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ClassicsOnline Home » ROSSINI: Overtures
Precise, Thrilling, Wow!
After hearing Rossini's Semiramide Overture, a new piece for me, at a recent live performance of a local symphony orchestra, I just had to have a track of it to play. I found it here with other pieces that I absolutely love, The Thieving Magpie and The Barber of Seville Overtures, and some more that I was not familiar with. Bam! Pow! What a collection. Listen with headphones and you will soon be waving your arms around directing the entry of the tympani, strings, woodwinds, and, oh, the piccolo, particularly it the Semiramide; the fidelity is wonderful with headphones as you can zero in on sections and individual instruments in the Zagreb Festival Orchestra.
Watch out for the William Tell Overture; your waiting for the entry of the Lone Ranger, and, finally, there he comes blasting through the last 3 minutes or so. You might just charge out and mow the grass! The Silken Ladder is another thrilling piece. All the track are wonderfully performed and recorded. Without headphones, this is the album (MP3s) that you will turn on high volume when no one else is home and run around the room like crazy. I'm going to play it for my wife when she is dusting; she likes to get it over with quickly and Rossini's Overtures are just the ticket.
If you like thrilling orchestral pieces, performed to perfection, you will not be disappointed with this CD (MP3s). Guaranteed!more....
Rossini Overtures Zagreb Festival Orchestra gives a good Classical rendition of these Overtures.
Gioachino Rossini (1792 - 1868)
Rossini, one of the most successful and popular operatic composers of his time, was born
in Pesaro in 1792, five months after his parents' marriage. His father, a brass-player,
and later teacher of the horn at the Bologna Accademia, had a modest career, disturbed by
the political changes of the period, as the French replaced the Austrians in Northern
Italy. Rossini's mother was a singer and as a boy Gioachino made his appearance with his
father in the pit orchestra and from time to time as a singer with his mother on stage,
going on to work as a keyboard-player in the opera orchestra.
early studies in music were with his father and mother, and with other teachers through
the generosity of rich patrons. In childhood he had already started to show ability as a
composer and his experience in the opera-house bore natural fruit in a remarkable and
meteoric career that began in 1810 with the production of La cambiale di matrimonio in Venice in 1810. There
followed a series of operas, comic and tragic, until the relatively poor reception of
Semiramide in Venice in 1823 turned his attention to Paris. Under the Bourbon King Charles
X Rossini staged French versions of earlier works and, in 1829, Guillaume Tell. A contract
for further operas came to nothing when the King was replaced in the revolution of 1830 by
Louis-Philippe, although eventually Rossini was able to have his agreed annuity restored.
In 1836 he returned to Italy and in spite of ill health concerned himself with the affairs
of the Liceo Musicale in Bologna, but in 1853 took up residence once again in Paris, where
he enjoyed until his death in 1868 a reputation as an arbiter of musical taste, a wit and
a gourmet. During this last period of his life he wrote the series of pieces that he
called the Sins of Old Age, a remarkable display of his gifts, now diverted from the world
of opera into a less spectacular form.
scala di seta (The Silken Ladder) and Il Signor Bruschino are both one act operas, the
first staged in Venice in May 1812 and the second in the same city in January 1813. The
ladder of the title is used by the hero Dorvil to visit his wife Giulia, forbidden to
marry by her guardian, in whose house she lives. Signor Bruschino, also derived from a
French farce, centres on old Bruschino, whose son was to have married the heroine Sofia,
but has been supplanted by Florville, whom all now believe to be the old man's son.
in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers)
was first staged in Venice in May 1813, the third Rossini opera to be mounted in the city
that year and the first of his full comic operas. A lively overture, with an ominous
opening, introduces a plot in which the Italian girl, Isabella, who is sailing the seas in
search of her lover Lindoro, enslaved by the Bey of Algiers, is driven by shipwreck to
that country. The Bey falls in love with her but is outwitted as Isabella and Lindoro sail
Almaviva, or L'inutile precauzione, later known as Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville),
based on Beaumarchais and on a libretto that
had been used by Paisiello in 1782, was staged in Rome in February 1816, a disaster on the
first night, through the hostility of Paisiello's supporters, but a success at its second
performance. The sparkling brilliance of the overture is a prelude to the outwitting of
Rosina's jealous guardian by Count Almaviva, abetted by the barber and factotum Figaro.
giocoso La Cenerentola (Cinderella), based
on Perrault's Cendrillon, was first produced
in Rome in January 1817, written in some haste after the production in the preceding month
of the Shakespearian tragedy Otello in
Naples. This was followed in May by the first production of La gazza ladra (The Thieving
Magpie) at La Scala, Milan. The subject is, as with Cinderella, one that has an element of
pathos. A French servant-girl has been found guilty of stealing silver cutlery and has
been condemned to death, to be reprieved when the magpie of the title turns out to be the
Semiramide marked the end of Rossini's
meteoric career as a composer of opera in Italy. The libretto was adapted from Voltaire
and the tragedy had served a number of earlier composers. Semiramis, Queen of Babylon, is
in love with Assur and with him murders the king. She later falls in love with a young man
who turns out to be her son and is killed in error by Assur, killed in his turn by the
young man, Arsace. To all this the overture makes a fitting introduction.
follows schiller's drama on the Swiss patriot. The opera was mounted at the Paris Opera in
August 1829 and was to be re-staged time and again, but generally with considerable cuts
in its original length of six hours. The overture is different in character from earlier
Rossini operatic overtures, consisting as it does of four sections of programmatic music.
Five solo cellos suggest alpine calm, followed by a storm and a pastoral scene in which
cor anglais, flute and triangle join. This leads to the well known music to the sound of
which so many celluloid heroes have ridden to the rescue of the spuriously innocent.
second city in modern Yugoslavia, occupies an important place in the musical life of the
country. The Zagreb Festival Orchestra is a special recording orchestra comprising the top
musicians from the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Zagreb Radio Symphony Orchestra and
the Zagreb Opera Orchestra.
Hungary in 1938, Michael Halász began his professional career as principal bassoonist in
the Philharmonia Hungarica, a position he occupied for eight years, before studying
conducting in Essen. His first engagement as a conductor was at the Munich Gaertnerplatz
Theatre, where, from 1972 to 1975, he directed all operetta productions. In 1975 he moved
to Frankfurt as principal Kapellmeister under Christoph von Dohnányi, working with the
most distinguished singers and conducting the most important works of the operatic
repertoire. Engagements as a guest-conductor followed, and in 1977 Dohnányi took him to
the Staatsoper in Hamburg as principal Kapellmeister.
Michael Halász was appointed General Musical Director at the opera-house in Hagen, and
there has further developed his experience of the repertoire, while undertaking guest
engagements, which included television appearances as conductor in English and German
versions of the Gerard Hoffnung Music Festival, as well as work with the Philharmonia
Hungarica, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the Hilversum
Marco Polo label, Michael Halász has recorded works by Richard Strauss, Anton Rubinstein,
Schreker and Miaskovsky and for Naxos works by Tchaikovsky, Rossini and Beethoven.
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