Concerto for String Orchestra, Op. 27
Length: 10 minutes
In many ways, Flagello's career arc mirrors that of Giannini a generation earlier, with perhaps a greater emphasis on performance. Born in New York City, he began composing and made his debut as a pianist before he was ten years old. He started working with Giannini even before entering the Manhattan School. After receiving his master's degree there in 1950, he immediately joined the faculty, remaining until 1977. He conducted for Chicago Lyric Opera and New York City Opera, and made numerous recordings with Roman orchestras of repertory from the baroque era to the 20th century.
Stylistically, he stood with Giannini in the traditional line, believing that composition was a medium for personal emotional expression and communication. Andante languido, the second movement of his Concerto for String Orchestra, reveals many points in common with Giannini's Prelude, as well as characteristic differences. The opening theme, in the first violins, is remarkably similar in contour and expressive point to Giannini's theme, but chromatically intensified and metrically irregular, with an almost improvisatory feel. The music rises to several climaxes, more anguished than Giannini's, before diving into soft quiescence and closing on E, with the muted first violins repeating the rising minor third that is the first interval of both Giannini's and Flagello's themes.
John Henken is the Director of Publications for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.