|Artist||Sandra Pastrana soprano · Gabriella Sborgi alto
Davide Giusti tenor · Carlo Lepore bass
Filippo Farinelli piano I · Sabina Belei piano II
Riccardo Bonci harmonium
New Chamber Singers Choir
Andrea Cappelleri conductor
The Petite Messe Solennelle, the last of Rossini’s compositions, was written almost 30 years after his last opera. The work had a private premiere in 1864, attended by Parisian high society and the musical elite; it was performed by a small but star-studded group of musicians, including internationally-renowned soloists Barbara and Carlotta Marchisio. Daniel Auber, director of the Conservatoire, had chosen the cream of the crop from his students that year to form the choir, and respected cellist and composer Gaetano Braga even made an appearance as page-turner to the second pianist. The work was premiered in earnest in 1869, three months after the composer’s death.
The work is performed here with Rossini’s original instrumentation and also includes the hymn for soprano and piano ‘O salutaris hostia’, which is often omitted. As a world first, a bonus track ‘O salutaris de campagne’ is included. The four soloists are established operatic singers; among soprano Sandro Pastrana’s string of awards are prizes at the Ottavio Ziino competition in Barcelona, and mezzo-soprano Gabriella Sborgi has appeared as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and also in The Rape of Lucretia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and L’enfant et les sortilèges. Recent engagements of tenor Davide Giusti include the role of Alfredo in La traviata, and bass Carlo Lepore is something of a Rossini specialist, appearing regularly in roles such as Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola), and Basilio and Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia).
Rossini wrote his Petite Messe Solennelle in his old age, 30 years after his last opera. The work, for the unusual combination of 4-part chorus, vocal soloists, piano 4-hands and harmonium, is a unique blend of the comic and devotional, of superficiality and deep feeling. Because of the small instrumental forces the work is often performed, to great public success. Also included is the seldom performed Hymn O salutaris hostia, for soprano and piano. A world premiere is the Salutaris de campagne, added as a bonus track. The soloists on this new recording have won their spurs in the field of Italian opera, all of them seasoned Rossini singers. The excellent liner notes relate the history of the work and its interpretation, the specifications of the instruments used, and biographies of the singers.
Recorded in 2013
Contains notes on the history of the work, the conductor’s interpretation and performer biographies
Includes instrument specifications