Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Rossini Overtures

Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Rossini Overtures

Catalogue Code: 782142

Barcode: 5050457821425

Release Date: 22 Aug 2011

In the character of Gioachino Rossini there is a significant, though on closer observation merely apparent, contradiction. This most capricious, brilliant, gay - in short, most mobile and active of Italian musical geniuses - was at the same time a profoundly and incorrigibly lazy man. There is a well-known anecdote which tells of Rossini composing in bed: a page he is working on falls to the floor; Rossini prefers to rewrite the composition rather than get out of bed to recover the page. Such laziness, as is well known, led the composer to abandon his art at the age of thirty-seven. Though Rossini himself explained his action in a hundred different ways, this musical silence, which lasted almost forty years, can only be attributed to a definitive victory of laziness over the will to create. Now, on the occasion of this recording of some of his overtures, one is tempted to interpret Rossini's genius in psychological terms, emphasizing his famous laziness, but extending its significance to the point of viewing it as a positive dimension of the composer's spirit. Rossini's laziness is the laziness of nature itself, maternal and mysterious, slow-moving and requiring long respites which, only after extended periods of lethargy, necessary for recuperation, at length creates the explosion of the most brilliant and luminous spingtimes. Rossini's indolence thus resembles that of the earth, far removed from ideological thus resembles that of the earth, far removed from ideological or ethical concerns, but capable of reviving and bursting forth with memorable and thunderous vitality. And it is to this laziness, inexhaustibly generous in good moments, absolutely miserly in bad, incapable of rational calculation but more than capable of spontaneous inspiration, that we owe the pre-romantic mircale of Rossini's music: impetuous, pulsing and lively as the torrents of spring. From the very first notes, the overtures included on this disc introduce us into that characteristically Rossinian atmosphere which may be compared to that of a good-natured magician who conceals the dazzling complexity of his legerdemain by means of witty and unflagging banter. At the very moment he lifts us materfully into a world lighter and more vital than our own, Rossini smiles modestly, enjoying our surprise, as if to say he would be capable of much more, and that what he is doing at the moment is not done in earnest. Rossini's music is popular in character, not merely because of its infectious, irresistible and colourful style, but more specifically because it takes into account, in an indulgent fashion, the childishness of the people - those eternal children in search of a father. Rossini, good pre-romantic father that he is, places himself on the level of a childish people, employing yet never allowing the people to become aware of his feat, never letting it weigh on them. From this discretion, this lightness and purity of expression which is at once popular and aristocratic, arises the infinite youthfulness of the music of Rossini, the laziest musical genius of all time.

1. William Tell Overture
2. La Scala Di Seta (The Silken Ladder) Overture
3. Il Signor Bruschino Overture
4. The Barber Of Seville Overture
5. La Gazza Ladra (Thieving Magpie) Overture
6. La Cenerentola Overture