ROSSINI: Famous Overtures = The Barber of Seville, The Italian in Algiers, La cambiale di matrimonio, The Silken Ladder, Tancredi, Il Signor Bruschino, The Turk in Italy, L’inganno felice – St. Martin in the Fields/ Sir Neville Marriner – Pentatone

by | Sep 17, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

ROSSINI: Famous Overtures = The Barber of Seville, The Italian
in Algiers, La cambiale di matrimonio, The Silken Ladder, Tancredi, Il
Signor Bruschino, The Turk in Italy, L’inganno felice – Academy of St.
Martin in the Fields/ Sir Neville Marriner – Pentatone 4.0 RQR SACD PTC
5186 106, 52:40 ****:

Ah, Philips must have had a lot faith in surround sound for music back
in l974, because quadraphonic sound was seriously dying on the vine by
that time and they were still recording in four channels for possible
commercial release if a viable multichannel delivery system ever showed
up. Well, now 30 years later it has. Pentatone retains the 4.0 channels
without remixing for 5.0 or 5.1 and the results are that nothing really
seems to be missing. (While the center channel is still a subject of
controversy, it’s pretty much agreed the LFE channel is beside the
point for classical.)

London’s Brent Town Hall was the venue for this surround session and
there’s a good feeling of the hall space. These eight opera overtures
were written by Rossini over just four years early in his career, 1810
to 1814. Some of them sound like works from far later, just as the
early dates of most Berlioz works may surprise students of music
history. Seven of the overtures share a typical Rossini structure: slow
introduction, main subject with two themes which is halted by a
ritardando, then into a new key before leading to an exciting
coda.  All of them are delightful, witty and full of life. 
Marriner, who occasionally seems rather sleep-inducing to me, brings
out all the Rossini vim and vigor, and the surround sonics make you
feel you’re at the center of a wonderful pops concert program free of
kitsch. Speaking of that, thanks be for the obviously-planned omission
of the William Tell Overture!

– John Sunier

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