Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Péchés de vieillesse - Volume 3 - Album pour les enfants adolescents [65:28]
Alessandro Marangoni (piano)
rec. Auditorium di Mortara, Pavia, Italy, 30 June - 1 July 2008
NAXOS 8.572315 [65:28]
This is the third volume of the intended complete piano music of Rossini from Naxos (see reviews of Volume 1). I was somewhat unenthusiastic about the second volume when I reviewed it but I enjoyed this much more. This may be due to my being less familiar with the music, but I think not. My chief concern over the earlier volume was the degree and nature of freedom which Marangoni permitted himself. The amount and type of rubato and an occasionally cavalier approach to dynamics and phrasing seemed to go against the quirkiness of the music and to reduce its individuality. Things are however much better here in this respect. In the year or so between recording the two volumes Marangoni seems to have become at home with the composer’s idiom, and the results are much more convincing.
This fifth volume of Rossini’s “Sins of Old Age” is entitled “Album for Adolescent Children”. It contains twelve pieces, more varied than those in some of the other volumes but of a uniformly high standard. The first piece,“Première Communion”, is in two parts - a suitably ecclesiastical Andante religioso, followed by a waltz depicting the secular celebrations after the communion. Other pieces have similarly strange names and stranger forms. The seventh for example is also in two contrasting parts depicting “L’innocence Italienne” and “La candeur Française” respectively, whilst the tenth has the strange title of “Ouf! Les petits pois”. It is a delightfully inconsequential piece and as a whole the Album is a series of delights, albeit that like a box of chocolates it is best not taken all at once.
For me there is not a dud item on this disc although I know that others of more severe tastes may regard some of the pieces as less appetising than their titles. As I have explained, the performances are convincing and enjoyable, and the recording is clear if at times a little bright for my taste. The notes by Keith Anderson are full and helpful. I very much hope that the rest of the series can maintain the high standards of this volume.