Ponchielli Orchestral Works
Except for the success of La Gioconda Ponchielli's rather short career was a sequence of rebuffs, disappointments and rotten luck, and posterity has been no kinder to him than his contemporaries were. One of these fine days somebody will record one of those operas—
The melodic writing throughout, indeed, is undistinguished, faded Rossini and watered-down Donizetti, mostly. Only in the two opera overtures does Ponchielli manage to find decently sustained melodies, and the assumption that they are lifted from the operas in question might imply that the longer and more satisfying lines found here and in La Gioconda are due to a need for the human voice as a stimulus. The two Sinfonias, so called, in effect overtures in search of operas, are really desperately poor stuff.
The Minsk Philharmonic, competent but no more, are closely and rather glaringly recorded. Bongiovanni allow a gap of about two seconds between items, a vacant pause rather shorter than some of Ponchielli's own.'