Text by José R. Pascual-Vilaplana

Symphony No. 3 ‘Urban Landscapes’ op. 55 (2020) is the latest work premiered by the BMB, as in the 2020-2021 season, the Swiss master Franco Cesarini (Bellinzona, 1961) was our ‘Artist’s Portrait’.

Conductor and professor of composition in Lugano, master Cesarini’s work stands out for its great stylistic versatility with a very defining feature: creative craftsmanship based on primary elements that serve as a unifying link throughout its structures. In his Third Symphony, subtitled ‘Urban Landscapes’, he pays homage to the City of the Wind, Chicago, mixing styles typical of 20th century North American music (Gershwin, Copland, Reed) at the service of that thematic unity that characterises him so much.


Divided into three movements, the composer himself writes the following:

I. Wrigley Building from Dawn to Noon
‘The fluid lines and svelte profiles melt into an apotheosis of luminescent white and blue’

II. Blue Silhouette
‘Fly far from the suburbs and discover the secret of an indefinable essence, made of shades of blue and white’

III. Cloud Gate
‘Silver reflections of dazzling white towers and white and dreamy clouds that swim with a vaporous brilliance’

This is a descriptive score where the colour blue (and its derivation in the blue note) frames a thematic idea that, first of all, will define the city at dawn at the edge of the Lake Michigan; we will then hear the bustle and the noises of a city that is waking up with traffic speeding by and, finally, the sirens of patrol cars. In the second movement we enter the night and the same thematic idea of the first movement will accompany us to the jazz clubs in the city. Finally, in the third movement “Cloud Gates”, dedicated to Anish Kapoor’s sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park, the developments of the primary element will appear transformed inversely, turning into a game of mirrors, an allegory of the reflections of light on the Indian artist’s work. The composer’s craftsmanship transforms a basic material to bring together a score full of timbric, harmonic and rhythmic resources.


Franco Cesarini studied flute with Peter Lukas Graf at the Basle Conservatory where he obtained the Master of Arts in Music Pedagogy and the Master of Arts in Music Performance. He then majored in theory, composition, and conducting. Both as a soloist and as a member of chamber ensembles, he has won several competitions, including first prize with mention in the Swiss National Soloist Competition in 1981. In 1984 he was awarded a scholarship by the Ernst Göhner-Migros Foundation.

Between 1989 and 2006 he was professor of wind band conducting at the Zurich University of the Arts. Franco Cesarini is currently professor of wind band conducting and music theory at the University of music (SUM) of Lugano. Since 1998 he has been principal conductor of the symphonic wind orchestra Civica Filarmonica di Lugano.

He has toured as a soloist and guest conductor in various countries in Europe, North America, Central America and Asia. He has worked as an adjudicator in national and international competitions. In 2001 Cesarini was appointed composer-in-residence at the Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri (USA).

Cesarini is a versatile composer. In addition to his compositions for wind orchestra, he has written works for ensembles, various solo instruments, piano, string quartet, voice and symphony orchestra.



CLARINETS José Miguel Micó soloist, Natalia Zanón soloist, Joana Altadill, Eduard Betes, Valeria Conti, Joan Estellés, Montserrat Margalef, Manuel Martínez, José Joaquín Sánchez, Javier Vilaplana E-flat clarinet, Martí Guasteví alto clarinet, José Vicente Montesinos bass clarinet SAXOPHONES Maurici Esteller soprano, Dani Molina alto soloist, Marta Romero alto, Armand Franco tenor, José Jaime Rivera tenor, Joan Soler baritone | FLUTES Paula Martínez, Alejandro Ortuño, Josep Maria Llorens flute | OBOES Pilar Bosque soloist, David Perpiñán, Carla Suárez English horn | BASSOONS  Daniel Ortuño soloist, Laura Guasteví, Laura Serra contrafagot | TRUMPETS Oleguer Bertran soloist / Germán Izquierdo soloist, Francisco León, Manuel Montesinos, Josep Miquel Rozalén, Miguel Zapata | TRUMPETS AND FISCORNS Jesus Munuera soloist, Patricio Soler soloist, Maurici Albàs, Santiago Gozálbez, Susana Marco, Jesús Pascual, José Joaquín Salvador | TROMBONES Francesc Ivars, Eduard Font, Héctor Penades, Francisco Palacios bass | EUPHONIUMS Rubén Zuriaga soloist, David Pantín | TUBAS Antonio Chelvi soloist, Francisco Javier Molina | DOUBLE BASS Enric Boixadós, Antoni Cubedo | TIMPANI Ferran Carceller soloist | PERCUSSION Mateu Caballé soloist, Ferran Armengol, Alejandro Llorens, Mario Garcia, Carme Garrigó, Carles Salvador | ARPA Laura Boschetti | TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Joan Xicola | EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR Susanna Gamisel | ARCHIVE Àlex Fernández | PHOTOS May Zircus and Ricardo Ríos | SOUND ASSISTANCE Toni Vila | MUSIC PRODUCTION Markus Heiland Tritonus Musikproduktion GmbH

Album recorded between 12 and 16 July 2021 in Hall 1 Pau Casals, L’Auditori de Barcelona.

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