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Saverio Mercadante: Sinfonia On Themes From Rossini's Stabat Mater; Homage To Bellini; Clarinet Concerto No. 2

Mercadante / Casani / Orchestra Sinfonica Di Roma
Release Date: 11/19/2013 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573035   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Saverio Mercadante
Performer:  Giammarco Casani
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Let’s hope this disc represents the start of a series. Mercadante wrote a lot of orchestral music: concertos, fantasias, and whole series of quasi-programmatic pieces that he called, probably for want of a better term, “symphonies.” There’s a tendency, in considering 19th-century Italian symphonic music, to begin and end with Martucci, “the Italian Brahms,” on account of that composer’s Germanic orientation. Mercadante’s style, though, was Italian through and through, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The works on this disc are unflaggingly entertaining. Omaggio a Bellini, based on themes from Norma, is delightful – sort of the equivalent of a Liszt operatic piano fantasy, only for orchestra. The Seconda Sinfonia
Read more caratteristica napoletana is basically a vivacious tarantella, while the title of the Gran Sinfonia sopra motivi della Stabat Mater del celebre Rossini speaks for itself. As with the Bellini homage, the arrangement is unfailingly well-made and not a note too long (13 minutes in this case).

Mercadante’s Second Clarinet Concerto is a charming piece in two movements, an opening Allegro maestoso followed by an inventive theme and variations finale. You might think that the concluding work, the “Garibaldi” Sinfonia, would be a trashy pot-boiler. It’s based on a popular tune, The Hymn of the Alpine Hunters, and is dedicated to the Italian nation. So a pot-boiler it might be, but trashy it is not–tuneful and energetic rather. There’s no bass drum or cymbals roughing up the texture, and the piece is basically just good fun.

So are these performances, well executed and decently enough recorded, even if the sonics are a mite studio-bound. Giammarco Casani plays the clarinet very attractively in the concerto, and the orchestral contribution, direct and gutsy if not the last word in finesse, suits the idiom. Keep it coming, Naxos!

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Omaggio a Bellini, fantasia for orchestra by Saverio Mercadante
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome 
Length: 11 Minutes 16 Secs. 
2.
Seconda Sinfonia caratteristica napoletana, for orchestra by Saverio Mercadante
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome 
Length: 9 Minutes 29 Secs. 
3.
Sinfonia on themes from Rossini’s Stabat Mater by Saverio Mercadante
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome 
Length: 13 Minutes 10 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Clarinet in B flat major, Op. 101 by Saverio Mercadante
Performer:  Giammarco Casani (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome 
Length: 16 Minutes 4 Secs. 
5.
Garibaldi, sinfonia sopra l'inno dei cacciatori delle Alpi by Saverio Mercadante
Conductor:  Francesco La Vecchia
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 06/03/2012 
Venue:  OSR Studios, Rome 
Length: 9 Minutes 24 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Omaggio a Bellini
Sinfonia sulla 2a caratteristica napoletana
Sinfonia su motivi dello Stabat Mater di Rossini
Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Op. 101: I. Allegro maestoso
Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Op. 101: II. Andante con variazoni
Garibaldi

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Excellent Italian Orchestral Works June 22, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "There may be some who have the mistaken impression that Italian composers excel only in the Opera (Verdi, Bellini, Rossini, et al) and Baroque (Vivaldi) genres. If for some reason you happen to fall into this trap, then you need to hear this quite magnificent recording of orchestral works by the Italian opera composer (!) Saverio Mercadante. One listen should be sufficient to change your mind once and for all. Under Francesco LaVecchia's direction, the Rome Symphony Orchestra gives a lush, bravura performance of some extraordinarily attractive Italian orchestral music from the 19th century. In two of the works, Mercadante weaves together well known tunes from Bellini (Norma) and Rossini (Stabat Mater) in a thoroughly attractive way. His Second Sinfonia caratteristica napoletana sparkles with the exuberant ambience of Naples, and his wonderful, 2 movement Clarinet Concerto # 2 seems right out of the Haydn/Mozart era with its classically endowed melodies and musical architecture. Rounding out the program is another short sinfonia, this one a 9 minute musical blast of raucous Italian nationalism and titled in honor of Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the primary agents of Italian unification. To say that this entire recording is a delight to hear would be something of an understatement. So the question thus becomes: is this serious, existential music? No. On the other hand: it is a good example of the joy and the artistic merit which Italy brings to the aesthetic arts? Absolutely! This is a recording for which Naxos deserves great credit- it's really good. Strongly recommended." Report Abuse
 Italianate classicism January 22, 2014 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews ""Omaggion a Bellini" and the "Gran Sinfonia sopra motivi dello Stabat Mater del celeb re Rossini" owe a lot to their source material. Mercadante is an imaginative arranger, but its the quality of the tunes that carry these works. The "Seconda Sinfonia caratteristica napoletana" reminds me somewhat of Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony. The Neapolitan melodies and rhythms are orchestrated in a similar fashion -- with two major differences. First, Mercadante's Sinfonia is shorter and lighter. Second, Mercadante's speaking the musical language of his own country, instead of interpreting it second-hand as Mendelssohn did. "Garibaldi - Sinfonia a grand'orchstra sopra l'inno dei cacciatori delle Alpi," also interprets Italian folk music for the concert stage, but in a much more serious fashion. Mercadante's work celebrates Italian unification, giving the work greater emotional weight than the lighthearted Second Sinfonia. All in all a pleasing program of Italian orchestral music from the early 19th century." Report Abuse
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