Rossini: Instrumental Music - Fischer

Rossini: Instrumental Music - Fischer

Channel Classics  CCS SA 27708

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Rossini: Instrumental Music

Budapest Festival Orchestra
Ivan Fischer (conductor)

Rossini was a genius, especially as a melody-composer. His instrumental music is like colorful opera arias or ensembles without words. To perform these melodies one needs to declamate, articulate and characterize like actors on stage. And of course one needs to have a brilliant, fast tongue and fast fingers. Italians talk fast with beautiful diction, especially in a heated discussion. It has been great fun to record this music with members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, where it is our aim to offer creative opportunities for individual members. I believe that this music needs clarity of sound: like that of the dry but transparent Italian theatres, sparkling of vitality.

Ivan Fischer

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DSD recording
Reviews (1)

Review by John Broggio - December 3, 2008

As one has come to expect, a demonstration from all concerned of the highest quality and musicality.

The programme is as follows:
La Scala di Seta - overture (1812)
Serenata per piccolo compresso (1823)
String Sonata No.1 in G major (1804)
Le Rendez-vous de chasse (1828)
Variazioni a piu strumenti obbligati (1809)
Andante, e Tema con Variazioni per quattro strumenti a fiato (1812)
Semiramide - overture (1823)
and as can be seen, many of the works are rarities. All of these items except the La Scala di Seta overture are new to SACD (to the best of my knowledge - corrections to me please!); indeed, many seem to be new to the recorded catalogue on any medium.

For once, the companion notes rightly credit all the soloists for each and every work that warrants a mention - kudos to Channel Classics for doing what all other companies should as well. Needless to say, Fischer is scrupulous in his choice of tempi and the balances are extraordinarily light - the BFO has been audibly pared down in the size of string section employed. There are few touches that will strike the listener as unusual, save perhaps for some very small and tasteful glissandi in the violins in the main theme of Semiramide; they bring a smile to my ears! Slower movements are given a grace and nobility that few conductors of this stature would bring to this music (frequently, this repertoire is better served by those trying to make a name for themselves rather than those already well known, churning out a "greatest hits" disc.) The faster movements/sections too have plenty of highly musical phrases yet they also have a delightful zest that keeps the ears interest throughout. Even in the finale to the string sonata, where the tempo is notably slower than some adopt, the pointing and spring in the playing gives no hint of sluggishness.

The Serenata is really a septet (oboe, flute, cor anglais and string quartet) which is most enjoyable although, as its title suggests, a little lightweight. The "Rendez-vous" is a piece for 4 solo horns and orchestra (Rossini's father was a keen player and it was composed in homage shortly after completing William Tell) and has shades of Berlioz in the brilliance of the orchestration. The two sets of variations include solo parts for violin, viola, flute, cello and clarinet (1809) and flute, clarinet, bassoon and horn (1812) and are treated almost operatically by Rossini. Needless to say that all the playing is brilliant and brilliantly characterised - there is no way on a blind listening that these players could be identified as central/Eastern European. The ensemble as a whole sounds as though they are having great fun, letting their hair down without a drop in standards.

In his customary note to the release, Fischer proclaims that "I believe this music needs clarity of sound: like that of the dry but transparent Italian theatres, sparkling of vitality." Well the BFO deliver the last part and Channel Classics deliver on the first - it is a quite remarkable transformation of the normal BFO sound given to them; it is truly secco (though far better than that heard in many an opera house) and there is ample clarity to allow all the many details of orchestration and inflection to be carried across. Nor is it so dry that the solo instruments have no bloom - a perfect solution to Fischer's request. It is perhaps just a shade to dry to warrant perfection on the audio stakes but with such playing, few would mind even if it were in mono!

Once again, a demonstration disc from these great artists of music.

Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and


Sonics (Multichannel):

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