– 1922 -1964 –
Alessandro Casagrande was born in Terni in1922 and it was in his hometown towards the end of his life that he carried out a brief but invaluable didactic activity as director of the “G. Briccialdi” Music Institute.
Endowed with a distinct flair for composition, he dedicated himself to this with deep passion and assiduous research from a very young age (as Fogli d’Album - Album Leaves for piano composed at the tender age of 12 bears witness).
It is interesting to note the progressive refinement and individuality of style in all his work that he carried out throughout the years with extreme coherence, without reconsideration and without deviations. This makes it easy to place each composition in the scope of a unique personality even in its constant developement, unmistakeable also in the multiplicity of inspirational motifs.
Particularly sensitive to defining colours of orchestral sonorities and naturally endowed with an inexhaustible rhythmic fantasy, Alessandro Casagrande realized some of his most congenial expressions in his ballet compositions.
His sudden and premature death in 1964 did not grant the composer the possibility of assisting the performance of his latest works: Asteres symphonic poem in three parts, Tempo sinfonico for piano and orchestra, Ninfea opera in two acts and a choreographic intermezzo, Il pianto della Madonna – cantata for chorus and instrumental accompaniment.
His last composition (Il pianto della Madonna - cantata based on text by Jacopone da Todi, world premier performance at the Umbria Sacred Music Festival of 1970, completed by the composer two months before he passed away) marks the pinnacle of success achieved in the complete maturity of language, leaning towards the most profound and sublime human experience, the presentiment of death and his serene acceptance.
After his death Alessandro Casagrande’s music demonstrated its validity and vitality through performances that were realized with increasing frequency by ensembles and soloists from many different countries; the ballet Fantasie di Pinocchio enjoyed particular success (successfully performed in Rome in 1982, it became a part of the repertoire of some of the most important European dance ensembles and has been included in theatre programmes in Amsterdam, Prague, Brno, Moscow and Sofia), I segni dello zodiacofor piano, the poems A Saffo, the Divertimenti for strings and eight instruments andFrasi.
Some compositions by A. Casagrande have been broadcast on the radio in Italy and abroad and have been recorded on CD.
In 2006 the Casagrande Foundation started organizing and writing a catalogue of Alessandro Casagrande’s published and unpublished works. This activity, which was entrusted to Dr. Attilio Bottegal , musicologist with a vast experience in cataloguing musical archives, was created with the aim of obtaining a precise monitoring of existing material (original autographed sheet music, etc., all material which was at the family home), in order to allow adequate conservation and use.
At the same time Dr. Michele Benucci, art historian and expert in Artistic and Cultural Heritage, had initiated the procedure for obtaining tutelage by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Archival Superintendence of Umbria for this private archive.
Since May 2008, all the material of the Casagrande Archive is housed at the State Archive of Terni in order to provide adequate conservation and grant public fruition as well as remaining loyal to one of the main aims of the Foundation itself, that of the diffusion, knowledge and enhancement of A. Casagrande’s music. The Casagrande Foundation is also planning to publish a volume on Alessandro Casagrande, complete with biography and works.