Rossini, Donizetti, Cherubini, Bellini,

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COMPOSERS: Bellini,Cherubini,Donizetti,Rossini
LABELS: Decca
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Italian Music for Strings
WORKS: String Sonata No. 1; String Sonata No. 2; String Sonata No. 3; String Sonata No. 4; String Sonata No. 5; String Sonata No. 6; String Quartet in D; Etude No. 2 for French Horn and Strings; Concerto in E flat for Oboe and Strings
PERFORMER: Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner
CATALOGUE NO: 443 838-2 ADD (1965-69)
Twelve-year-old Rossini composed his string sonatas for the odd combination of two violins, cello and double bass; his patron played that instrument, and was given an unusual amount to do. Marriner’s 1960s recording bulks the scoring up to full string orchestra, with added violas, and the result sounds overblown, though the music is always pleasing.

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The same problem of scale applies to the string orchestral version of the more dramatic Donizetti quartet. The more austere study for horn by Cherubini is beautifully played by Barry Tuckwell, and the early Bellini concerto, if flippant, has a certain urbanity. The sound is impeccable. George Hall