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Thread: Rossini overtures

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    Default Rossini overtures

    I couldn't find anything in the archives on this topic, and I've not seen any threads that I can recall...

    Rossini overtures are great concert favorites, and appear frequently on orchestra programs...the lively, sparkly energetic overtures are most charming, and contain many great, familiar tunes and passages....

    Barber of Seville is probably the most popular, most often played, but William Tell, La Gazza Ladra, Semiramide, Silken Ladder and Cinderella are also very popular...
    My first exposure to these works came in high school - in orchestra, or in band transcriptions....they are a staple in the musical diet of any orchestra musician.

    My first recording was the Toscanini/NBC version - which I still love - Toscanini certainly gets the sparkly effervescence of these works, quick tempi, and razor-sharp precision....one of my teachers - Wm Polisi, original Bassoon I of NBCSO - told how nerve-wracking it could be when Toscanini set off at a ripping fast tempo <<of course, we were on it, we played it...>>

    Szell/Cleveland also released a disc of Rossini overtures - of course well-played, with fine solo work, but to me a little stiff, "buttoned down" - which for Rossini, seems a bit too straight.
    I've not heard Muti in this music, but I'd like to - he recorded a disc with Philharmonia Orch, which sounds very interesting. they did a fine Verdi disc...

    My long time favorite is Reiner/Chicago whose wonderful disc has been a mainstay in the discography for many decades....
    Here we have great energy, vitality, panache - with often speedy tempi and great precision...the solo work throughout is stellar - wonderful woodwind work which is such a feature of Rossini's music....Reiner, for all he was a dictator-conductor, did allow his principals plenty of expressive license in their solos...
    The brass must be mentioned as well - the famous trumpet call [Herseth, Nashan] in Wm Tell is delivered with a crackling, crisp power....the trombone playing is esp noteworthy - the "tempest" music in Wm Tell is is pounded out with stunning clarity - the circus-march roulades and scales delivered with great power and accuracy....same with La Gazza Ladra...special citation for trombone I [R. Lambert] in Barber of Seville - Reiner uses the revised version [I think there were several revisions] - which features some stratospheric technical work at blistering speed, performed with total accuracy and bravura...
    The most recent release of this great disc [RCA Living Stereo] also includes Mozart, Overture to Don Giovanni from 3/59
    Last edited by Heck148; Apr-14-2018 at 15:51.

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    Senior Member poconoron's Avatar
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    I love the Rossini overtures and operas.
    The most tremendous genius raised Mozart above all masters, in all centuries and in all the arts.
    Richard Wagner

    Mozart is the greatest composer of all. Beethoven created his music, but the music of Mozart is of such purity and beauty that one feels he merely found it — that it has always existed as part of the inner beauty of the universe waiting to be revealed.

    We cannot despair about mankind knowing that Mozart was a man.

    Albert Einstein

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    Some of the best overtures I've heard:

    Barber of Seville: Christian Benda, Prague Sinfonia Orchestra
    Il viaggio a Reims: Chailly, National Philharmonic Orchestra
    L'italiana in Algeri: Marriner, ASMF

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    Quote Originally Posted by poconoron View Post
    I love the Rossini overtures and operas.
    There's a great Rossini Opera Overture compilation by the Chicago Symphony conducted by Fritz Reiner that is really, really fine!
    Feeling peckish, I put on my trainers and a khaki jumper and left my flat, only to find that some tosser had parked his lorry right across the pavement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpowders View Post
    There's a great Rossini Opera Overture compilation by the Chicago Symphony conducted by Fritz Reiner that is really, really fine!
    Yes, I higjlighted that disc in OP...

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    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Muti did a great job on EMI also, not sure if it's been re-released yet.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    I greatly enjoy both the Reiner/CSO and the Fricsay/Berlin Radio Orchestra Rosinni overture recordings.

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    I have a few highlights collections and the Marriner ASMF 3 disc set (which I like a lot). The best I've heard of the newer recordings is the Benda / Prague Sinfonia 4 disc set on Naxos. Lovely performances and excellent sound.

    41Z37R0G-HL._SX355_.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Muti did a great job on EMI also, not sure if it's been re-released yet.
    I'd like to hear that one....it may be available.....

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    I have always enjoyed my disc of Giulini conducting the Philharmonia.

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    I'm going to have to dig out my Rossini overtures. I have Marriner's recording, and it's in a corner covered with dust.

    Someone said an overture is in sonata form but without the development. Is that true in Rossini's case?

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    For Rossini - tempo is really rather critical for convincing performance....
    the music generally needs plenty of pep, zip, but it shouldn't be rushed or too hard pressed....of course, slow, heavy Rossini is deadly [come on guys it ain't Bruckner!!]..there is a fine line between a peppy tempo, yet one the still lets the music breathe....

    I can illustrate best by citing Rossini's 4tets for Woodwinds [fl,cl,hn, bn] which,IIRC, are taken from the string sonatas[??] - or maybe it's the other way around....in any case these are great fun, and of course, contain many flashy technical displays for each instrument....I have the Naxos CD of the Michael Thompson 4tet, an English group led by hornist Thompson....this group plays well overall, they are fine musicians, but some of the tempi are simply too fast, too rushed. at times the musicians are just scrambling to get the notes in on time, which is impressive in itself, but there is no phrasing, shaping or nuance in the playing - it is simply a technical scramble to pack all the notes in before the next downbeat.

    I have an old LP [never made it to CD] of the NY WW 5tet Members performing 4 of the 4tets [Baron, Glazer, Barrows, Garfield]. This is awesome!! I think the tempi may be just a click or two slower, but what a difference - the notes go by plenty fast, but they are all well-phrased, shaped into musical statements that are most convincing and delightful to hear...the playing is light and clear, and very agile, and the wonderful lyrical tunes pop right out....it's funny how much difference just a slight tempo variation can make.
    To me, this is what makes Rossini's music so attractive....plenty of zip, flamboyance, but also an "elegance", as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    I'd like to hear that one....it may be available.....
    Look at this:


    http://www.bookbutler.com/music/comp...=0724347956522
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
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    I like the National Philharmonic Orchestra performances under Chailly (Decca) on the overtures.

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