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Puccini Discoveries / Chailly, Calleja, Urbanova, Et Al


Release Date: 04/13/2004 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 475320   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Roberto de ThierryChiara TaigiAlberto MastromarinoMario Luperi,   ... 
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra MilanVerdi Chorus Milan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 21 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A fascinating round-up of little-known Puccini, plus that other Turandot ending

Few composers concentrated so completely on writing operas as Puccini did, and all but one of the items on this disc are incidental to his career, whether from his early years, both at school in Lucca and as a music student in Milan, or occasional pieces from later in his career. None of them matches the mastery of his operas, though they all reflect the Puccini we know, and give us fresh insights into him and his career.

The exception is the final item, Luciano Berio’s completion of Turandot. Like Franco Alfano, who made the regular completion first heard in 1926, Berio used Puccini’s sketches for his unfinished ending, but
Read more the result is very different. It has left me disappointed in the theatre: Berio’s hushed, downbeat ending may be justified dramatically but it is unsatisfying compared with Alfano’s fortissimo choral reprise of ‘Nessun dorma’.

What Riccardo Chailly lets us appreciate, however, is the thoughtfulness of Berio’s treatment. The recording begins with Liù’s aria, her suicide and Timur’s grief, all completed by Puccini; Berio’s completion (starting at track 14, 7'27") follows without a break to an orchestral crescendo to ‘Principessa di morte’, quite different from Alfano’s blasting fortissimi. The orchestral accompaniment differs substantially, but the vocal lines of Turandot and Calaf in their duet are largely similar to those in Alfano’s completion, following Puccini’s sketches. There is no big chorus after Calaf’s and Turandot’s final brief exchange, only a gentle easing into silence.

Otherwise, Berio’s principal innovation is a substantial orchestral interlude (track 14, 10'50"–13'58"), which makes Turandot’s transformation from icy princess to responsive lover more credible, even if dramatically it holds things up. Whether or not Berio’s completion is used in any future complete recording, the opportunity to hear it is welcome, just as it was good to hear Alfano’s uncut completion (as originally conceived) on Josephine Barstow’s disc of operatic final scenes.

Seven of the other items are also first recordings. They include his first two surviving works, both written during his schooldays, the Preludio a Orchestra, which charmingly becomes a Viennese-style waltz, and the Motet for San Paolino, bold and brassy in the outer sections, with a long baritone solo in the middle (rather roughly sung by Alberto Mastromarino). At the other end of Puccini’s career comes the Inno a Roma of 1919, his last completed work, surprisingly untypical, and later notoriously adopted by Mussolini’s fascists using different words. The Scherzo of 1882-83 and the Salve regina, from his student years in Milan, both provided material for his first opera, Le villi, and the tender Adagietto for small orchestra from the same period was used for Fidelia’s aria in Act 3 of his second opera, Edgar.

Other gems include two pieces for wind band: Corazzata Sicilia, a development of the march at the end of Act 2 of Bohème using material from earlier in the act (the work of a bandmaster) and Scossa elettrica (‘electric shock’) a lively fragment of 1899 with jaunty syncopations, written to celebrate the centenary of Volta’s invention of the electric battery. By far the weakest piece, the cantata of 1877, Cessato il suon, discovered only a year ago, is one for which the vocal line had to be invented, and one can assume that even the teenage Puccini would have done better. Chailly inspires excellent performances, with generally fresh, alert singing from soloists and chorus.

Edward Greenfield, Gramophone 5/2004
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Works on This Recording

1. Inno di Roma by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Roberto de Thierry (Organ)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1923; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
2. Salve Regina by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Chiara Taigi (Soprano), Roberto de Thierry (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
3. Requiem by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Roberto de Thierry (Organ)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1905; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2004 - 06/24/2004) 
4. Vexilla regis by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Roberto de Thierry (Organ)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874-1880; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
5. Mottetto per San Paolino by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Alberto Mastromarino (Baritone)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 11 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2004 - 06/24/2004) 
6. Turandot: Act 3 Finale by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Mario Luperi (Bass), Bülent Bezdüz (Tenor), Domenico Balzani (Baritone),
Carlo Bosi (Tenor), Maria Fontosh (Soprano), Eva Urbanová (Soprano),
Dario Volonté (Tenor)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 23 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Arranger: Luciano Berio.
Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
7. Scherzo for String Quartet in A minor by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1880-1883; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Riccardo Chailly.
Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
8. Manon Lescaut: Act 3 Prelude by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
9. Cantata "Cessato il suon dell'armi" by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Joseph Calleja (Tenor)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Lucca, Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
10. Scossa elettrica by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
11. Corazzata Sicilia by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
12. Ecce sacerdos magnus by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Chorus Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; Lucca, Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 0 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
13. Prelude for Orchestra by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Lucca, Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 
14. Adagietto by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1883; Milan, Italy 
Venue:  Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy (06/17/2003 - 06/24/2003) 

Featured Sound Samples

Prelude for Orchestra
Cessato il suon dell'armi
Corazzata Sicilia
Manon Lescaut: Act III Prelude

Sound Samples

Preludio a Orchestra
Scherzo
Manon Lescaut - Ed. Pietro Spada / Act 2: Preludio
Cessato il suon dell'Armi (1887)
Scossa Elettrica (Marcia Brillante)
Corazzata Sicilia (On themes from "La Bohème")
Inno a Roma
Ecce Sacerdos Magnus
Salve Regina
Adagetto in F major
Requiem
Vexilla Regis Prodeunt
Mottetto per San Paolino
Turandot - Completed by Luciano Berio - final revised version / Act 3: Finale

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