MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

alternatively Classicsonline Crotchet

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Complete Piano Edition - Vol. 2
Péchés de vieillesse, Book 4 (1857-1868)
Quatre Mendiants [20:04]
I. Les Figues sèches (Me voilà - Bonjour Madame) [4:55]       
II. Les Amandes (Minuit sonne - Bonsoir Madame) [5:22]       
III. Les Raisins (À ma petite perruche) [6:01]   
IV. Les Noisettes (À ma chère Nini) [3:38]      
Quatre Hors d'œuvres [26:20]
I. Les Radis [8:08]
II. Les Anchois (Thème et variations) [6:19]
III. Les Cornichons (Introduction) [4:07]
IV. Le Beurre (Thème et variations) [7:40]
Péchés de vieillesse, Book 10 (1857-1868)  
Miscellanée pour piano [15:03]
I. Prélude blagueur, QR xviii, 1-20 [7:41]         
II. Des tritons s'il vous plaît (montée-descente), QR xviii 21-4 [1:50]    
III. Petite pensée, QR xviii 25-8 [2:14]            
IV. Une bagatelle, QR xviii 29-30 [1:15]          
V. Mélodie italienne (une bagatelle). In nomine Patris, QR xviii 31-2 [1:02]
VI. Petit caprice (style Offenbach), QR ii, 1-7 [3:01]
Marco Sollini (piano)
rec. 11-13 November 2000, Camponogara, Venice, Italy
CHANDOS CHAN10319 [63:48]


Experience Classicsonline

Rossini spent much of his career inventing – and re-inventing – some of the 19th century’s most effervescent operatic scores. It was only in his last years when, settled in Paris with his second wife Olympe, he turned his attention to the piano. Prolific as always he wrote plenty of music for the instrument, all of it collected in this three-volume series from Chandos.

It’s a rewarding project, especially when played and recorded with such distinction. The Italian pianist Marco Sollini, who won first prize in the ‘From Bach to Bartók’ competition at Imola in 1985, has had some formidable teachers, Gerhard Oppitz, Bruno Leonard Gelber and Alexis Weissenberg among them. Thankfully he is one of those pianists who combines sparkling technique with spontaneity and wit.

These qualities are in abundance in Rossini’s piano pieces. The first set on the disc is from the fourth book of the thirteen-volume Péchés de vieillesse. It’s a gastronomic feast as well as a musical one. The four dried fruits of Quatre Mendiants – figs, almonds, raisins and hazelnuts – are presented as affectionate tributes to Olympe and the family pets, Perruche the parrot and Nini the dog.

The sunny little flourishes that permeate the first movement – Rossini waking his wife with a plate of dried figs – are a pointer of what’s to come, although he adds some daring harmonies to spice things up a little. As a foil to the teasing but always affectionate breakfast treat Rossini presents the midnight almonds with a dash of real tenderness too.

Sollini phrases and colours the music very well indeed. It is the kind of repertoire that can so easily become bland but here each course is as delicious as the last. The skipping tunes of ‘Raisins’ – for the parrot – are presented with great clarity and rhythmic flair. And for ‘Chère Nini’ there’s the elegant music of ‘Hazelnuts’. The piano sound is rich and full, especially in the bass, with a suitably sparkling treble to match.

Although served second the four hors d'œuvres are no less mouth-watering, albeit for different reasons. As Sergio Ragni points out in his excellent liner-notes these dishes are plainer, more formal in their presentation. This is clearly the composer in a more concentrated, almost scholarly mood, ‘Anchovies’ and ‘Butter’ both marked ‘theme and variations’. That said this is not at all dry, with some lovely lyrical writing in the central section of ‘Radishes’, not to mention some pretty virtuosic moments as well.

Much of the time one hears echoes of operatic Rossini in this music, not only in the endless – and apparently effortless – flow of melodies but also in its taxing trills and embellishments. Even in the gruff harmonies of ‘Gherkins‘ – the piano sounding richer than ever – there is a legato style, a lovely singing line. Hats off to the Chandos team for making it all sound so atmospheric.

The miscellany from Péchés de vieillesse Book 10 is made up of six pieces. This is Rossini in more serious vein but the composer’s good humour is simply irrepressible, especially in the mock gravitas of ‘Prélude blagueur’. That said there is a more formal. exploratory element to this music and Rossini’s writing is very accomplished indeed. Sollini plays the bravura close to this movement in commanding style, modulating to something lighter in the mock gravitas of ‘Des tritons s'il vous plait’ and the infectious, skipping melodies of ‘Petite pensée’.

The last three pieces in this miscellany are prefect miniatures, each with their own distinctive refrains and character. They are over almost as soon as they begin but they are all gems. ‘Petit caprice’, a high-kicking homage to Offenbach, is the perfect end to this delectable disc. Normally these collections are too much for one sitting but this is an exception.

There are two other volumes in the series and if this instalment is anything to go by they are certainly worth investigating. It’s good to hear non-operatic Rossini, if only to be reminded he was no slouch at the keyboard either. Couple that with spirited playing and a fine recording and you have a feast of good music.

Dan Morgan



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.