Rousing Rossini from NAXOS
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 07/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE BEST OF ROSSINI from NAXOS is packed with nearly 77 minutes-worth of nicely interpreted music. Expected familiars are here (Tell, Seville, Magpie), plus the album is rounded out with excellent string sonatas and operatic highlights of Cinderella and Seville.
"Brava!" to contralto Ewa Podles (Cinderella). Barber interpreters Roberto Servile (baritone), Sonia Ganassi (mezzo-soprano) and Angelo Romero (bass) also deserve more than one curtain call, especially Servile's "Figaro."
The CD's insert is primarily an opportunity to recommend other NAXOS Rossini sets. Super-clean DDD transfers reveal the tiniest of anomalies. Example:
Whoever mixed the Zagreb's Magpie certainly had fun with channel shifting. On headphones the first woodwind statement obviously travels from mid-left channel to center. More noticeably, the triangle starts extreme right then within two minutes slides across until it reaches far left soundstage. In the 60s, these maneuvers on rock music recordings were innovative, but here an attentive listener is distracted by them. Can't fault the orchestra's lively performance, however-- it's top shelf.
Zagreb orchestra's set closing Tell overture offers a couple of surprises-- heavy percussion in the storm sequence has a clarity one rarely (if ever) encounters. The flautist's slight soloing tempo shifts in the after-storm section and an obvious kick into high gear for the work's coda are also most welcome.
Ths is truly one of the better Rossini samplers. Buy with confidence!"