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Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle / Marina Rebeka, Sara Mingardo, Francesco Meli, Alex Esposito. Pappano

Notes & Reviews:

EMI Classics Releases an exciting new recording of Gioacchino Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle. Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra e Coro dell' Accademia Nazionale di Santa Ceilia in what is considered by many to be one of Rossini's greatest achievements. Soloists Marina Rebeka, Sara Mingardo, Francesco Meli and Alex Esposito are also featured in this extravagant release. Part mass, part cantata, Gioacchino Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle was the most substantial works of his final years. It is a beautiful and elegant piece which movingly expresses the composer's hopes and joys and the fear of his own mortality. It was written in 1863 for a private performance and is scored for four soloists and chorus, with harmonium, and piano accompaniment. "The last", the composer called it, of y "peches de vieillesse" (sins of old age). Rossini discreetly orchestrated the Petite Messe Solennelle during 1866-67, without losing its candor and subtlety. The resulting version had its first public performance on February 28, 1869, three months after the composer's death, and was performed in the composer's own orchestra version at the Theatre Italien. The music ranges from hushed intensity to boisterous high spirits, and abound in the memorable tunes and rhythmic vitality for which Rossini became justly famous. Antonio Pappano, credited as one of the greatest interpreters of Rossin, is Music Director of both the Orchestra dell' Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia has been invigorated in recent years under the music directorship of Antonio Pappano. Named one of the leading orchestras in the world by Classic FM Magazine in 2010, the Orchestra and Pappano have performed at the Salzburg Festival and at the BBC Proms, among others.

Financial Times
Pappano’s grand-operatic account in full orchestral clothing has a fine quartet of opera singers... but its glory is the wonderful Santa Cecilia chorus.

Sunday Times
Pappano and his Santa Cecilia forces bring invigorating ardour to the composer’s treatment of the Latin Mass.

The Guardian, 21st March 2013
The performances all have the sense of utter security, tonal depth and fabulous dynamic range that are characteristic of the Berlin Philharmonic in Rattle's era...The Berliners are so much on top of their parts that there is something almost too secure about the result...It's a superbly judged performance, with just the right balance between individuality in the wind playing and immaculate ensemble.

Sunday Times, 31st March 2013
Stravinsky famously disliked Karajan's supersmooth 1960s account with this orchestra, but he surely would have responded more positively to Rattle, who never allows sheer beauty of sound to undermine the rhythmic pulsing...The Berliners' strings may be plusher than Birmingham's, and the woodwind soloists are instrumental royalty, but Rattle preserves the visceral barbarism of this ever-astonishing score.

The Independent, 30th March 2013
It is the suavity of the score that startles, especially in Rattle's subtle use of rubato (stolen time) and the cool sensuality of the woodwind solos. Those woodwind players - currently vying with the principals of the Concertgebouw for the title of world's finest - shine again in Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments.

The Times, 5th April 2013
Beautiful, all beautiful. But beauty is not enough. We also need the primitive and rude: ingredients that Rattle and the suave Berliners tend to deliver wearing kid gloves...If you're after an interpretation in love with the score's quieter corners, go for Rattle with confidence; if you want Stravinsky red in tooth and claw, he's often hard to find.

Financial Times, 6th April 2013
You could be forgiven for thinking this was still Herbert von Karajan's orchestra, such is the depth of colour in The Rite of Spring and weight of string sonority in Apollon MusagFte.

BBC Music Magazine, May 2013
The physical impact here of maximum Berlin Philharmonic firepower is part of what the music itself calls for...Compared to the clotted cream sonorities in evidence here, Rattle's CBSO recording is far truer to the music's poised incisiveness and grace. But his new reading of The Rite of Spring with the Berlin Philharmonic is a formidable achievement.

The Arts Desk, 6th April 2013
It's indecently luxuriant and played with a confidence which almost borders on complacency...This recording is full of...sounds which will have you dusting down your miniature score in disbelief. Rarely has the second half's intro sounded so decadent and sweaty, and I whooped for joy at hearing a normally inaudible low horn rasp a few minutes near the close.

MusicWeb International, April 2013
This is a pretty considerable account of Le Sacre. I think there is, at times, a degree of greater urgency than was the case in 1987 - perhaps the presence of an audience helped; perhaps it's the fact that an even more experienced Rattle is now at the helm of a virtuoso orchestra...a refined and excellent performance of Apollon MusagFte which benefits not only from the virtuosity of the Berlin string players but also from the fastidious ear of their conductor.

The Telegraph, 19th April 2013
[Stravinsky] would surely have warmed to this new version. Rattle's sense of pacing and proportion is unerring, and the sound has a startling vividness that makes this familiar piece seem new. One hears thickets of ticking, twittering inner parts that normally stay in the background.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome (2012-11-10&2012-11-12_2013-).



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Works Details

>Rossini, Gioachino : Petite Messe solennelle
  • Performers: Francesco Meli (Tenor); Daniele Rossi (Organ); Alex Esposito (Bass); Marina Rebeka
  • Conductor: Antonio Pappano
  • Ensemble: Orchestra della Accademia Naxionale di Santa Cecilia
  • Notes: Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome (2012-11-10&2012-11-12_2013-)
  • Running Time: 77 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1863