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Brilliant Classics

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Six String Sonatas

Sonata No.1 in G Major [14:11]
Sonata No.2 in A Major [14:53]
Sonata No.3 in C Major [12:46]
Sonata No.4 in B flat Major [16:09]
Sonata No.5 in E flat Major [16:51]
Sonata No.6 in D Major [18:31]
Prelude, theme and variations for horn and piano [11:51]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)

Larghetto, theme and variations for violin and piano [16:18]
Simone Baroncini (horn)
Massimo Belli (violin)
Victoria Terekiev (piano)
Haydn Philharmonia Soloists/Ezio Rojatti
Rec. Chiesa di S. Maria della Fratta, San Daniele del Friuli, Italy, 26 Aug-2 Sept 1991. DDD
licensed from Nuova Era Records, Italy.
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92116 [57.59+63.31]

One thing that has always intrigued me is why there are more child prodigies in music than in any other field. Writers need some life experience before they are able to become successful, or write anything meaningful to others, painters invariably need the same, so how come that such a large minority of composers can write music that speaks to generations of people at such a young age. Indeed often their interpreters are just as young. Rossini wrote the six string sonatas at the age of twelve in the space of three days in 1804 at the home of Agostino Triossi, the son of a wealthy family of grain merchants. They were first heard at one of the many musical soirées held during that summer when Rossini was staying there at Triossiís invitation.

Rossini must have possessed formidable talent and to have been able to produce music easily for he left his autographed manuscript at the property. Years later he confessed that he presumed that the compositions had been used as wrapping paper for salami! However, they were soon in circulation in various versions and have always proved popular.

There is an infectious feeling of joie de vivre about them all and it is difficult not to smile while listening to them. These lively and happy sounding compositions were the "light music" of their time but thereís no mistaking the highly inventive and creative mind that penned them. They are delightful works played here by a group of players that clearly enjoys them.

The two-disc set also includes Rossiniís Prelude, theme and variations for horn and piano written 53 years after the sonatas but possessing the same sunny mood. Rossiniís father was a horn player and he wrote for the instrument throughout his career. This piece shows the full potential of the horn. There are one or two slight "fluffs" in this performance but they didnít spoil it for me and I was pleased to have heard it for the first time.

Rounding the set off is the Larghetto, theme and variations for violin and piano by Donizetti, a delightful work in which the two instruments share the music as equals. They complete a set of compositions full of sparkle and a feeling of life-enhancing well-being.

Steve Arloff



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