opening of the fourth movement recalls Bartok’s fourth quartet. On the Road to the Seven Bridges for solo piano, a study of ironic distance … vaguely reminiscent of Poulenc or Satie. Red Dove of Libya is dominated by winding flute lines and sparse recitation, coloured by impressionist dabs from harp, contrabass and percussion. Again, Cacioppo turns to fin-de-siecle France for inspiration, and wrenches intriguing new shapes from these forces.”

—, Joshua Meggitt

“appealing winsomeness…improvisatory-sounding…intensely earnest…sensitive and colorful writing…jazzy syncopations and jazzy coloration…all very appealing”

— Audiophile Audition, Lee Passarella

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“Curt Cacioppo: ITALIA” now available

March 26th, 2010 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

“ITALIA” is the title of Curt Cacioppo’s latest release. This is the composer’s 10th disc, and features exclusively music that he has written either in Italy or in response to Italian inspiration. The first work is “Impressions of Venice” (“Impressioni venexiane”), performed by the ensemble that commissioned it, the Quartetto di Venezia. Next is a set of solo piano pieces penned while in residence in Tuscany and entitled “On the Road of the Seven Bridges” (“Sulla Via dei Sette Ponti”). The performer is virtuoso Matthew Bengtson. Rounding off the program is a work called “Red Dove of Libya” (“Colomba scarlatta della Libia”), for an ensemble that includes flute, harp, contrabass and percussion, with vocal recitation. The story behind it concerns cult practices at the ancient Temple of Venus located in Sicily in the town of Erice. Members of Philadelphia’s Network for New Music, for whom the piece was composed, give it a vivid interpretation.

“Curt Cacioppo: Italia” is Navona Records CD#5827. Accompanying the disc is an enhanced content website where you can find extended program notes in both English and Italian, composer and performer bios, audio and video commentaries by the composer, slide shows synched to each work that reveal the images that inspired the music, as well as scores for study, and downloadable images suitable for computer desktop display.

For more information go to
To access enhanced content on the Navona site, visit

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2 new CD releases

March 19th, 2010 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

Congratulations to the Quartetto di Venezia on their new Decca 3 disc set of the complete Cherubini string quartets. These neglected works deserve much attention and study. Beethoven and Brahms were both correct in their esteem for this composer. And these performances are superb. It’s Decca 476 3604 – a long awaited contribution to the string quartet discography.

And congratulations to Charles Cacioppo for his second release this season. The CD is “Dialogues” on LP Recordings #2010 featuring the Italy-based duo Andrea Ceccomori flute, and Elitza Harbova, piano. Along with Chuck’s 2 pieces inspired by Sandor Woeres poems are works by Casella, Copland, Berio, Dorff, Gach, Gentile, Zaimov, Anzaghi, and Goleminov. For more information, visit

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Charles Cacioppo on CD

December 25th, 2009 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

It is a pleasure to announce the release of Charles Cacioppo’s
“Piece for Unaccompanied Clarinet (2003)” performed by Ikuko Arai
on the new Beauport Classical CD “GHOSTS.” Of the nine composers
represented on the disc, Chuck is the youngest, this being his debut
recording. For order/download info, go to
and visit Chuck’s My Space page at
to sample more of his work. Chuck is currently working on
pieces for the Momenta String Quartet and for violinist Joseph Lin.

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Audience members respond to “Orchard Dances”

December 13th, 2009 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

Here are some audience responses to the Carnegie Hall premiere of “When the Orchard Dances Ceased” received by email:

“Your piece was absorbing and I particularly enjoyed the way you got so much out of the orchestra in terms of coloration and mood.”

“We enjoyed the piece enormously – your chanting, too! We didn’t know about that facet of your musicianship.”

“Bravo! I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed ‘Orchard Dances.’ Lano and the orchestra did a remarkable job. Of course, it helped that your music was so exquisite and idiomatic. The players really like it when the composer makes them sound good!”

“Kudos on the concert last night! Your music sounded wonderful. I am so pleased that the ‘new music’ funding circuit is recognizing how innovative your work is. I appreciated the intertwining of the Indian themes. Evocative. I hope this concert leads to new commissions and a whole new public.”

“Be very happy with your accomplishment!”

“I thought the piece was wonderful; I loved all the different thematic elements, the colors, and your singing was quite stunning.”

“A terrific and evocative piece. Congratulations!”

“We have been talking about your concert…I still hear it in my
head…That piece was so powerful, gutsy and tender at the same time,
it hit right into my heart!”

And these from the ACO’s blogspot

Yanmei said that ‘When the Orchard Dances Ceased’ “sent chills down my spine.”
December 16, 2009 3:08 PM

Agnes B. commented that Curt Cacioppo is “a scholar as well as a musician and has mastered the idiom.” She also said that composers have a deeper commitment to “get it right” when they are also the soloist. Agnes said she was surprised by the degree to which she responded to “offbeat” works and credited the extreme competence of the musicians in the orchestra.
December 16, 2009 3:11 PM

Susan B. said that Cacioppo was “complex and fabulous, needed rehearing because lots of intellectual effort is needed to follow the intent (as written in the program notes).” She also was surprised by the use of voice as an instrument, and instruments as voice, both as they sound in nature.
December 17, 2009 1:00 PM

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Debra Harder on “Lenape Refrains”

November 25th, 2009 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

One of the most haunting compositions I heard last season was Curt Cacioppo’s “Lenape Refrains,” a large-scale orchestral work premiered by the Philadelphia Classical Symphony, Karl Middleman, artistic director. Refrains is a deceptively mild term for this eight-movement work, which depicts the celebration, dances, and fate of the Lenape people, who are native to the Philadelphia region.

From a musical standpoint, the piece convinces because of its structural integrity, but it also captivates because of its striking use of Native American rhythms, chanting by the orchestra musicians, solo singing, and Native American instruments. One instrument in particular, the corn husk rattle, caught my ear.

Read more and view photos at

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Alejandro Cardona on “Ancestral Passage”

November 6th, 2009 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

Last week I got your CD “Ancestral Passage.” I have been listening to it for days now. Really great music. The “Coyoteway” quartet is incredible. What I really like is that all the native references/material have become like a very natural part of your music, so it’s not like you’re “working with” these elements, it’s more like they are coming through you. Both quartets have this quality in a very transparent and organic way. I really like “The Ancestors” too, which I had heard a few years ago. But my favorite is still “Snake Dance” — such a great piece. There is something so intuitive and powerful about it.
Alejandro Cardona

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An artist’s visual interpretation

August 18th, 2009 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

The artist Vladimir Tamari, who is based in Tokyo, recently did a visual interpretation of my American Indian inspired music.  Like the Navajo painter David Chethlahe Paladin, Tamari “channels” the music and paints directly as he listens.  He has produced a whole “painting the music” series representing composers from Bach and Vivaldi to Copland and Takemitsu.  His new “African music” painting is particularly vivid.  All can be viewed on his website.  Here is what he envisioned of my music.

artist Vladimir Tamari's painting of Cacioppo's music

artist Vladimir Tamari's painting of Cacioppo's music

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Gravity and Shadow

August 17th, 2009 · Write Comment · Uncategorized

During this heat wave in the Delaware Valley, I am keeping cool by practicing a new piece by the Italian composer Franco Cavallone entitled “Ombre allungate,” which he graciously dedicated to me.  Inspired by winter shadows cast by the pine trees on the mountainsides of the Dolomites, it draws its harmonic processes from the theories of Roberto Lupi.  Lupi published his treatise “Armonia di Gravitazione” in 1946, and there seems to be a resurgence of interest in it, particularly among a group of composers in Torino, where Cavallone resides.  It intrigues me, as the main thrust concerns a systematic approach to the possibilities of major and minor triad combination, something already central in works of my own, especially the “Trilogia dantesca.”  I am eager to start reading it.

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