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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Philips
WORKS: Viola Concerto in E flat, Op. 3; Viola Concertino in E flat; Divertimento in F; Rondo in G
PERFORMER: Massimo Paris (viola)I Musici
As it happens, one of my friends was in part responsible for the first thematic catalogue of the known compositions by Alessandro Rolla (Luigi Alberto Bianchi, together with Luigi Inzaghi, Milan 1981), whose music has been something of a discovery during the past decade. He was a famous violin and viola player but also wrote 576 pieces of music (275 published, 301 in manuscript, some of dubious attribution), including 21 violin concertos and 15 for viola. Rolla was Mozart’s contemporary: he was born a year after music’s greatest genius and died fifty years after 1791. The mind reels at the thought of Mozart living until 1841… Rolla was born in Pavia and made his career in northern Italy, first in Parma and then at La Scala, Milan, where he was leader of the orchestra (as violinist, of course). His compositions are by no means run-of-the-mill and were much admired in ottocento Italy. Personally I would have liked a little more variety in the choice of repertoire, but even with the predominance of the viola on this CD, the music is well worth hearing and studying. It is brilliantly played by Massimo Paris and I Musici. Of the multilingual notes the best is the French by Marc Vignal (it would have been better to translate his and suppress the German/English and Italian commentaries). Another noteworthy addition to the CD repertoire. HC Robbins Landon