BBC Music Magazine - - ORCHESTRAL -

Works by Bellini, Boito, Cata­lani, Donizetti, Gior­dano, Leon­cav­allo, Ponchielli, Puc­cini, Rossini & Verdi Fi­lar­mon­ica della Scala/ric­cardo Chailly

Decca 483 1148 76:35 mins

Ric­cardo Chailly’s col­lec­tion with the orches­tra of La Scala, where the Ital­ian con­duc­tor is now mu­sic direc­tor, con­sists of or­ches­tral ex­tracts from Ital­ian op­eras. They range from Rossini’s over­ture to La pi­etra del paragone (1812 – re­cy­cled for Tan­credi

the fol­low­ing year) to the in­ter­mezzo from Puc­cini’s Madam But­ter­fly

(1904); all 13 of the op­eras re­ceived their pre­mieres at the the­atre with the ex­cep­tion of Leon­cav­allo’s Pagli­acci and I Medici, which were first per­formed at the Teatro Dal Verme, also in Milan.

The re­sult makes for an at­trac­tive pro­gramme, and cer­tainly shows off the high qual­ity of the Fi­lar­mon­ica della Scala, as the orches­tra is known when in con­cert-giv­ing mode. The bright­ness of the strings is off­set by the warmth of the horns – shown at their most im­pres­sive in the Pre­lude to Act I of I Medici. There’s an ex­pertly played vi­olin ob­bli­gato in the Pre­lude to Act IV of Verdi’s I Lom­bardi (Francesco De An­ge­lis does the hon­ours), and a neatness of at­tack as well as a gen­eral bril­liance of tone that serve the mu­sic well and are in turn finely con­veyed through the record­ing’s clar­ity.

Chailly does par­tic­u­larly well by Cata­lani’s La Wally Act III In­tro­duc­tion and Donizetti’s Ugo

over­ture, though Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours could do with more rhyth­mic verve and the But­ter­fly In­ter­mezzo with more flu­id­ity and emo­tional surge. Ge­orge Hall

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