VIVALDI: Gloria. BACH: Magnificat.
ROSSINI: Complete works for piano, Volume 6
Telarc continues their fine series of recordings by Boston Baroque directed by Martin Pearlman with this disk of two staples of the choral repertory. As usual with this group, it's first-rate all the way with top-notch soloists, a splendid chorus and spirited playing by the virtuoso orchestra. The revised version of the Bach is played, and conductor Pearlman wrote detailed notes about the music and performance. The recording was produced by Thomas C. Moore with engineer Jack Renner in Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Mass. March 2-3, 2005. This is Telarc sound at its best, although not particularly "surround," as rear speakers only supply ambience.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt's new Messiah will doubtless please the conductor's many admirers. First-rate soloists, spacious tempi, and the sound of early instruments beautifully recorded mark this 2-disk release which sells for the price of one premium-priced SACD. Sample the famous "Hallelujah" chorus; if you find this to your liking, you'll probably enjoy the entire performance; I imagine most listeners, and I am among them, would prefer richer orchestral textures throughout.
Giacomo Rossini stopped writing large-scale works after completing his 38th opera, William Tell, which was premiered in 1829. He was 37 years old and for the remaining 39 years of his life (he died in 1868) indulged in his financial success and lived lavishly. During this time Rossini composed only sacred works, a few songs and some instrumental music including what he called "Sins of My Old Age," a large set of piano pieces. Dutch pianist Paolo Giacometti is in the process of recording most of these, and here is Volume 6 in the series. It's a varied program including a waltz, a march, a bolero and a touch of Chinoiserie. Giacometti plays superbly and the 5.0 surround sound provides a very resonant close-up piano. It is unfortunate Channel Classics SACDs are top-premium priced, but most of this music you will not find elsewhere.
R.E.B. (February 2006)