Rossini: Overtures

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Rossini
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Overtures
PERFORMER: Hanover Band/Roy Goodman
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68139 2 DDD
In a detailed booklet note, Roy Goodman describes Rossini’s scoring as revealed in manuscripts and first editions, and how his instrumental requirements have been matched up with the resources of a modern period-instrument orchestra. Fascinating as this information is, the proof of any pudding, as the gourmet-composer would have been the first to observe, is in the eating: and what a tasty dish Goodman and the Hanover Band have set before us.

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Though these pieces are familiar in performances by ensembles ranging from brass bands to symphony orchestras, they have rarely been heard in our day with the range and definition of instrumental colour offered here. The sudden accents (sforzandi) have real bite, and Rossini’s distinctive combining of different instruments in the same melody emerges as particularly piquant. His reputation as an original and masterly writer for the orchestra has never been more convincingly vindicated. The interpretations are rhythmically sharp and precise, but with no suggestion of the mechanical: instead, their forward drive is joyous and ebullient, and the players’ articulation unusually clear in fast passages – partly because they are, for once, not taken too fast. The sound has a wide dynamic range and attractive ambience. Wholly invigorating. George Hall