Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Guillaume Tell - opera in four Acts (1829) [3:57:48]
Mathilde – Montserrat Caballé (soprano); Jemmy – Mady Mesplé (soprano); Hedwige – Jocelyne Taillon (mezzo); Guillaume Tell – Gabriel Bacquier (baritone); Arnold – Nicolai Gedda (tenor); Gessler – Louis Hendrix (bass); Melchthal – Gwynne Howell (bass); Walter – Kolo Kovacs (bass); Fisherman – Charles Burles (tenor); Rodolphe – Ricardo Cassinelli (tenor); Leuthold – Nicolas Christou (bass); Huntsman – Leslie Fyson (tenor); Ambrosian Opera Chorus; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Lamberto Gardelli
rec. 26-30 June and 8-11 July 1982, Kingsway Hall, London
text and translations included as PDF file on bonus disc
EMI CLASSICS 6407632 [4 CDs: 66:34 + 73:00 + 58:00 + 40:14 + bonus disc]

Experience Classicsonline
Guillaume Tell was the composer’s last and longest opera. I do not think I would go on to say that it was also necessarily his best, but it is certainly an amazing work full of life. It is, in many ways, both a summation of his operatic genius and a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been had he continued to write for the stage. Like his other last operas it was written for Paris and in its scale and mixture of public and private events is a clear forerunner of such works as Les Huguenots and Don Carlos. At the same time it can be regarded as essentially classical, but with that style subtly transfigured into one that is just as essentially romantic. It represents a turning point in the history of opera, so that the obvious question arises as to why it is so seldom encountered on the stage, and why many music-lovers know it solely by its undoubtedly magnificent overture.

There are several answers to this, but as is clear from these discs they are a mixture of the inherent performance problems and of the expectations of the audience. The performance difficulties tend to centre on casting, in particular of the tenor role of Arnold. This was first sung by Adolphe Nourrit, but its most famous performer was Gilbert-Louis Duprez who made a feature of taking the many high Bs and Cs from the chest rather than with the head voice as the composer would have expected from previous singers. Nowadays tenors who use the head voice in this role are rare, and one of the great pleasures of this performance is Nicolai Gedda’s willingness to do this for at least some of the time. Maybe it is less momentarily exciting but the sheer quantity of high notes can make tenors singing with the chest voice very wearing to listen to. In addition he sings with real elegance, assisted by the use of the original French words.

Problems of casting almost as great arise with the role of Matilde, and the choice of Montserrat Caballé was inspired. Her tone and phrasing show both classical restraint and an understanding of the composer’s style, and so too does Gabriel Bacquier in the title role. I could continue in this vein for the many other secondary roles; the inclusion of French singers seems to have spurred the others on in their adoption of a Gallic style. It is typical of the care over casting that the first solo - the very minor role of a fisherman – is beautifully sung here by Charles Burles with just the right ease of tone and attention to phrasing. The chorus and orchestra are English but sing and play with immense care for the subtlety of Rossini’s writing under Lamberto Gardelli’s very idiomatic direction.

And here we must turn to the second part of the problem of performance. The speed of events in this opera, as in so many of Rossini’s “serious” or “semi-serious” works, is leisurely. The formal structure of individual numbers frequently makes use of extensive repetition, and many of those numbers are essentially scene-setting rather than driving the plot forward. The lengthy ballet sequences in Acts 1 and 3 are musically delightful but hold up the action just where one expects it to be moving on. This recording is complete – a real virtue in principle in such a rarely recorded work, but one which may try the listener’s patience at times. Nonetheless what we have here is the only recording of the opera in its original language, performed in a way that respects its essentially noble and humane character as well as its musical style. To enjoy it fully the listener must accept its length and the inclusion of episodes more related to the setting than to the story. A libretto is contained in a “bonus” disc and is an essential adjunct.

The obvious comparison is with Decca’s recording conducted by Riccardo Chailly with Pavarotti, Freni and Milnes in Italian. Exciting as that undoubtedly is I much prefer the present version for its fidelity to the text and idiom of the opera as the composer would have known it. Even if you are fortunate enough to attend a live performance the chances of its reaching anywhere near the musical standards achieved here are remote. The prospects for a rival recording of similar quality are equally remote so that for anyone interested in Rossini or indeed in nineteenth century opera in general this is a welcome and indeed essential reissue.

John Sheppard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

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

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

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






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.