Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Six Sonatas for Strings (1804)
No. 1 in G major
No. 2 in A major
No. 3 in C major
No. 4 in B flat major
No. 5 in E flat major
No. 6 in D major
Chamber Orchestra Kremlin/Misha Rachlevsky
Recorded July 1992, Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory
CLAVES CD 50-9222 [78.58]
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Rossini was always an instinctive composer and inspiration came fluently to him. It was characteristic that he should exclaim: 'Mozart was the inspiration of my youth, the desperation of my mature years, and the consolation of my old age.' Like Mozart he was blessed with a creative talent which emerged early, encouraged by his studies at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna.

In 1804, at the age of just twelve, Rossini confirmed his prodigious gifts by composing six sonate a quattro (originally for two violins, viola and double-bass), now known by the title String Sonatas. These delightful compositions, which pre-date all his operatic works, show not only a lively and graceful sense of both line and development, but offer evidence also of one of the greatest assets of his mature operatic style: his wit. This is delivered, particularly in the vivacious outer movements such as that of the Sonata No. 1 (tr.1: 0.00), with a particularly effective ear for unexpected turns of phrase. For though these are apprentice compositions, they remain thoroughly successful in achieving Rossini's aims, and that is precisely why the music is still performed today.

These performances by Chamber Orchestra Kremlin are a credit to all involved. To begin with, the playing is absolutely first rate, with crisp ensemble and a marvellous bloom. Try the finale of Sonata No. 2 for a good example of these particular strengths (tr.6: 0.00). The recorded sound is full and rich, admirably suited to string music, very much up-front in a glossy way. This is not a problem, quite the reverse in fact, but it may mean that the volume level will need to be lower than usual.

While the lively music gains from the dedicated virtuosity of these players, there is no lack of sensitivity when it is required. The charming Andantino of the Fifth Sonata brings as good an example as any (tr.14: 0.00). If there is a criticism to be made it is one of taste, since some listeners may find these performances stray too far in the orchestral direction, away from the chamber music origins of these delightful compositions. But when it is all so very well done, such caveats do seem carping.

Terry Barfoot


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Sonata No. 1 in G Major:



Sonata No. 2 in A Major:



Sonata No. 3 in C Major:



Sonata No. 4 in B Flat Major:
Allegro Vivace



Sonata No. 5 in E Flat Major:
Allegro Vivace



Sonata No. 6 in D Major :
Allegro Spiritoso

Andante assai

Tempesta. Allegro

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