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Rossini: 14 Overtures

4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 13, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Rossini: 14 Overtures [Audio CD] Gioachino Rossini; Riccardo Chailly and National Philharmonic Orch.

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Rossini's Overtures are absolute jewels of the Classical period. He used them as his musical "calling cards," and with the exception of William Tell, there's absolutely no relationship between the overture and opera it introduces. The famous Barber of Seville overture, for example, was used previously for two tragic operas, including one called Elizabeth, Queen of England! All they were supposed to do was entertain the audience and let them know that the real business was about to begin. And that's just what they've been doing ever since. This comprehensive collection, at two discs for the price of one, will keep you in Rossini for a good, long time. --David Hurwitz
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: National Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Riccardo Chailly
  • Composer: Gioachino Rossini
  • Audio CD (June 13, 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00000425N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,669 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This CD is quite amazing for several reasons. For starters, you get two CDs for the price of one. Therefore, for the price of one CD, you get 14 Rossini overtures (I must admit that I have not even heard of some of the overtures included). All of the works included are well recorded, so there is very, very little of the hiss or blip that plague other CDs. The best aspect of the CD, however, does not lie in its technical values. Instead, it is the performances themselves that caught my attention. The interpretations taken by Chailly and the New Philharmonic Orchestra are certainly fresh, though not necessarily ones that I would feel safe taking had I been the conductor. The tempi and dynamics of several famous passages (some from the popular Barber of Seville) are not what I am used to, though I was pleasantly surprised to learn that such interpretations are possible without sounding bad. This CD is definitely a good buy. Even if you disagree with some of the interpretations, you still get two CDs for the cost of one. And, for those who are tired of hearing the same performances over and over, these two CDs offer something new that may very well recaptivate your heart.
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As far as I'm concerned, I don't need to search the field for any other Rossini overture CDs--this 2-CD set has it covered. Chailly's interpretations of these pieces are wonderfully exuberant, and the National Philharmonic plays with precision and flair. These CDs have become the standard I use to judge other recordings of Rossini overtures. Granted, they're not perfect: As another reviewer pointed out, Chailly takes some passages differently than we're used to hearing them (the end of the Barber of Seville overture is faster than usual, for example). However, the orchestra is so competent and the conductor so assured that these small, occasional differences are refreshing rather than annoying. As well, there are (very) occasional moments where the orchestra slips a little out of synch, but only because they're having so much fun playing the music. This is Rossini the way it was meant to sound--playful, melodious and energetic to the end.
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Format: Audio CD
I originally bought the LP versions way back before CDs were introduced. High excitement is the best way I can describe the performances. I have heard nothing since to equal Chailly's energetic read. I haven't gotten this CD version yet, but the first volume one did have better quality miking then the second volume. The price makes it worth just buying the CD instead of trying to digitize my LPs.
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Format: Audio CD
These two well recorded discs were recorded in 1981 and 1984. A while later Chailly re-recorded a number of the overtures with the La Scala orchestra with very good sound and faster tempi. Those were too fast for the lower brass to articulate as cleanly as on this pair of discs.

The performances on these two discs are taken about as fast as can be done with absolute precision and clarity on modern lower brass with their wider bores. Only period brass can go faster with precision because of their smaller bores which enable both greater flexibility and rapid response to tonguing (a smaller column of air to move!)

Apart from that consideration, Chailly clearly encourages and enables his orchestra to play with style, some swagger and evident enjoyment. This is an achievement with such often-played repertoire. Too often discs of Rossini overtures became mere technical displays of fast playing. Beecham, many years ago, knew how to obtain musical rewards from these pieces and that awareness has been largely grasped by the period instrument productions. It is therefore a pleasure to report that Chailly's 'traditional' set here is of the same awareness.

In conclusion I would suggest that this set deserves to be given serious consideration by anyone interested in 'traditional' big band Rossini playing done very well and well recorded. I would also suggest supplementing this with one of the period orchestra versions too - but that is a different story!
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Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent anthology of Rossini's best known overtures to his Operas.
They are beautifully played and very idiomatic. I enjoyed a lot Chailly's careful
detail in every overture, giving them their own personality without loss of Rossinian
language. Perhaps we will still find a better Guillaume Tell overture through Bernstein's
legendary CBS recording, but Chailly is also very compelling in this orchestral wonder.
For the whole compilation, this is your choice.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a very interesting version because Chailly includes some of the almost unknown overtures by the great italian composer like Torvaldo e Dorliska. We can listen also the wonderful "The italian girl in Algiers", and many more where we see the magic "Crescendo" , an imposing Rossini's characteristic.
Chailly and the orchestra are very correct, and the result is a good sound under Rossinian's style. You can get it with pleasure.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Rossini Overtures have always been a favorite. Over the years, some complitaions were lacking in the number of Overtures or not performed as well as this one. The performances here are crisp, sweeping and majestic. If you love classically romantic, melodic, and energetic performances, this one is the best I've found ever.
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