Andante con moto for Cello & Piano, Op.72 No.1
The Andante con moto, the first of two works which came to be known as Two Romances, came into being at the behest of one of his publishers. Both date from 1891. The Andante con moto features a gentle, somewhat languid but also evocative melody. The mood is restrained though, because of the moving piano part, not particularly calm. The Italian vocal quality of the music is very apparent and the piece could well have been a beautiful lied or aria.
Giuseppe Martucci (1856-1909) was born in the southern Italian city of Capua. His father was a bandmaster and gave him his first music lessons on the piano. When it was discovered that the boy was prodigy, he was sent to the Naples Conservatory at the age of 11. Before he could graduate, his father, seeing his son's amazing talent, decided to cash in and started him on a successful concert career. Martucci became well-known as a concert artist throughout Europe and his playing was admired by Liszt among others. However, later when he became of age and gained independence from his father, he worked as a professor at the Naples Conservatory, virtually ending his concert career. Besides being an important teacher, he also became the conductor of the Naples Symphony Orchestra and later the Liceo Musicale Bolognese orchestra. He is recognized as an important late 19th century Italian composer and was considered the leader of the group of Italian composers determined to break away from the dominance of opera in Italy and to restore instrumental music to its rightful place.
Long out of print, this work makes a lovely short program piece or encore. We recommend it to professionals and amateurs alike.