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VERDI and Variations Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) String Quartet - arr for strings by Yuli Turovsky Marc-Olivier DUPIN (b. 1954) Fantasia on Arias from La Traviata  Antonio Pasculli (1842-1924)  Grand Concerto on Themes from Verdi's I vespri siciliani Philippe Magnan (oboe); Alexander Trostiansky (violin) I Musici De Montréal conducted by Yuli Turovsky CHANDOS CHAN 9662 [56:46]




Verdi wrote only one piece of chamber music - his string quartet written in Naples in spare moments when the production of his Aida was delayed. Its first performance was greeted by one critic as a masterpiece. Verdi, always the realist commented, "I don't know whether it's beautiful or ugly. I only know that it is a quartet." It was written as an exercise in commanding this musical form without any literary or dramatic associations. Having said that, there is a hint of Falstaff's fairy tormentors in the fugal finale, and there is something of Amneris's music in Aida about the opening Allegro. The Andantino, marked 'con elegenza' is really a rather coy-sounding intermezzo. The brilliant scherzo has a lovely lyrical cantabile melody. The conductor on this album, Yuli Turovsky has made a convincing and sympathetic transcription of the quartet for strings adding colour and weight and the work is played with panache by I Musici.

Marc-Olivier Dupin maybe a young modern composer but his thoroughly enjoyable Fantasia on Arias from La Traviata is cast in the full-blooded late Romantic idiom. If you know and enjoy Franz Waxman's Carmen Fantasia you will know what to expect. Verdi's well-loved melodies from his popular opera are transposed into a virtuoso showpiece for the violinist soloist - and Alexander Trostiansky grasps every opportunity. Hugely enjoyable.

Antonio Pasculli's Grand Concerto on Themes from Verdi's I vespri siciliani is another virtuoso showpiece - this time for oboe. One of the great oboe virtuosos of the second half of the nineteenth century, Pasculli's compositions showed off his considerable technique. Philippe Magnan makes his instrument sing most eloquently and throws off the more difficult florid passages of the work with seemingly effortless ease.

A most interesting and rewarding album


Ian Lace

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Ian Lace

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