Decca Classics is proud to present the new album from Riccardo Chailly and the Filarmonica Della Scala. Released on 20th May 2022, Musa Italiana celebrates the influence of the “Italian style” on three Austro-German composers: Wolfgang Amadeus MozartFranz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn.  

Recorded in Dolby Atmos in the auditorium of La Scala during the pandemic, this album utilizes the famous La Scala acoustic in a unique way. As Chailly explains, 

“Because of the pandemic and the need for more space between the players, a new floor was created over the seats of the parquette [stalls]… And it says much for the genius of Giuseppe Piermarini, the architect of La Scala, because right at the centre of the theatre, the acoustic is spectacular. La Scala’s acoustic tends towards the dry in order to assist the voices, but out of the pit the sound is wonderful”. 

Felix Mendelssohn’s “Italian Symphony (No. 4 in A major) was composed during a 10-month Grand Tour of Italy between 1829 & 1831 while in his early twenties. It draws inspiration from the county’s natural beauty, culture and music, most notably in the saltarello rhythms employed to great effect in the work’s tarantella finale. Chailly has recorded Mendelssohn’s 1834 revision of the work, which he believes heightens the work’s drama.  

“The finale – which is a tarantella where, when you are bitten by a tarantula, you have to dance or die… These are moments of high drama in a work that is celebrated for its joy and beauty.” – Riccardo Chailly 

By the late 1810s, the musical innovations of Gioachino Rossini had taken Vienna by storm and clearly had a profound effect on Franz Schubert. His two overtures in the Italian Style pay tribute to Rossini, with the D major overture quoting from the opera Tancrediand theC major overture featuring a version of the famous crowd-pleasing “Rossini crescendo”. 

Visits to Italy early in his life proved formative in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical development. The three overtures to Mitridate, Ascanio in Alba and Lucio Silla included on this album were all originally premiered in Milan. As Chailly says, 

“I think they’re part, want it or not, of the La Scala tradition, and the orchestra plays them with such conviction and dedication, because they’re difficult pieces to get right.” 

Riccardo Chailly has been Musical Director of La Scala since 2015, where he previously launched his career at the age of 20 as assistant to Claudio Abbado. Since then, through positions at the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Chailly has risen to the top of the conducting profession, and his acclaimed discography boasts over 150 CDs.  

The Filarmonica Della Scala celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2022. Founded by Claudio Abbado with musicians from Teatro all Scala in 1982, the orchestra has a distinguished history under such legendary conductors as Bernstein, Giulini, Muti, Sinopoli and Barenboim. Riccardo Chailly is their current Principal Conductor. UniCredit has been the main sponsor of the orchestra since 2003.  

Riccardo Chailly and the Filarmonica Della Scala’s Musa Italiana is out on Decca Classics on 20 May 2022.