Nunc by Goffredo Petrassi (1904-2003), is one of those late-20th century heavy-weights that floats to the surface every decade or so. John Williams has performed it on a number of occasions and also featured it in BBC broadcast from the distant past, although it seems the Williams recording many of us believed would follow has yet to materialize.
By placing Nunc in the company of Bach’s ubiquitous Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, Alexandre Tansman’s currently trending Variations sur un theme de Scriabine, and the Sylvius-Leopold Weiss evergreen Tombeau sur la mort de M. Compte de Logy, Stefano Grondona protégé Giacomo Susani may well succeed in bringing the second of Petrassi’s two known works for solo guitar to a mainstream classical audience.
It would take a more seasoned Nunc-spotter than I to evaluate Susani’s interpretation in the light of what has gone before, but all the other items on the agenda are delivered with a patrician assurance that belies the performer’s apparent youth. Few would have identified this as a debut recording had the program notes not announced it as such. Particularly memorable is the choice of closing item, in which Susani returns to Tansman with a suitably retro take on the gently persuasive Segovia classic Cavatina, complete with a triumphant “Danza Pomposa” as the customary add-on finale.
With stylish and mature playing throughout, this novel and inspired framing of the Petrassi might just have the capacity to tempt those who were reluctant to take the plunge.