I was very
by the first volume of this intended set of four discs.
This made me a little apprehensive as to whether the standard would
be kept up. There was however no need for this, as here is another excellent
disc to join not only the previous Rossini disc but two discs of Schubert’s
complete Overtures from the same performers.
Once again we are offered a mixture of the familiar and the less familiar.
The former include the best known of all - that to Guillaume Tell.
It is performed with panache
and colour, with the woodwind solos
in the ranz des vaches
played with great character. I was a little
disconcerted by the comparatively slow pace for the final galop
but it does allow the proper articulation of the rhythm. If this is
allowed to degenerate into an approximation it becomes merely hectic
and loses any real excitement. It is possible to achieve both - Toscanini
did it to a stunning degree - but the present version is more than acceptable
even if memories of Toscanini’s way with it did keep coming back.
The other two more familiar works - La scala di seta
- are given very spry performances, possibly a
little too much so in the case of the former which is taken at a surprisingly
fast speed. In these and their less familiar companions the delightful
woodwind solo playing is one of the main attractions of the disc, but
throughout the orchestra play with abundant character, lively articulation
and an absence of any hint of routine. There is a bounce and wit in
the playing which is wholly appropriate to these works.
Again there are full and helpful notes by Keith Anderson and a clear
recording in acoustics well suited to the music.
If you want more than the six or eight of the composer’s best
known Overtures this series would provide a very satisfactory way of
See also review by Raymond