Notes and Editorial Reviews
When writing a review, I normally follow an instinctive formula. First, I say something about the composer, his life and times. Then I say something about the repertoire of the specific CD, then I comment on the interpretation, and finally I close with one sentence that summarizes my opinion of the CD, and whether it is worth buying or not.
But as I first listened to this CD, the effect was so overwhelming, that I felt that the habitual order should be reversed, for once. So here it goes: this is a truly delightful recording, full of zest and marvelous little surprises, worth every cent of its price. It features a first-class team of musicians, who manage to achieve a true miracle: an interpretation that is very cohesive,
while at the same time maintaining the personality of all musicians involved clearly distinct. And what great personalities! In this group, each of the performers is a master of his or her instrument, and it is hard to even point out the peaks, so many are there. Individually, they are all excellent soloists. Collectively, they rock!
These works are little jewels, where everybody gets to play and have fun. Solos are beautifully balanced, and each instrument gets its day in court. One could use all the cliché descriptions of the instrumental voices here, and they would all be completely apt and yet welcome. Gioachino Rossini was very aware of his audience’s expectations, and he uses them in much the same way as an accomplished chess player anticipates his opponent’s moves. One can hardly believe that the composer was only 12 (!) when he wrote Sonatas Nos. 3 and 6. One needs to hear but one movement—say, the “Tempest,” complete with rays, thunder, sly blinking of the eye (of the ear?) and stormy clusters of sound—to realize that he was already a great musician, even then.
Ensemble Explorations matches Rossini’s honed sense of humor, subtly highlighting the characteristic traits of each instrument: the violin is unashamedly sentimental, the cello is longingly soulful, the flute sassily chirpy, and so forth. They are unafraid to bite into the dissonances, play with extravagant inflections, and stress the dynamics. This is a calculated risk. The results could have been syrupy, exaggerated, even ridiculous. Somehow, it is this “tightrope act” that brings the music alive. That, and the exquisite breaths—punctuation marks that turn prose into poetry. Often, in mixed ensembles, the wind instruments breathe out of necessity, while the string-players valiantly march on. But these guys engage in long, fabulous pauses, stretched almost to the point of fracturing the phrase. The ensuing suspense is marvelous and exciting, making the performance as fresh and vibrant as the repertoire.
Okay, I tried not to end with the indefectible single-sentence paragraph, but I simply cannot resist: this is one of the best CDs to come my way, and a surefire candidate for my next Want List.
Laura Rónai, FANFARE
Reviewing original release of this recording Read less
Works on This Recording
Sonata a quattro no 6 in D major by Gioachino Rossini
Written: circa 1804; Italy
Duo for Cello and Double Bass in D major by Gioachino Rossini
Roel Dieltiens (Cello),
Love Persson (Double Bass)
Written: 1824; Italy
Sonata a quattro no 3 in C major by Gioachino Rossini
Written: circa 1804; Italy
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