Work: La scala di seta: Overture
About This Work
Rossini's early opera La scala di seta (The Ladder of Silk, 1812) is rarely performed today, but its overture has enjoyed enduring popularity. Although it dates from a time before Rossini had achieved wide popularity, the overture is clearly of a
piece with the familiar La gazza ladra and other famous Rossini comic opera overtures; it begins with a delicious melody for a slow introduction and then proceeds into a sprightly Allegro that includes one of the composer's trademark crescendo passages. Rossini's gift for orchestration is clearly evident even at this early date, as wind lines seem to shimmer forth intermittently from a canvas of strings. Another notable feature of this overture is the full-blown sonata form that appears in the Allegro section, with a development section whose harmonic shifts sound especially startling when they suddenly emerged from the barely relieved diatonicism of the piece up to that point. Exceptionally for a Rossini overture (most of which do not feature any development section at all), harmonic excursions intrude into the recapitulation of the Allegro's first subject. All in all, the overture could almost pass for a lost symphony movement by Mozart or one of his contemporaries.
-- All Music Guide
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