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  PentaTone Classics -
  PTC 5186 106
  Rossini: Famous Overtures
  Rossini: Famous Overtures

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Neville Marriner (conductor)
Track listing:
  1. Il Barbiere di Siviglia
2. L'Italiana in Algeri
3. La cambiale di matrimonio
4. La scala di seta
5. Tancredi
6. Il Signor Bruschino
7. Il Turco in Italia
8. L'inganno felice

Total time: 52:40
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Recorded: London (Wembley), Brent Town Hall - May 1974

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Related titles: 9 show all

Reviews: 1

Review by sgb July 13, 2003 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This collection of Rossini overtures has been another one of my favorite Philips recordings, appearing originally in 1974 as 6500 878 in the USA. A sequel to this LP (9500 349) was released in 1977, adding some important overtures sorely missed in the original volume La Gazza Ladra, William Tell, The Seige of Corinth that make it just as indispensible as the first. Both of these rank among Philips' best sounding LP releases, although neither should be regarded as the last word in dynamics or high resolution detail. In my opinion there is no finer collection of the Rossini overtures than what you'll find on these two records.

Given much of the media ranting over the first LP's recent release in SACD, my curiosity got the best of me, so I picked this one up yesterday (7/12/2003) to take a listen. As with my reaction to the sound of the Kovacevich/Davis Beethoven Piano Concerti that I have reviewed on this site, I was obligated to compare the new disk to the original LP just to verify that the performances were the same, and they are. And, like the Beethoven disk, there is much detail and character to the sound that you would find missing on the original Rossini LP.

Listening to this SACD in stereo mode only, I find the textures in any of the groups of instruments to be significantly more transparent; the record sounds just that much more veiled now. There is a continuum in the sound stage that was missing from the LP as I now hear it. The LP has more of a left/right presentation as if a wall were placed between each half of the orchestra, but there IS slightly more depth perceived on it.

There are a couple of flies in the ointment that would have me at odds with several other reviewers on this new SACD, though, and they are that there is a slight brightness to the strings and brass, and the detection of a scant loss in dynamics. For all of its texture and transparency, the disk doesn't do much to improve the palpable aspects of the sound, so we are left with the conclusion that we are, indeed, listening to a recording and not the real thing. I hope you don't consider this indictment seriously enough to not buy the disk though. It still ranks among the best sounding analog to DSD conversions I've heard.

My only other complaint is that Pentatone should have given us the six additional overtures that graced the second volume. There's more than ample space available to have done so.

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Works: 8  

Gioachino Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia
Gioachino Rossini - Il Signor Bruschino
Gioachino Rossini - Il Turco in Italia
Gioachino Rossini - L'inganno felice
Gioachino Rossini - L'Italiana in Algeri
Gioachino Rossini - La cambiale di matrimonio
Gioachino Rossini - La Scala di Seta
Gioachino Rossini - Tancredi