Rossini?

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Rossini?

I could be wrong, but I can't remember a single thread about Rossini on this forum. (No doubt some kind soul will point me to an ancient thread, if I have got it wrong......)

Does anyone listen to Rossini? Anyone rate him alongside the "greats"? He seems to be one of those composers that divide opinion. Abbado and Guilini spent a lot of time conducting him. Others wouldn't touch him with a barge-pole. My sense is that his reputation is probably a little lower now than it was, say, thirty years ago.

My knowledge of him is pretty thin, I suppose. The only opera I know well and listen to on a fairly regular basis is The Barber of Seville. If you don't know it, it is unbelievably funny and miraculously tuneful. Not a million miles from Mozart in musical language or orchestration, though probably lacking that final depth of feeling. Apart from that, I half-know a few others - La Cenerentola, Le Comte Ory.......and, of course, the overtures, which I used to listen to as a teenager. Given my appreciation for the Barber of Seville, I should probably have a look at his other works, but I haven't got around to it yet. 

Any recommendations? Any Rossini fans out there.........?

Giulini. Not Guilini.......

Giulini.

Not Guilini.......

Rossini, the great but also highly entertaining composer.

I won't refer to any other older thread, since there is not, Jane, as I far as I can remember too, except my usual reference to various threads concerning the comparison I dare to make between Bruckner and Rossini, claiming that the former is to appreciate and the lattter to "like", enjoy etc.

I believe Rossini is a great composer in the way that he knew how to please an audience and, at the same time (most of the time), he was very musical, extremely melodious, with a sense of unashamed humour and brilliantly witty (musically).

He is one of those blessed composers that one can appreciate and, at the same time, enjoy listening to his works (at least to a great deal of them). Apart from the "Barber of Seville", a most wonderful Opera indeed (based on recycled material from his own previous works, e.g. in the Overture), there are at least another 5-6 Operas of equivalent value and brilliance (musically and vocally), like La Cenerentola, It Turco in Italia, L'Italiana in Algeri, Otello, Semiramide, Guglielmo Tell etc.

However, he was quite effective in his few attempts in Choral Music. His Stabat Mater is a masterpiece, anyway, while his Petite Messe Solennelle is neither "petite" nor that "solennelle". It is a wonderful work, one of a kind. Even his less performed and known Messa di Gloria is a fine work to explore, vocally an excellent vehicle for great singing.

In instrumental music, one has at least to listen well the miraculously written Sonate a Quattro, originally for two violins, cello and Double-bass, often performed with a String Orchestra. Brilliant and very musical virtuosity for all concerned. Some of his Concertante works (particularly those for Clarinet and Orchestra) are very impressive, greatly demanding for the soloist and highly entertaining. Even his piano music has some jewels, although most of it belongs to what the composer himself called "Sins of Old Age".

If you are interested in particular recordings, I am at your disposal.

Parla

janeeliotgardiner wrote:

janeeliotgardiner wrote:

Any recommendations? Any Rossini fans out there.........?

Stabat Mater is a superb work and the fairly recent recording under Pappano is a must. Very much a foreshadowing of the Verdi Requiem.
The operas are well served on dvd/blu ray, Barber, Comte and on and on, even including his Pietra del Paragone in a very imaginative production. A composer that grows in stature with acquaintance, imho.

Thanks, Tagalie. I will try

Thanks, Tagalie. I will try and find the Stabat Mater later this week. I am not sure about Pappano, however, as I seem to be allergic to Netrebko's voice........

A modern "classic" or a classic must?

You might be right, Jane. Pappano, for all the usual rave reviews, is not that appealing to me either, although it is very well-recorded and produced, so that it projects quite effectively this impressive masterwork. The soloists might be the "best"...available but I still have some reservations about the over the top approach of Netrebko, the not that idiomatic tenor (Lawrence Brownlee) and, to some extent, even with the style of singing of Di Donato. The Bass (D' Arcangelo) and the Chorus are very fine.

It is true that there are not that many good recordings of this great work but, if you don't mind the old(er) recording, give a shot to the magnificent performance of Istvan Kertesz with LSO and Ch. and a superb quartet of truly fine beautiful voices singing with ease, great sense of musicality and meaningfully. These are the wonderful Pilar Lorengar, the very musical Yvonne Minton, the young impressive -in real voce d'oro style- Luciano Pavarotti and the solid sure Bass of Hans Sotin. This is a classic must!

Parla

No protocol between two emperors!

There are very much histories about Rossini and his contemporaries: in 1822 when Rossini visited Vienna, Beethoven was in his high popularity, but during Rossini's residence happened to be an unknown, completely overshadowed by Rossini; also when Rossini visited Versalles Palace in Paris, he knelt besides Napoleon to kiss his ring, and Napoleon did rise him, saying: "no protocol between two emperors", Rossini was the most popular music in this era! Excuse my english, please. Best wishes! oscar.olavarria

 

No protocol, no dedication.

I do not know whether this quote is true, but, at least, Rossini did not dedicate any major composition to the "other" Emperor (e.g. like Beethoven's "Eroica", a short and temporary dedication but a clear dedication after all).

Parla

Another masterpiece

Rossini has left us with jewels of operas, and while I first got to know the Barber that's not my favourite Rossini piece any more. That award goes to Il Viaggio a Reims, a crown jewel amongst his operas, introduced and first recorded in 1984 by Claudio Abbado (for DG, still the best available recording, better than the later Sony/BPO recording). It's difficult to cast, you need a lot of lead singers, virtually every character is as important as the other. There was a lovely staging back then by Luca Ronconi which ran in Pesaro, then Milan & Vienna, I wish they'd issue a DVD of that (you can find clips on youTube in terrible quality). So, that's my favourite Rossini opera. His ouvertures are one more beautiful than the other - under the right conductor.

The wrong recording

So, this is possibly why I never "got" Stabat Mater, I was seduced by rave reviews of the Pappano one, has an allergy to the entirely self-indulgent tone of Netrebko. I must get the Kertesz. May I also recommend the most wonderful recording of Tancredi with Ewa Podles, - to me the equal of any of the great belcantists of this, and the last, century. Also, let's not forget Moses in Egypt, with the famous Prayer at the end. There's a most serviceable recording under the ever-reliable Serafin and a cast of singers who, had they appeared today, would have been hailed as a sensation. 

Rossini's instrumental works too.

In the Pappano's recording of Rossini's Stabat Mater, it is not only the Netrebko thing but the general approach of most of the other singers and the conductor's view of the work. Kertesz is a classic perfromance with the substantive contribution of the stellar cast who sing with ease and sense of the style of this Music.

On this occasion, may I also suggest some of the instrumental works by this quite entertaining, among other virtues he had, composer, like for example the "Variazioni per Clarinetto obbligato con accompagnamento di Orchestra" in a straightforward C major. It is a rarely performed or recorded work but a real musical treat full of joy, gusto and some quite virtuosic music for, practically, the members of a String Quartet (the two violinists, the violist and the cellist, who have a solo part to perform each one of them) along with a Clarinettist who has his own solo to perform as well as opening the whole work. There is a very fine performance and impressive SACD recording, on Channel, with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Ivan Fischer.

Parla

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