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Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle / Creed, Stoyanova, Et Al

Release Date: 03/13/2001 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 901724   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Krassimira StoyanovaBirgit RemmertSteve DavislimHanno Müller-Brachmann,   ... 
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 21 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

If you're not familiar with this odd masterpiece, your first reaction is likely to be surprise--a "petite" mass more than 80 minutes long, a small chamber chorus and soloists accompanied by two pianos and, of all things, a harmonium. But after the first shock, this late work by Rossini, written when he was 72, becomes an addictive pleasure. Like everything he wrote it's bursting with attractive melodies, operatic flourishes, and deep feeling. Occasionally heard in orchestral garb, it's most effective in its original chamber setting. This holds particularly true in the long, spare piano Prélude religieux, here played on period Pleyels. Not the least of the work's attractions is its enormous variety for a choral Read more work--instrumental and vocal solos, an unaccompanied choral movement, double fugues, hushed prayer, and operatic flamboyance. Steering a consistent line through a piece of such variety, length, and complexity has defeated most of its recorded interpreters.

The most compelling recording I've heard is a 1972 LP set once briefly available in the U.S. on the RCA label. Recorded live, with an all-star cast of soloists led by Wolfgang Sawallisch, it's been reissued on CD but has never been easy to find. Marcus Creed, his excellent RIAS-Kammerchor, and a solo quartet of attractive young voices now give us a digital version that's the most satisfactory I've heard since the Sawallisch. The two are complementary, since Creed, while projecting much of the religious feeling that infuses the Sawallisch recording, adopts the flowing tempos and rhythmic lift at the heart of all Rossini's music--although he can overdo it a bit, as in the too-sprightly opening Kyrie. Creed employs a chorus larger than the dozen stipulated by Rossini, which tends to vitiate somewhat the chamber aspect of the score; but his choristers sport dead-on intonation and sing colorfully. The soloists are as compelling--bright, fresh voices appealing in timbre and aware of the implications of the texts they're singing. Minor reservations aside, Rossinians won't want to miss this one. [4/14/2001]
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Petite Messe solennelle by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Krassimira Stoyanova (Soprano), Birgit Remmert (Alto), Steve Davislim (Tenor),
Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Bass), Philip Mayers (Piano), Phillip Moll (Piano),
Ryoko Morooka (Harmonium)
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; Italy 

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