Formal Daring, Enormous Tunes, Brilliant Solo Parts
Joseph Barbarie | new haven, CT | 09/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Antonio Rossetti (ca. 1750 - 1792) was born Franz Anton Rossler in Bohemia. Like many other central European composers with operatic ambitions (Johann Stich, Johann Christian Bach, and even Mozart), he Italianized his Christian and surnames, and studied the craft of masters such as Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Geminiani, Albinoni. Rossetti's internalization of the fluent Italian style was as thorough-going as Giovanni Cristiano Bach's before him, but Rossetti was able to personalize it, to give it his stamp, in small demonstrations of formal and textural originality.
One such example occurs immediately at the beginning of the Double Horn Concerto in E flat, C56Q (a work which some have attributed to Michael Haydn). Rather than opening with the expected orchestral tutti and its primary and secondary themes, Rossetti has the two hornists enter at once with an announcement of the primary theme. The effect is striking, calling to mind other, more famous, instances of "early" entrances by soloists in classical and romantic concerto repertoire (Mozart's "Jeunehomme" concerto, Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto, Mendelssohn's G minor piano concerto).
The rest of the movement proceeds brilliantly, particularly in those sections where Rossetti has the first hornist execute a rapid repeating figure while the second harmonizes a melodic, accompanying part above and around the busy playing of his partner. The hornists, Klaus Wallendorf and Sarah Willis, are particularly impressive in this movement.
Rosetti's other works for wind soloists are perhaps not as striking as this Double Horn Concerto, but all are marvelously wrought, tuneful, and orchestrated in stirring fashion. Rossetti's orchestration is shiny but three-dimensional, busy in the strings, often with the real melodic interest submerged in the bass or middle voices.
At $35.00 (for three hour-plus discs) this cannot be more heartily recommended. Again, these seemingly "lost" (or at least obscure) masterworks before us as a result of the seemingly endless research by Dieter Klocker. CPO's recording and production values are up to their usual high standards."