Prague Sinfonia Orchestra/Christian Benda

Prague Sinfonia Orchestra/Christian Benda

Rossini Complete Overtures, Vol 4

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Hard to believe the brilliant Naxos survey of Rossini's complete Overtures has reached Volume Four. It seems no time since it was launched, to great excitement on this page. Indeed, it's only four months since I reviewed Volume Three.

And, as it has sparkled and fizzed its way through the series, so it continues in the final volume, with the regular mix of the familiar and the unknown, with fresh revelations all the way.

So alongside the warhorse overtures, with classic performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Turco in Italia, Armida and Le Comte Ory, sits the Sinfonia in E flat Major, written while Rossini was a student in Bologna, and featuring all the seed elements of what was to come: the repetitions, the dash, the crescendos and the characteristic chord progressions.

There is also a real rarity in Ricciardo e Zoraide, which breaks the mould and ends quietly. Consistent to the end, the Prague performance under Christian Benda is taut, fresh and effervescent, with great horn playing.

Michael Tumelty