Rossini: Piano Works, Vol. 1

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COMPOSERS: Rossini
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Piano Works, Vol. 1
PERFORMER: Marco Sollini (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10190
Rossini’s copious and largely forgotten piano music includes 13 volumes of Péchés de vieillesse (Sins of old age), written in his final decade long after he’d ceased composing operas. These salon-like miniatures incorporate grace, charm, wit and parody, yet the engaging and enthusiastic advocacy of the booklet notes is sadly not matched by these rather lacklustre performances. Without a greater pianistic polish and refinement Rossini’s piano music will always be a hard sell. The most immediate difficulty is the washy recorded sound, which betrays a venue akin to a swimming pool. While the music may be uneven, Marco Sollini – for all his dedication to the cause – is disappointingly leaden-footed. From the opening Waltz, described by the notes as being in a ‘brilliant drawing-room style’, the lack of charm and sparkle is strikingly evident. Time and again the simplest of melodic ideas cries out for more supple phrasing, a more lyrical singing line and a greater variation of instrumental colour. There is some impressive virtuosity – Impromptu tarantellisé, for example – but it is delivered at some cost, crucially lacking a chic and effortless elegance. Tim Parry

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