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Friday, June 9, 2017

Gioachino Rossini - Overtures (Piero Gamba)


Composer: Gioachino Rossini
  1. La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie)
  2. La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder)
  3. Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)
  4. Semiramide
  5. Guillaume Tell (William Tell)

London Symphony Orchestra
Piero Gamba, conductor
Date: 1960
Label: JVC, xrcd24 (originally recorded by Decca)



Like so many things on the market, this JVC recording of several popular Rossini overtures with the London Symphony Orchestra comes with both pros and cons. Actually, just one con -- and that is its length. The original LP recording, made back in 1960, was out of necessity only 45 minutes in length. In keeping the original program on this re-release, the CD is also only 45 minutes in length, robbing the listener of virtually half the capacity of a CD. Fortunately, the album makes up for this durational shortcoming in other ways. JVC's XRCD (Extended Resolution Compact Disc) does indeed deliver on its claims of enhanced sound quality and clarity, making each and every instrument in the LSO completely audible and crisp. This recording clarity coupled with the fiery direction of conductor Piero Gamba yields Rossini overtures performed with a level of conviction and enthusiasm not frequently encountered. As these works are performed and recorded so frequently, it is too often the case that orchestras are simply going through the motions of playing the notes. Gamba and the LSO emphasize dynamic nuance, shifting textures, and decisive articulation to produce an exciting musical experience even to listeners who may have heard these pieces thousands of times before.

-- Mike D. Brownell, AllMusic

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Gioachino Rossini (29 February 1792 – 13 November 1868) was an Italian composer who wrote operas, as well as some sacred music, songs, chamber music and piano pieces. Rossini had been the most popular opera composer in history, and he was one of the most renowned public figures of his time. A tendency for inspired, song-like melodies is evident throughout his scores, earning him the nickname "The Italian Mozart". A few of Rossini's operas remained popular throughout his lifetime and continuously since his death; others were resurrected from semi-obscurity in the last half of the 20th century.


Piero Gamba (born 16 September 1936 in Rome), is an Italian orchestral conductor and pianist. Gamba began his career as a rare child prodigy among conductors and was the subject of a fictionalized Italian dramatic film, La Grande Aurora (1946). Although the film was a popular success, Gamba's career as an adult conductor had a hard time getting off the ground. He was music director of the Winnipeg Symphony (1971-1980) and the Adelaide Symphony (1982-1988). Since about the mid-'90s Gamba has lived in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and appears occasionally with South American orchestras.


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