Nicolas Flagello. Photo provided courtesy of Dianne Flagello.

The story of Nicolas Flagello embodies both tragedy and pathos, but it is one whose broad outlines are not uncommon throughout musical history. Born to a musical family with deep roots in the culture of nineteenth-century Italy, Flagello displayed a significant talent early on, performing publicly as a pianist while still a child. A student -- and later colleague -- of Vittorio Giannini, Flagello was deeply imbued with the values and practices of European Late Romanticism. Reaching maturity during the late 1940s and early 1950s, he found the hard-edged Modernist styles then in ascendancy cold and impersonal and alien to his temperament. To many of those in positions of power and influence, his music seemed hopelessly out of date, fifty years behind its times. Driven by the idealism instilled in him by Giannini, he produced a prodigious body of work, with little concern for the practical exigencies of a composing career. Then, approaching middle age with little reputation and no means of financial support, he descended into a self-destructive course that alienated friends and allies, damaged his creative abilities, and eventually cost him his health. Only after serious illness had forced his withdrawal from public life did interest in his work and recognition of its merit begin to gather momentum.
(From Voices in the Wilderness, p. 327)


Following are brief excerpts representative of many facets of Flagello's musical style. They are taken from some of the works discussed in more detail in Voices in the Wilderness. Click on "download" to listen to mp3 versions of the musical excerpts. If you want to listen to the streaming versions (recommended for slower connections), you need to have RealPlayer on your computer. Free download:

L'Infinito (1956) download streaming version
Piano Concerto no. 2 (1956): a. Allegro giusto download streaming version
Cello Capriccio (1962): excerpt download streaming version
Piano Sonata (1962): a. Andante con moto e rubato download streaming version
Contemplazioni di Michelangelo (1964): "Ben Doverrieno" download streaming version
Electra (1966): a. Synopsis download streaming version
Symphony no. 1 (1968): a. Allegro molto; d. Ciaccona (theme) download streaming version
Symphony no. 2 (1970): a. Moderato comodo download streaming version
Credendum (1973): Theme; later portion download streaming version
Odyssey (1981): opening portion download streaming version

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